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WORKERS should take the following steps to protect themselves from injury when operating
or working near compacting and baling equipment:

· Never bypass or disable interlocks or control switches.
· Keep all equipment guards in place during operation.
· Before attempting to clear jammed material from a compactor or baler follow OSHA
standards on lockout/tagout procedures [29 CFR 1910.147 ]:


1. Disconnect the power from the machine.

2. Isolate the power by locking the disconnect.

3. Tag the disconnect to notify others that the power must remain off.

4. Mechanically block any ram that has the potential to move before accessing the compacting chamber.

5. Test equipment to ensure power has been de-energized before beginning work.

6. Locate all coworkers before activating power to the compactor or baler.



EMPLOYERS should take the following steps to reduce the risk of worker injuries:

Establish procedures for periodic inspection and maintenance of the equipment:          
1. Maintain equipment guards according to the manufacturer's specifications.


2. Check for proper operation of all interlocks and emergency stop devices.


Train workers to recognize compactor and baler hazards.

Implement standard procedures for dealing safely with material jams.

Provide safe access to feed chutes for clearing material jams.

Comply with child labor laws that prohibit hazardous work by workers under age 18.


Recent NIOSH investigations suggest that worker injuries and deaths could be
prevented by using safe work procedures, appropriate safety devices, and hazardous
energy control programs designed to address The hazards of operating, maintaining,
and servicing compacting and baling equipment. All managers, supervisors, and
workers in companies that use compacting or baling equipment should follow the
recommendations in this Alert. NIOSH requests that equipment manufacturers,
safety and health officials, industry associations, unions, and editors of trade
journals bring the recommendations in this Alert to the attention of all employers
and workers who use compacting and baling equipment.





NIOSH recommends that employers take the following measures to protect workers from
injury when operating or working near refuse compacting and baling equipment.



Because ram motion ceases during a jam, workers may not recognize that the machine
remains operational and the ram could activate inadvertently unless the power supply for the
machine is disconnected. Whenever unjamming, performing maintenance, or repairing a
compactor or baler, the machine should be de-energized and OHSA 's lockout/tagout
procedures [29 CFR 1910.147 ]should be followed.


Machine Guarding

Compactors and balers should be equipped with machine guards and safety interlocks to
prevent worker injury, and interlocks should be designed so they are not easily bypassed. All
machines should be equipped with safety interlock devices that will immediately stop the
machine should a worker attempt to gain access to a ram or the travel zone of the ram while
the machine is operating. Currently manufactured compactors and balers conform to ANSI
standards that specify point-of-operation guards to prevent workers from reaching into an
operating machine and interlocked control systems that interrupt or reverse the ram 's motion
if the compression chamber doors are opened. However, guards and interlocks may be
deliberately bypassed or may not be present on some older machines.


Where conveyors are used to feed materials into compactors or balers, workers may
mistakenly believe that turning off the conveyor also prevents the compactor or baler from
operating. To protect against this, compacting and baling equipment and any attached
conveyors should be interconnected so that a single lockable device can be used to deenergize
and isolate the power to both machines. In addition, all emergency stop devices
should be interconnected so that the activation of any emergency stop will shut down both the
conveyor and the compactor or baler.

ANSI Z245.2,and Z245.5,and 29 CFR 1910.212 provide information about machine guarding.
These standards also provide information about modification of older equipment to improve
safety. Any modifications made to equipment should be done only by qualified persons. In
addition, descriptions and illustrations of methods that can be used for providing safeguards
for balers and compactors can be found in the OSHA Publication entitled Concepts and
Techniques of Machine Guarding [OSHA 1992 ]. Machine guards and safety interlocks should
be frequently checked by safety personnel, supervisors, and workers to assure that they are in
proper working order.

Work Practices and Procedures

Jams are common occurrences in compacting and baling machines. Employers should
implement standard procedures for dealing safely with common events such as material jams.
Employers should train their workers in these safe work procedures and strictly enforce adherence.

Fatalities have occurred when machines were activated while the operator was unaware that a
coworker was inside the compacting chamber. Employers should establish procedures
requiring machine operators to account for the location of coworkers before activating
compactor or baler rams.

Safe Access and Fall Protection

Because jams often occur at the openings to feed chutes of conveyor-fed machines, workers may use the conveyor as a means of access to the jam. Platforms incorporating stairs and standard railings should be provided near the openings of feed chutes to allow safe access for clearing jams. In addition, employers should consider providing workers with fall protection devices, harnesses, and lanyards to prevent them from falling into the feed chute if they inadvertently lean over the platform railing while clearing jammed material. Although neither of these measures eliminates the need to follow appropriate lockout/tagout procedures, their use could provide extra protection for workers.


Employers should train workers to recognize the hazards of operating or working near
compactors and balers. Procedures and safe work practices addressing problems that may
develop during machine operation should be developed and implemented. At a minimum,
training should include the following elements:


A description and identification of the hazards associated with particular machines

The safeguards themselves, a description of how they provide protection, and a list of
the hazards for which they are intended


Instructions for using the safeguards Instructions for removing the safeguards (these should include the circumstances under which they can be removed and the persons who can remove them — most
cases, repair and maintenance personnel only)


What to do (e.g.,contact the supervisor)if a safeguard is damaged, missing, or unable
to provide adequate protection


Protecting Adolescent Workers

Employers should not assign workers under age 18 to service, load, operate, or assist in the
operation of compacting or baling equipment. For cases in which the Compactors and Balers
Safety Standard Modernization Act applies, employers should comply with all provisions of the
Act —including ensuring that the compacting or baling equipment meets specified safety
standards and that young workers are limited to loading materials into de-energized
equipment. When training young workers on their job and work procedures, employers and
supervisors should explicitly note restrictions on having young workers load and operate
compacting or baling equipment. All workers in the work setting should be aware of any
workers under age 18 and be similarly trained so that they do not assign them to work with
compactors or balers and can notify the employer or supervisor should violations of the policy
occur. For stickers that employers can post on the machine to alert workers of the age
requirement, please click the link at the bottom of the page.


Special thanks to NASD and NIOSH for this information.


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