Northern Safety & Industrial

Tips for Avoiding Scrap Paper Baler Hazards

Paper balers are powerful equipment. They are used to compress large quantities of scrap material into compact units for easier storage and transport. It’s important to note that operating balers is dangerous work. Their many moving parts, including one or more rams, can lead to serious crushing, caught-by, and amputation injuries and even fatalities.

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) offers some guidelines for safer baler use.

  • Access doors, covers, and any protective shields must be safely secured. In addition, if access doors are lockable, then the key should be kept by an authorized person.
  • Personnel doing repairs and maintenance must be trained to follow the manufacturer’s recommended procedures for balers that the employer maintains.
  • 16- and 17-year old employees are only allowed to load balers and NOT allowed to operate any perform machine maintenance.
  • Manufacturer tags must show that the machine was constructed in accordance with ANSI Z245.5 standards, indicating that the chamber door and latch have been designed to withstand the maximum ram forces on the material being baled.
  • A lockable power disconnect is required, with a clear line of sight from the baler to the disconnect.
  • There must be an effective lockout procedure written for each specific baler.

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