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If you are in the waste management business, then balers and compactors must be an integral part of your company to handle the waste efficiently. If they are not handled properly, there will be unfortunate accidents and serious safety issues may crop up.

recycling industrial balerHere are 10 ways through which you can avoid such instances and drive the balers safely.

• Use Machine Guarding

Each and every compactor and baler must be equipped with machine guards and safety interlocks to ensure the protection of the operators. The interlocks should be designed so that they cannot be bypassed with ease. The safety interlock devices stop the machine immediately if any worker attempts to gain access to a ram or the travel zone of the ram while the machine is operating.

• Check the Electrical Components

All the electric panels of the balers should be debris and dirt free. Ensure that the electric panels are shut securely. Moreover, the wiring and conduits should be maintained properly. If they are damaged, they must be repaired immediately so that the safety of the operating equipment is not compromised.

• Check Hydraulics

Most balers are operated under extremely high hydraulic pressure. This necessitates immediate repairs of any kind of leaks or liquid/oil spills as they would alter the pressure and affect the functioning of balers. Check all hoses at regular intervals for any signs of mechanical abrasion, damage or cuts. The hoses can get damaged with age and due to the heat, they are subjected to, which is why it is important to replace them as you see hints of age and heat affecting them.

• Train the Staff

Make sure all the staff members are trained properly on how to operate the balers. Qualified people must impart the required training. Encourage your staff to read the operator manuals for every machine before they are put to use. The training should be documented carefully at every stage.

• Maintain Structural Strength

The structural integrity of balers ranks high for maintaining safety. Since balers operate in tough conditions, the effects may manifest through fatigue and failure of steel structures. Most structural parts will show indications of cracks, breaks or stress long before they fail or stop functioning. Thus, keep a regular check on all the frames, cylindrical mouths, and welds for signs of cracks and fissures. Other factors that may affect structural strength include improper loading, age, lack of maintenance, fluctuating pressure settings, dull shear blades, worn liners, etc.

• Execute Lock Out/ Tag Out

Every machine has lock out and tag out procedures. All operators must understand them and should be trained to execute them correctly when required. Encourage them to document each time they follow the lock out and tag out procedures.

• Keep Young Operators Away

Make sure that anyone under the age of 18 years does not operate the machines. Baler and compactor operators under that age are prohibited by OSHA.

• Pay Heed to Warning Labels

The warning labels should be clearly mentioned, well maintained and should be placed appropriately in places where they can be read clearly. Mandatory labels include warnings of high voltage, pinch points, automatic operations, under age, etc. Locate warning labels using the manufacturer’s owner’s manual.

• Understand Removal and Storage Protocols

Since bales are heavy and large in size, the operators need to be trained properly for handling the machines and equipment used to remove and store bales. Ensure that the warehouse has the right conditions for storing with the bales being stacked safely.

• Prioritize Safety

Conduct safety checks regularly. Rectify any issues and attend to all the safety concerns before someone gets hurt. Keep the machines updated and if something doesn’t look right, do not operate it until it passes the safety tests.