While serious workplace accidents are rare, The National Safety Council recorded 4.5 million occupational injuries in 2017, at a $161.5 billion cost to the economy and warehousing had the second highest percentage of incidents. Waste management is a high-risk industry. Using baling machinery designed to compact materials down to minuscule size and sever heavy-duty metallic baling wire is particularly dangerous.
With the regulatory landscape embracing more relaxed workplace protections, it will increasingly fall on management’s shoulders to protect their workforce from anything untoward. But some sensible precautions and a proper procedure can help you eliminate the risk of workplace accidents and keep your workforce safe when using waste machinery.
Assess the risk and communicate it
Carrying out a comprehensive risk assessment on any machinery is vital to spot any hazards and risks within the machine. Using an independent to check this is a good idea as you need someone with a thorough knowledge of the legal landscape as well as the machine itself. Once you’ve done this, you need to make sure staff know all about the risks involved and the safe practices they can follow in order to minimize them. It’s all about creating a culture where safety takes priority over everything else. After all, even a minor accident will have a serious impact on your bottom line.
Make space around machinery
While it’s tempting to place a baler in the corner of the warehouse, taking up minimal floor space, the irony of this is that it will often make processing inefficient and create conditions for unsafe loading. Allocate plenty of space around the baler to improve accessibility,
The right equipment for the job
Age, capacity, and upkeep are three important determinants of baler safety. These factors can lead to balers becoming overloaded, underpowered, or dysfunctional, which means it’s more likely to lead with jams. More jams mean more operator interventions and this is when the accidents happen. Prevent this by ensuring your machinery is up to the task with consistent maintenance. If you need more power then consider upgrading when you can.
Ensuring your equipment meets any regulatory baselines is important but not enough. Machine guarding is no good if there’s something wrong with one of your protectors. Conduct regular audits of your machinery via independent contractors. You can’t rely on your staff alone to deal with problems or identify any long-term structural deficiencies. Another way of limiting damage to your baler is by investing in Baling Wire Direct’s high-grade wires with the machine-appropriate gauge.
Insist on full training
It’s hard to gather concrete statistics on the number of operators working without training on the specific machine they’re using. How many people have read the manual from back to front? We’d wager not many.
Anyone operating heavy machinery should know what to do in any given eventuality. There’s no substitute for experience and knowledge. Only trained and experienced operators should be allowed to operate heavy machinery in the first place. You need to know that if something goes down, the person in the driving seat can deal with it. Ensuring people aren’t using dangerous machinery solo by implementing buddy systems will also go a long way to preventing accidents.
When it comes to workplace safety, these things should help you keep yourself and your employees from coming to any serious harm around waste management equipment. Investing time, effort, and money in good safety practices means you’re protecting something more valuable than profit: your employees’ health and wellbeing.