Open top commercial trash compactors are essential for companies that generate larger volumes of waste to help maintain housekeeping and productivity. Workers who load or work near open top trash compactors need to be aware of the unique hazards of these large machines.
Caught-in/Between and Struck-by are the most common industrial trash compactor hazards. Only trained and authorized staff members should be allowed to operate the trash compactor. Employees who work in the vicinity of the trash compactor must be trained to ensure all safety precautions are taken during the course of the work day to keep all workers safe. Visitors should not be allowed near heavy equipment at any time.
OSHA General Industry Standard 1910.212(a)(1) Types of guarding. One or more methods of machine guarding shall be provided to protect the operator and other employees in the machine area from hazards such as those created by point of operation, ingoing nip points, rotating parts, flying chips and sparks. Examples of guarding methods are-barrier guards, two-hand tripping devices, electronic safety devices, etc.
All trash compactor operators should be trained in hazard recognition and safe operating procedures for the specific make and model of the trash compactor in use at the jobsite.
Inspect trash compactors regularly and report any potential hazards immediately. Any repairs needed should be made before continued use of the trash compactor.
Always make sure the door of the compactor is shut before operating the equipment and never open the door when the compactor is in operation.
Ensure all guards are kept in place, especially during operation of any open top trash compactor.
OSHA General Industry Standard 1910.212(a)(4) Revolving drums, barrels, and containers shall be guarded by an enclosure which is interlocked with the drive mechanism, so that the barrel, drum, or container cannot revolve unless the guard enclosure is in place.
Wearing proper PPE, like gloves and safety glasses, helps protect against cuts, scrapes and abrasions when handling waste material that is sorted and loaded into an open top trash compactor. Ear plugs, hard hats and goggles should be worn, if recommended by the manufacturer or required by the employer.
OSHA General Industry Standard 1910.212(a)(3)(iii) Special hand tools for placing and removing material shall be such as to permit easy handling of material without the operator placing a hand in the danger zone. Such tools shall not be in lieu of other guarding required by this section, but can only be used to supplement protection provided.
Platforms with stairs and railings should be available near the opening of feed chutes to provide safe access when clearing jams.
Use a specially designed hand tool when it is required to handle or move material in the danger zone of the trash compactor.
Never place your hand, arm or body into the trash compactor in an attempt to dislodge jammed material.
Workers must be protected from the unexpected movement of the machine parts. Lockout/Tagout procedures must be in place to protect those workers who must service, inspect, clean or maintain large equipment, like commercial trash compactors.
OSHA General Industry Standard 1910.147(c)(7)(i)(A) Each authorized employee shall receive training in the recognition of applicable hazardous energy sources, the type and magnitude of the energy available in the workplace, and the methods and means necessary for energy isolation and control.
Remember these important safety tips when loading, operating, servicing or working near any open top commercial trash compactor at your work site:
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