The health and safety of all employees no matter what industry should always be paramount. Therefore companies need to ensure that employees are properly trained and given the necessary personal protective equipment to eliminate the dangers and risks of working with machinery. The plastic extrusion process can be extremely dangerous if employees are untrained or unprotected, however, with the right training and protective gear, organisations can ensure the health and safety of all those employees working with extrusion machines.

Firstly, it is important to understand what the dangers of each point during the extrusion process are as well as the remedies to eliminate these risks:

Loading and unloading process

This task requires heavy lifting, which if not appropriately monitored, could result in injury. To reduce the risk of injury, organisations can implement a maximum load that can be lifted at one time. They can also implement lifting aids where necessary.

Pouring granules into the hopper process

Employees tasked with pouring granules into the hopper risk obtaining cuts to their hands. To prevent this, organisations must make protective gloves mandatory for those pouring the granules.

Extrusion process

The actual extrusion process is where the most risks are posed to employees. For example, the molten plastic and the heat risks burning those working with the machinery. To remedy this risk, organisations must ensure that the auger and other heating devices are guarded against potential contact. The nozzle where the end of the auger connects to the die must also be guarded in case of a leak, therefore, preventing any melted plastic from squirting outward beyond the press. Plastic businesses can also ensure that any heating, cutting or sealing processes after extrusion are isolated to avoid the risk of burns. The most basic and important thing, however, that plastic companies need to implement to reduce the risk of burns during this process to implement the mandatory use of personal protective equipment.

This process also poses even more extreme risks such as crush injuries, deeps cuts and in extreme cases, amputation. To prevent these risks, companies must ensure to fix guards in order to prevent anyone from reaching into moving parts of the machine. For this reason, it is also crucial that prime movers and transmissions must be guarded. If any guards put into place open, they need to be interlocked. In areas of the machine such as the hopper, mesh can be used to guard the moving auger.

Threading film process

The risks of the threading process also include crush injuries, deep cuts and amputation. To prevent any of these from happening managers need to ensure that employees never wear loose clothing or jewellery near the machine. They also need to ensure that rollers are kept open and running as slowly as possible. It is essential for emergency stop buttons to be placed within reach of either hand in case of an incident occurring.

Cooling and cutting process

During the cooling and cutting process, the blades and knives pose injuries such as bruising, crush injuries as well as deep cuts or amputation. As mentioned for other processes, companies need to ensure heating devices are shielded from contact as well as isolate any heating, cutting or sealing processes that follow the extrusion process.

The health and safety of your employees is paramount to the success of your business; therefore, by implementing these safety precautions, you will be able to reduce the risk of incidents dramatically within your plastic business.

Plastic & Chemical Trading is a valuable technical partner that supports your manufacturing needs. Contact us today to ask how we can streamline and improve your business!

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