Manufacturing Research/studies Manufacturing

Safety measures lacking on plastic injection molding machines, peripheral equipment: study

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Plastics moulding machine

Photo: KevTate999/iStockphoto

Montreal – Factories with plastic injection molding machines that interact with peripheral equipment – such as robots or conveyors – could do more to improve safety, Canadian scientific research organization IRSST concluded in a recent study.

Researchers visited six factories and found that workers were using only five of a potential 43 opportunities for risk reduction. They noted, however, that most facilities were using at least one method of risk reduction for all the identified hazardous situations.

The researchers also looked at incident reports and found deficiencies in enforcement/familiarity of procedures, use of protective devices and design/implementation of risk-reduction measures for workers.

“For example, in many cases, there were no guards or else they were damaged, not functioning or incompatible with the work situation,” Yuvin Chinniah, engineer and lead researcher, said in a press release.

The researchers identified three risk-reduction techniques:

  • Use of a partial lockout/tagout method to keep other workers from starting a machine.
  • Use of emergency stop controls, interlocking movable guards with/without guard locking and pressure-sensitive mats that identify when a person is present, among other safety measures.
  • Verifying that protections on machines are operating properly, and inspecting the condition of hoisting equipment before using it.

The study was published in May along with a technical guide.

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