Safety Tips Injury prevention Machine guarding Machinery

Injection molding machines: Avoid the hazards


Photo: IanDikhtiar/iStockphoto

Used in the plastics industry, thermoplastic injection molding machines “produce molded plastic parts by converting plastic pellets into molten material, injecting the molten plastic into a mold and cooling the plastic material,” OSHA says. Industries that use these machines include toy, medical device and beverage container manufacturers.

Among the hazards associated with these machines are crushing injuries or amputations. According to OSHA, these incidents can occur if a worker:

  • Reaches into a machine for any reason.
  • Reaches around, under or over guards.
  • Operates a machine with missing or inoperable guards or interlocks.
  • Isn’t familiar with the equipment.

To help protect workers, the agency offers these recommendations:

  • Ensure an operator’s safety gate is installed. This blocks access to the machine’s moving parts.
  • Don’t remove, alter or attempt to bypass a safety device.
  • Don’t remove a fixed guard during normal operation.
  • Provide training on the safety hazards and features of the machine for any employees who will operate or work with it.
  • Lock out the machine before servicing it.

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