Protect your employees and your business with these baling safety tips …

Whether you use a vertical or horizontal cardboard baler, a mill size baler or a compactor, here are some simple steps you can take to protect your employees and impress any Health & Safety Inspector.

Employers are required by law to implement and record SSOW – Safe Systems of Work – also known as safety procedures, method statements, health & safety practices etc. Basically, detailed instructions given to employees to enable them to work safely.

SSOW are particularly important if your employees work with hazardous materials or machinery. The process should be pain-free and, once in place, easy to implement and monitor. Here’s how…

1. Carry out a risk assessment

Identify: What might harm people? What are the risks: electrical, physical, ergonomic?
Evaluate: What’s needed to eliminate risk? Training, access to instruction manuals, protective clothing, etc.

Implement: Carry out training, issue clothing, book a regular machine inspection, display signs, etc.

Monitor: Maintain records of training and inspection dates, keep an incident log, etc.
Review: Is the plan working? Have there been any accidents? Why? Do you need to revaluate?

2. Print and display signs

This is easy, effective and impressive. Consider some or all of the following, depending on your risk assessment results:

  • No Smoking
  • Do not climb in
  • Dangerous machinery
  • Confined space
  • Do not remove guards
  • Only trained and authorised personnel to use this machine

Display a list of trained/authorised employees and, for extra brownie points, the date of training.

3. Basic training for operators

as well as demonstrating and teaching operation of the machinery, according to the manufacturers’ guidelines, encourage operators to follow these rules – have them read and sign a rules sheet, so you can produce evidence to show the steps taken to safeguard your employees:

1. Check work area for hazards, such as spillages or obstructions.
2. Wear protective clothing: glasses, gloves and steel toe capped boots.
3. Follow manufacturer’s operating instructions and safety procedures.
4. Inspect the baler to ensure no obvious defects, broken locks or tags.
5. Keep all liquids away from the controls.
6. Never load unauthorised materials or objects into the baler.
7. Stand away from the baler during compaction.
8. Take care when using baling wire, ensure cut end faces down. Keep all cutting tools away from the baler.
9. Prevent injury to back, legs and feet by taking care while unloading bales, requesting assistance or a pallet when necessary. And follow the health and safety rules for moving and lifting heavy loads,
10. After operation, clean the baler, the floor area and remove the key from the baler’s switch.

Of course, best practices will vary from one business to another, and you’ll make sure your SSOW suits the individual needs of yours, but if you require any expert advice regarding the safe stationing and operation of your baler, please give Jen at Mardon a call – we’re here to help keep your employees safe, and your inspectors happy!

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