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Clock ticking on machine safety standards.

A three-year countdown to compliance with new worker-safety standards from the American National Standards Institute, N.Y.C., has begun for owners of injection-blow and extrusion blow molding machines. The ANSI B151.15-2003 standards were adopted and published in September (for injection-blow) and October (for extrusion blow), setting deadlines for full compliance by the same month in 2006. These standards detail ways to meet OSHA's general safety requirements for these machines.

"ANSI standards provide a roadmap to best industry safety practices," says Walt Bishop, director of SPI's Machinery, Molders, and Moldmakers divisions, which developed the standards with ANSI. The standards indicate how to fulfill requirements to protect operators from mechanical, thermal, and electrical hazards. They describe essential safety interlocks, mechanical guards, digital relays, and redundancy techniques. Industry sources estimate that of the 8000 or so extrusion and injection-blow machines in the U.S., about half do not yet fully comply. New machines have been built to meet the standard for some time now, and OEMs offer packages for brining older models into compliance. The estimated cost is $10,000 to $25,000 per machine.

Though the ANSI standards are "voluntary," Bishop calls them "reference points" for OSHA inspectors as well as for legal authorities pursuing liability actions. Copies of the standards cost $42 from Global Engineering Documents, div. of IHS Engineering, Englewood, Colo. Tel: (800) 854-7179, www.global.ihs.com

Dennis Aulbrook, president of American Safety & Equipment in Oxford, Mich., says his company can toke much of the hassle and cost out of retrofitting the mixture of machine brands typical in most shops. Aulbrook says ASE can retrofit all machines in one shutdown. Tel: (866) 522-2300, www.americansafetyequipment.com

ASE and SPI's Machinery Div. are both planning educational seminars in the standards in May. SPI: (202) 974-5230, www.plasticsindustry.org

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Title Annotation:Blow Molding
Publication:Plastics Technology
Date:Mar 1, 2004
Words:302
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