OEMs: sharpen your focus on safety

Builders of packaging machinery be forewarned: You are entering a world where your customers may want safety features designed and engineered into machines from the get-go rather than having such features retrofitted onto machines as an afterthought.

Pw 9745 Ma Manuele

That was the upshot of a July 11-12 PMMI safety conference in Chicago titled “ANSI/PMMI B155.1: PackLine Safety Solutions.” The primary goal of the conference was to help attendees understand specific implications of the newly revised ANSI/PMMI B155.1 safety standard for packaging and packaging-related converting machinery, officially published April 25.

Conference moderator Fred Hayes, PMMI Director of Technical Services and president of Hayes & Associates, reminded the audience that the fundamental goal of B155.1, contained in the forward, is this: “This version of the standard has been harmonized with international (ISO) and European (EN) standards by the introduction of hazard identification and risk assessment as the principal method for analyzing hazards to personnel and achieving a level of acceptable risk.” So defining and achieving “acceptable risk,” said Hayes, is really what the new standard is all about.

Following Hayes was Fred Manuele (shown here), president of Hazards Limited, who reminded the audience that risk assessment should not only begin early in the machine concept design phase but should also be updated and validated as the design matures. Engineers responsible for designing and building packaging machinery have long applied an informal risk assessment framework, Manuele noted, but he applauds the publication of B155.1 because it introduces a formal method to conduct and document the risk assessment process.

Manuele went on to predict that B155.1 could bring about a culture change in the packaging machinery arena, but only if packaging machinery OEMs devote resources to understanding and implementing it. Manuele pronounced B155.1 “great work” and predicted that, with its emphasis on risk assessment provisions, it is poised to bring about the following:

• Productivity will be improved

• Operating costs will be reduced

• Expensive retrofitting to correct design shortcomings will be avoided

• Significant reductions in injuries and their attendant costs will be achieved

“In your business,” Manuele told attendees in his conclusion, “if competition has become so keen that you need to run smarter, better, and faster, B155.1 is for you.”

The new ANSI/PMMI B155.1 safety standard for packaging and packaging-related converting machinery is available for $65 on www.pmmi.org or by contacting Fred Hayes at fhayes@pmmi.org.

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