Safety Precautions to Use When Operating a Waste Baler or Compactor

by Global Trash Solutions

While waste balers and compactors are great pieces of equipment to have on hand to help better manage large volumes of cardboard, recyclables, and other types of waste, they can be dangerous when they are not operated correctly. Failure to follow safe operating procedures has resulted in serious injuries and death in some cases.

Trash Compactor Safety Procedures

There are many industry-specific and general standards, recommendations, and requirements that govern trash and baler machine safety. Following the best practices and recommended compactor safety rules will help keep your employees safe while operating this machinery.

Employer and Facility Responsibility for Trash Compactor Safety

Supervision in manufacturing centre

  • Employers must provide compactor safety training and baler safety instruction materials which cover safe operating procedures before allowing workers to use, maintain, clean, service, or repair compacting equipment.
  • Machine guards must be present and designed so that they prevent workers from reaching into a machine that is in operation. Compactor safety rules must forbid operation unless guards are in place and functional.
  • A lock-out or tag-out procedure is essential to trash compactor safety, by stopping forward motion or reversing the compression ram if the doors are opened or a worker attempts to reach into an operating machine.
  • Signs, warnings, and baler safety training must be provided in conveyor belt or feeding chute operation, including what actions you should take when using a cardboard compactor or baler.
  • Specific training and steps must be provided to workers in how to safely clear a jam, including not only powering down conveyors but disconnecting power to the compacting equipment.
  • Employers must also provide fall protection to prevent workers from slipping into or leaning over feeding chutes and compactor or baler openings. Safety harnesses and physical barriers are essential compactor and baler machine safety gear.
  • A passcode that is provided only to trained and authorized operators will confirm that only those familiar with safety procedures and who are over the age of 18 are able to operate the equipment.
  • Employers should prevent the use of any equipment which does not meet these requirements and maintain a log of regular inspections, service, and repair by a certified maintenance technician.

Worker or Operator Responsibilities for Baler and Compactor Safety

Not all of the responsibilities for compactor and baler machine safety rest on the facility or employer. As responsible operators of the equipment, workers should:

Waste Management Consultants

  • Follow safety guidelines and posted procedures for the safe operation of a baler or trash compactor.
  • Report any equipment problems or malfunctioning guards, access keypads, or missing safety equipment to their manager and stop the operation of the machinery immediately.
  • Never attempt to fix a broken machine by themselves, unless they have been trained and certified to perform maintenance and repairs on the compactors.
  • Not operate the machine if it has been tagged or marked that it needs repair.
  • Never climb inside the machine or insert a hand or leg to try to resolve a problem with jammed or stuck materials.
  • Wear safety gloves, goggles, earplugs, and hard hats as needed when working around, operating, and using waste balers and compactors.
  • Always leave the machine in the “off” position whenever it is not in use.

More Information About Trash Compactor Safety Is Available

By adhering to the above safety guidelines, along with the manufacturer’s safety recommendations and those required by law in your area, you can help reduce the risks of potential accidents at your place of business. For more safety tips or to learn about the safe operation of waste balers and compactors for your business, contact or call Global Trash Solutions at 866-760-8194 today.

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