Last month, the Society of the Plastics Industry, Washington, D.C., alerted members to two new occupational safety initiatives by federal agencies.
Last month, the Society of the Plastics Industry, Washington, D.C., alerted members to two new occupational safety initiatives by federal agencies. On Oct. 27, OSHA reissued its National Emphasis Program (NEP) on Amputations. It replaces the 2002 program in which plastics processing (SIC 3089) was among 10 industries targeted for workplace inspections regarding amputation hazards. OSHA is now looking at users of any machinery likely to cause amputations. Prior NEP inspections focused on machine guarding, but now they include lockout/tagout provisions and mechanical power transmission apparatus. OSHA’s list of 40 Standard Industrial Classifications (SICs) associated with high rates of amputation includes the following: --SIC 2671: Packaging film and sheet, coated and laminated paper. --SIC 2673: Plastic, foil, and coated-paper bags. --SIC 3089: Miscellaneous plastics products. --SIC 3544: Mold and die making, jigs, fixtures. Machinery targeted as sources of amputations include extruders and injection machines, milling machines, conveyors, mixers, blenders, saws, printing presses, drill presses, grinding/abrading machines, and packaging/wrapping equipment. The NEP (Directive CPL 03-00-003) is posted at www.osha.gov. On Nov. 9, the U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board (CSB), which advises OSHA, reported on its investigation of combustible dust hazards and recommended new measures to avoid explosions and fires. CSB identified 291 combustible dust incidents between 1980 and 2005. Forty incidents, or 14%, involved ignition of polymer powder or dust. Twenty-one incidents, or 8%, occurred at rubber or plastics processors, causing 19 deaths and 219 injuries. CSB recommended that OSHA issue new regulations on combustible dust and implement a Special Emphasis Program. The Combustible Dust Hazard Investigation report is online at www.csb.gov.