Commercial Trash Compactor Safety

Commercial Trash Compactor Safety

Open top commercial trash compactors are essential for companies that generate larger volumes of waste to help maintain housekeeping and productivity. Workers who load or work near open top trash compactors need to be aware of the unique hazards of these large machines. This safety topic will focus on general safety awareness, best practices and the specific OSHA standards that apply when an open top trash compactor is being used in the workplace.

Caught-in/Between and Struck-by are the most common industrial trash compactor hazards. Only trained and authorized staff members should be allowed to operate the trash compactor. Employees who work in the vicinity of the trash compactor must be trained to ensure all safety precautions are taken during the course of the work day to keep all workers safe. Visitors should not be allowed near heavy equipment at any time.

OSHA General Industry Standard 1910.212(a)(1) Types of guarding. One or more methods of machine guarding shall be provided to protect the operator and other employees in the machine area from hazards such as those created by point of operation, ingoing nip points, rotating parts, flying chips and sparks. Examples of guarding methods are-barrier guards, two-hand tripping devices, electronic safety devices, etc.

All trash compactor operators should be trained in hazard recognition and safe operating procedures for the specific make and model of the trash compactor in use at the jobsite.

Inspect trash compactors regularly and report any potential hazards immediately. Any repairs needed should be made before continued use of the trash compactor.

Always make sure the door of the compactor is shut before operating the equipment and never open the door when the compactor is in operation.

Ensure all guards are kept in place, especially during operation of any open top trash compactor.

OSHA General Industry Standard 1910.212(a)(4) Revolving drums, barrels, and containers shall be guarded by an enclosure which is interlocked with the drive mechanism, so that the barrel, drum, or container cannot revolve unless the guard enclosure is in place.

Wearing proper PPE, like gloves and safety glasses, helps protect against cuts, scrapes and abrasions when handling waste material that is sorted and loaded into an open top trash compactor. Ear plugs, hard hats and goggles should be worn, if recommended by the manufacturer or required by the employer.

OSHA General Industry Standard 1910.212(a)(3)(iii) Special hand tools for placing and removing material shall be such as to permit easy handling of material without the operator placing a hand in the danger zone. Such tools shall not be in lieu of other guarding required by this section, but can only be used to supplement protection provided.

Platforms with stairs and railings should be available near the opening of feed chutes to provide safe access when clearing jams.

Use a specially designed hand tool when it is required to handle or move material in the danger zone of the trash compactor.

Never place your hand, arm or body into the trash compactor in an attempt to dislodge jammed material.

Workers must be protected from the unexpected movement of the machine parts. Lockout/Tagout procedures must be in place to protect those workers who must service, inspect, clean or maintain large equipment, like commercial trash compactors.

  • If servicing or repairs is required on the trash compactor, lockout/tagout procedures must be followed.
  • Never enter the trash compactor unless you are trained and authorized to do so and are following proper lockout/tagout procedures.
  • Do not disable control switches or the interlocking system on any trash compactor.
  • During routine inspections, ensure all interlocks and emergency stop devices are operating properly.
  • If the machine has been tagged or marked for repair, do not operate it.
  • Always leave the machine in the “off” position whenever it is not in use.
OSHA General Industry Standard 1910.147(c)(7)(i)(A) Each authorized employee shall receive training in the recognition of applicable hazardous energy sources, the type and magnitude of the energy available in the workplace, and the methods and means necessary for energy isolation and control.

Remember these important safety tips when loading, operating, servicing or working near any open top commercial trash compactor at your work site:

  • All operators should be trained how to correctly load materials into the trash compactor.
  • The area around the trash compactor must be kept tidy to minimize the risk of fire, pests and trip hazards.
  • Inspect trash compactors regularly and report any potential hazards immediately.
  • Ensure all guards are kept in place, especially during operation of any open top trash compactor.
  • Wear required PPE during loading, operation or servicing.
  • Use a specially designed hand tool when it is required to handle or move material in the danger zone of the trash compactor.
  • Never place your hand, arm or body into the trash compactor in an attempt to dislodge jammed material.
  • If servicing or repairs is required on the trash compactor, lockout/tagout procedures must be followed.
  • If the machine has been tagged or marked for repair, do not operate it.

If open top commercial trash compactors are used in your workplace, then make sure you don't skip the safety meeting! All employees who work in the area should be familiar with the unique hazards associated with trash compactors and the safe work practices expected in the workplace.

If you are ready to do more for your workplace safety and health program, adding regular safety meetings or toolbox talks is guaranteed to improve workplace safety while improving productivity and your company’s bottom line at the same time.

Putting together the safety message, toolbox talk or safety meeting topic takes time and the free online resources that provide a safety topic outline to follow just aren’t good enough. Weeklysafety.com can make this part of your job easier and it’s super simple to get started.

A membership to Weeklysafety.com comes at a very low price that never goes up no matter how many employees you have and no matter how many awesome safety topics you use. You don’t need any fancy software, employees don’t need to download an app, and it's very easy to get started. Included in your membership are hundreds of safety topics that you can use for your safety meetings, toolbox talks and safety moments including a safety meeting topic, like this one, that covers Commercial Trash Compactors in the workplace.

Take a look at our website to learn more about everything that comes with a Weeklysafety.com membership and see all the information on pricing options. Click below to learn more today!

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