The plastic molding process must include provision for safety equipment for the mold technicians and press operators in order to comply with safety regulations and maintain a safe and pleasant working environment.
These safety supplies include such things as hearing and eye protection, gloves, back and wrist supporters, hair nets, dust masks, respirators, first aid supplies, and safety mats. Each of these supplies can make a huge difference in the well-being of employees.
Many reputable companies offer safety supplies, such as D-M-E, Nickerson, Northern Supply, and OHS in Canada. Each of these companies offers a complete line of products that provide high quality solutions to a plastic molding operation’s safety considerations.
The simplest type of hearing protection is the foam type ear plug that is quite common. They are simple, inexpensive and quite effective. There are several variations on this theme, including the pod plugs that are connected and are great for repeated use. They are inexpensive enough to be thrown away, yet durable enough to be used repeatedly.
Besides the various foam type ear plugs, there are numerous ear muff hearing protectors available. These are generally much more effective at hearing protection than the plugs, but are also more expensive and intrusive.
It is a good idea to invest in a sound level meter in order to maintain a safe and compliant working environment. Nobody wants to be in violation of safety standards, and this is a good way to insure compliance.
A very common and effective solution to the problem of hand protection is the basic insulated glove. These gloves are inexpensive and quite practical, while still providing a rather high level of protection. The Thermoshield glove is a good example of this.
Hot mill gloves offer a higher level of protection, still at an affordable price. These gloves are rated to 450 degrees F and are comfortable and breathable. The Kevlar treated gloves are rated to 500 degrees F.
Safety glasses are essential equipment for any plastic molding operation. Visitors, as well as mold techs and operators all need proper eye protection. Individual prescription glasses, standard safety glasses, one piece glasses or goggles all meet the requirements for eye protection.
It is a good idea to have a safety glass dispenser of some sort readily available for visitors. Along with the dispenser, an eyeglass cleaning station is also essential equipment.
Wrist and back protection
Many of the operations required in plastic molding are repetitive, which can lead to ailments such as carpal tunnel syndrome, tennis elbow, tendinitis, and back injuries. These are common and serious problems in industry and must be taken seriously.
A typical solution is the elastic wrap for the wrist, elbow and back. An ergonomically designed wrap is comfortable and very effective. Of course, there is no substitute for common sense, and every effort should be made to make the work process ergonomic and comfortable. Not only will this save in lost time and production, but the workforce will be happier and more cooperative.