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ANSI Z245.5-2013: Baling Equipment – Safety Requirements for Installation, Maintenance and Operation

“American Baler is dedicated to meeting or exceeding safety demands, including the ANSI standard for balers. Our Head of Engineering sits on the ANSI committee. Our balers were the first to achieve Category 3 safety standards on all models. Our customers demand the safest balers, and we lead the way!”

American Baler, 800-843-7512,


Whether they are vertical or horizontal, auto-tie or closed-door, balers offer tremendous versatility when it comes to condensing and compressing materials and turning them into bales that are easy to transport. This equipment is essential in industries where fast and efficient compacting is needed for cardboard, steel cans, newspaper, auto parts, aluminum and other kinds of scrap metal, packaging foam and textiles. The features that make balers so useful harbor some hazards, which are addressed by ANSI Z245.5-2013. This standard revises safety requirements with respect to the installation, operation, maintenance, service, repair, modification and reconstruction (where applicable) of baling equipment covered by ANSI Z245.5-2008, Baling Equipment – Safety Requirements. The requirements of this standard apply to balers rated at 600 volts or less, for outdoor or indoor use, and are employed in accordance with the manufacturer’s written installation, operation and maintenance instructions and procedures. A companion standard, ANSI Z245.51–2013 establishes safety requirements for the design and construction of commercial baling equipment commonly used in recycling, solid waste disposal and raw materials handling. Both these standards taken together revise and replace ANSI Z245.5 –2008.

Approval of an American National Standard requires verification by ANSI that the requirements for due process, consensus and other criteria for approval have been met by the standards developer. Consensus is established when, in the judgment of the ANSI Board of Standards Review, substantial agreement has been reached by directly and materially affected interests. Substantial agreement means much more than a simple majority, but not necessarily unanimity. Consensus requires that all views and objections be considered, and that a concerted effort be made toward their resolution. The use of American National Standards is completely voluntary.

What Is and Isn’t Covered

The requirements contained in this standard pertain to new balers as produced by the manufacturer. New requirements and revisions are not intended to be retroactive for balers manufactured to comply with earlier revisions of this standard. Refer to the approved edition of ANSI Z245.5 in effect at the time of manufacture for those requirements.

The requirements contained in this standard are not intended to apply to other components of end-use applications where a baler is part of a designed system.

This standard was processed and approved for submittal to ANSI by the Accredited Standards Committee Z245 on Equipment, Technology and Operations for Wastes and Recyclable Materials. It was developed by American National Standards Institute Accredited Standards Committee Z245 Subcommittee 5 on Balers and approved by Accredited Standards Committee Z245.

Baler Safety Recommendations

Most baler-related fatalities occur when workers are caught in or crushed by the powerful compacting rams in baling or compacting machines, according to data analyzed by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). These incidents generally involve situations in which employees entered a compactor to clear a material jam, fell into the path of the ram, or reached into the machine while it was operating. Material jams are common, and cause the compacting ram to stop moving. Employees may not understand that these machines are still turned on, and can resume operating suddenly. NIOSH baler safety recommendations include:

  • A baler should be de-energized while being unjammed, maintained or repaired. Lockout tagout (LOTO) controls should be used to prevent the machine being turned on again inadvertently. LOTO tags should be prominently displayed, so that other employees know that the machine is temporarily out of operation.
  • Machine guards with safety interlocks should be added to balers, so that the machine will immediately cease operating if an employee tries to gain access to the ram or the ram area.
  • Standard procedures for dealing safely with jams should be established and communicated to all employees. They should include having machine operators account for the presence of co-workers before activating the equipment.
  • Platforms incorporating stairs and railings should be provided near the opening of feed chutes to provide safe access for clearing jams.
  • Employers should train their employees to recognize the hazards of working near balers and compactors, and to be familiar with safe working procedures.
  • No one under the age of 18 should be allowed to operate a baler, except for the exemption under U.S. labor standards that allows workers aged 16 and 17 to load de-energized scrap paper balers and cardboard box compactors, as long as the equipment is turned off, the switch is locked in the “off”

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