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Safety Requirements for Baling Equipment: ANSI Z245.5-2013

Important to Know:

Used to compress and bind solid waste, recyclables and other materials into a dense, moveable form, balers are powerful pieces of equipment that can pose a significant risk to those working with or near them.

Injuries and fatalities have been caused by:

  • The automated binding mechanism
  • The ejection mechanism
  • The powered ram that compacts the compression chamber’s contents
  • The material being compacted, if it’s jammed inside the baler

In addition to the complying with the standard, there are other ways employers can ensure safe baler operations:

  • Train employees on how to operate balers according to the manufacturer’s instructions and how to recognize the hazards of operating or working near balers.
  • Inspect the baler prior to use. Correct any deficiencies that are found before using it.
  • Establish procedures to shut down the power supply whenever repair or maintenance is needed. Make sure baler operators know to NEVER bypass locks or tags placed on the baler by maintenance personnel.
  • Before a jam is cleared, ensure that the baler’s electrical power has been disconnected, the disconnecting device has been locked and tagged, and the ram pressure has been dissipated.
  • Have a procedure in place for machine operators to account for the location of co-workers before activating a baler ram.
  • Make sure employees wear personal protective equipment when operating balers such as safety boots, eye and hearing protection, and safety gloves.
  • Prevent undesirable materials from entering your baler. Glass, metal and wood have the potential to cause injuries and damage; aerosols and gas containers can explode.
  • When the baler is not in use, the key should be removed from the switch, to prevent use by unauthorized personnel.
  • Workers should not stand near the front of the baler during compaction.
  • Keep wire and tools away from the machine and keep liquids away from the electrical controls.

Standard Requirements:

Baling Equipment – Safety Requirements for Installation, Maintenance, and Operation – otherwise known as ANSI Z245.5-2013 – revises safety requirements concerning the installation, operation, maintenance, service, repair, modification, and reconstruction (where applicable) of baling equipment that were covered by ANSI Z245.5-2008, Baling Equipment – Safety Requirements.

Like all American National Standards Institute (ANSI) standards, this is a voluntary consensus standard.

It applies to balers rated at 600 volts or less, for outdoor or indoor use.

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.

This standard applies to balers manufactured after its effective date. It is not intended to be retroactive for balers manufactured to comply with earlier revisions. That makes it even more important to follow safety procedures because older machines still in use may not have:

  • point-of-operation guards to prevent injuries if a worker reaches into an operating machine or
  • interlocked control systems to interrupt the movement of the baler’s powered ram when the compression chamber doors are opened.

Increase Your Knowledge:

Copies of the standard can be purchased online, at the ANSI Webstore: WMHS.

Did You Know?

Workers have been killed or sustained crushing or amputation injuries from the compacting ram after they reached into, entered or fell into the compression chamber when the ram was automatically activated. Injuries also occurred while workers were clearing jammed material or attempting to retrieve unbalable material from an operating machine.

Other incidents occurred because the machine’s power supply wasn’t shut down and ram pressure dissipated before workers attempted to clear material jams, and because the area wasn’t cleared of co-workers before the machine was operated.

Additional baler-related hazards to keep in mind: loose clothing that could become trapped in a baler door; sharp wire that can cause cuts and non-ergonomic lifting or loading movements that can result in back injuries.

American Baler is dedicated to meeting or exceeding safety standards, including the ANSI standard for balers. Our Head of Engineering sits on the ANSI committee. Our balers were 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,

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