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National group plans to revise standards for packaging machinery safety

National group plans to revise standards for packaging machinery safety
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In November, the Packaging Machinery Mfrs.’ Institute (PMMI) will begin to review the ANSI/PMMI B155.1-2006 safety requirements for packaging machinery and packaging-related converting machinery, which were approved as an American National Standard in April 2006.

The ANSI/PMMI B155.1 standard requires machinery suppliers to do a risk assessment of machinery and build machines to an acceptable level of risk. PMMI, an American National Standard Institute accredited standards-developing organization (SDO), is the secretariat of the B155 committee. The upcoming review is part of the required five-year
review and revision process.

Fred Hayes, PMMI director of technical services, says that PMMI has already begun asking for feedback. “In preparation for the review, we’ve asked machinery suppliers and end users for their feedback,” he says. “Most comments are focused on the requirements in the normative and informative reference standards; and there’s a common theme that the language is quite prescriptive. In the context of a standard, prescriptive language tends to limit innovation, so the B155.1 committee will take a hard look at it.”

Impact on risk assessment
Although complying with the standard is technically voluntary, in practicality, it’s not, Hayes notes. “The ANSI/PMMI B155.1 standard is a voluntary consensus standard,” he says. “But demonstrating conformance to the standard’s requirements is essential when defending a machinery supplier—U.S or foreign—in any product liability litigation involving a packaging or a converting machine.” Hayes adds that the standard defines “supplier” as “an individual, corporation, partnership or other legal entity or form of business that provides equipment or services.

A supplier can be any of the following: The manufacturer; manufacturer’s agent; representative or distributor; reseller; installer; modifier; rebuilder; or integrator. When the user provides any of the above equipment or services, the user is considered a supplier.”

The 2006 edition of the standard was harmonized with the requirements of the top-level EN/ISO standards—those used to demonstrate conformity with the “essential health and safety requirements” set forth in the European Machinery Directive.

Harmonization means a U.S. packaging machinery supplier can build a single machine that may be shipped domestically or exported to the European  Union (EU). “This is in-line with the U.S. standards strategy of ‘one standard, one conformity assessment, ship anywhere,’” Hayes says, noting one more effect of the standard: End users include “sharing the risk assessment” in their purchasing contracts. “They want to be certain they’re getting a machine built to an acceptable level of risk,” he says. “This levels the playing field for the machinery suppliers.”

For more information, contact Fred Hayes at [email protected] .

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