The Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration (MIOSHA) recently updated its rules to end the requirement for horizontal injection molding machines in the state to be equipped with a “jam bar” – a mechanical safety device that prevents the platens from closing when a machine gate is open.
Michigan, which had the rule as part of its General Industry Safety and Health Standard Part 62, which was first filed in 1973, was the only state to keep such a rule on its books. The Plastics Industry Association (PLASTICS) began the process of formally requesting Michigan to amend its requirement in July 2017, saying that, as the industry had embraced more modern safety mechanisms, jam bars had become redundant in horizontal machines. Under the rule change, jam bars are no longer a requirement but remain an option.
“I can say we have had a really good working relationship with MIOSHA,” said Marie Gargas, senior technical director of regulatory affairs for PLASTICS. “For example, they were very receptive to the results of the risk assessment, wanted to understand the issues and were responsive in initiating this formal rulemaking process.”
While this amendment effort ended successfully, Gargas said PLASTICS already has its next challenge in sight. “Looking ahead, federal OSHA intends to update its general industry standard for the control of hazardous energy,” she said. “Strong member engagement was critical to the process, and success in Michigan has been helpful in early conversations with OSHA and will remain so in this upcoming rulemaking process.”