Is there a standard for the number of people needed to feed an RDC?

Brad asks:

A recent safety question has come up.  Is there an industry standard for 1 vs. 2 employees required to manually fed rotatory converters?  We have a non-documented rule of thumb based of sheet size, single wall and double wall.  But I am looking for additional information to determine if what we are currently using fits within the standards of the industry.

I’ve asked Les Pickering for his input on this question. According to Les,

“There is no hard and fast rule, but I will outline the custom and practice.

Assuming it’s a machine like a 618 or an Emba…

  • A sheet width of 36” x 24” is a single person feeding operation.
  • If the sheet increases width to 40” x 24” it’s still a single person feeding operation.
  • If the sheet width is 36”, but the body increases to 30 or more inches, then it becomes a two-person operation as the sheet is more difficult to handle and its weight is heavier.
  • Usually anything over 40” becomes a two-person operation. This makes getting the weight of the bundle into the feeder manageable, maintains the speed up of the machine and creates a more ergonomic operation.”

We might also note that OSHA does not have a published standard on the amount of weight a person may lift. According to the U.S. department of Labor…

“OSHA does not have a standard which sets limits on how much a person may lift or carry. However, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has developed a mathematical model that helps predict the risk of injury based on the weight being lifted and other criteria. The NIOSH model is based on previous medical research into the compressive forces needed to cause damage to bones and ligaments of the back. The mathematical model is incorporated in the Applications Manual for the Revised NIOSH Lifting Equation, which can be found on the NIOSH website (http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/docs/94-110/). It should be noted, however, that this NIOSH document provides only voluntary guidelines”

— Ralph

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