Occupational Safety in the Recycling Industry

Accidents at work with channel baling presses are often fatal, as employees are usually working alone in a high-risk environment.

On a recycling yard, a variety of activities take place to collect, sort, and recycle waste materials. Working on a recycling yard requires both teamwork and a precise understanding of processes to ensure efficient and safe operations.

The delivery of recycling materials is a central aspect of the recycling yard. Waste collection vehicles deliver materials such as paper, cardboard, metal, plastic, and glass. It is crucial that employees are well-trained to correctly identify and sort the incoming materials.

Various machines are used on a recycling yard to collect, sort, and process diverse materials:

  • Forklifts are used to move and transport heavy pallets of recyclable materials, often employed in loading materials onto conveyors or into balers.
  • Loaders are utilized to move larger quantities of materials, such as debris or metal scrap, especially efficient in handling bulky and heavy waste.
  • Conveyor belts are used to move materials efficiently through the recycling process, transporting delivered materials to different sorting stations or to the baler.
  • Balers compress recyclable materials into compact bales, easing transportation and recycling, often used for paper, cardboard, plastics, and metals.
  • Shredders break down materials, particularly metals and plastics, into smaller pieces.
  • Screening machines and drum screens are used to sort materials by size, separating fine particles from larger pieces, facilitating further processing.
  • Magnetic separators are employed to separate metals from other materials, especially crucial in the recycling of metal waste.
  • Air classifiers use air currents to separate lighter materials from heavier ones, particularly useful in the separation of paper and plastic.
  • Employees on the recycling yard use sorting belts to manually sort materials, allowing them to separate recyclable materials from non-recyclable waste.

Proper use and maintenance of these machines are crucial for ensuring an efficient and safe recycling process. To protect employees from potential hazards, strict occupational safety measures must be adhered to. This includes providing personal protective equipment such as helmets, protective eyewear, and hearing protection, as well as utilizing the U-TECH transponder. The U-TECH PRESS System is installed at the baler to secure the potentially life-threatening press chute, preventing employees from falling into the chute during daily operations or entering during maintenance work.

Equally important is the establishment of clear work areas to prevent collisions between machines and personnel. Regular training on safety procedures and protocols is essential to maintain awareness of potential risks.

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