The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) on September 13 released a new Thermoforming module for the Plastics Machinery section of OSHA's Machine Guarding eTool. The module reviews potential hazards associated with thermoforming, a manufacturing process using a thermoplastic sheet or film that is fed into an oven, and then heated, formed and trimmed.

"This new module of the Machine Guarding eTool is another example of how OSHA is making valuable information easily accessible to employers and employees so they can build and sustain a safe and healthful work environment," said Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA Edwin G. Foulke Jr. "It is important that we make every effort to help put educational materials into the hands of stakeholders to improve employee safety and health on the job."

The new module goes into detail about the various stages of the thermoforming process, including loading a roll of plastic onto a roll-fed thermoformer machine and threading the plastic into it through end-feed rollers. It also examines the forming, trimming and stacking process and how employers and employees can avoid the hazards associated with these processes.

The Thermoforming module was developed with input from the Society of the Plastics Industry (SPI) Inc. as part of the OSHA and SPI Alliance.