An enzyme protection study was required to protect employees of a large manufacturer of consumer products. They hired EPIC Systems for an enzyme protection appraisal for their powdered packaging systems. A pragmatic approach with concise recommendations was performed to quickly implement a complete enzyme handling solution.
CLIENT: Fortune 100 Company
INDUSTRY: Consumer Products
- Complete enzyme handling line evaluation
- Preliminary visual inspection of powder pouch packing line
- Detailed list of conditions observed
- 19 actionable recommendations for better enzyme handling
- 6 engineered controls
- 8 Operations changes
- 5 Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) recommendations
- Appendix of general enzyme guidelines
- Follow-up visit with additional recommendations
- Dust containment
- Broken pouch management
- Employees frequently entering enclosed space
- Bagging operation location
- Balancing cost of engineering controls with frequency of employee exposure
An EPIC Evaluation
An EPIC enzyme specialist visited the customer’s manufacturing plant to evaluate their enzyme handling procedures. Prior to EPIC’s visit, the customer had implemented two engineered controls. They had an enclosed pouch filler and a dust collection system with negative air pressure. The pouch filler was in an isolated room to further contain the enzyme powder during supersack unloading and broken pouch rejection. Employees had previously undergone health screenings, trainings and were advised on specific PPE based on operational task.
Powder products containing enzymes must not have visible dust outside of enclosed spaces. All dust must be treated as an enzyme. Powder solution that contains an enzyme must be treated as an enzyme. Production equipment must be treated as an enzyme exposure hazard.
Potential problem areas observed included:
- The enclosed area of the pouch filler only protects personnel when the dust collector is able to pull a negative air pressure and when the operator is not in the enclosed space. Operators not wearing PPE when the guards are removed from the filler, or when the doors are open, are at risk. Operators inside the enclosure are at risk of enzyme exposure
- When partially sealed pouches are discharged from the filler, they leave the confined space that is equipped with a dust collector. Any operator outside of the enclosed space is at risk of exposure without proper PPE protection
- The bag filling operation is located outside of the pouch filling room. The bag filling equipment does not have engineering controls to minimize risk of exposure to enzymes.
A sample of the specific recommendations EPIC’s project manager and industrial hygienist provided include:
- Improved PPE matrix and additional PPE recommendations for respirator use
- Vacuum dust clean-up after supersack change
- Establish a reliable method to notify the operator if the dust collector is unable to maintain a negative air pressure inside the filler
- Determine all locations where loose powder and broken pouches may occur and install cleanable (or disposable) catch pans
- Consider enclosing the space around each catch pan to reduce dust escape and unauthorized access
- Keep all broken pouches inside the filler enclosure to minimize exposure
- Remove all visible dust on floor and packaging area and determine source of dust to prevent future dust escape
- Contain powder from broken pouches so that it cannot be carried to the rest of the packaging area
- Add a dust collection intake under pouch transfer conveyors to draw loose powder out of broken pouches
- Label areas that contain enzymes to separate non-enzyme areas clearly from designated enzyme handling areas.
- Label raw materials, equipment and storage areas appropriately. This will allow powder spills in non-enzyme areas to be cleaned without PPE or specialized training, creating a clear divide between enzyme areas and non-enzyme areas.
- Bag packaging operator should wear proper PPE when cleaning jams. A catch pan should be installed with a lid or inner plastic bag to allow lose dust to be sealed before removal
- Confine reclaim/reblend operations to a designated area and require operators to wear proper PPE
- Transport waste containing enzymes in a sealed container and dispose properly
- Proper PPE should be worn while cleaning re-usable containers and rinse water should be treated as enzyme material
- Created a safe environment for line operators and plant personnel
- Clearly separated and enclosed all enzyme packaging activities from non-enzyme production
- Eliminated risk of pouches containing enzymes entering general packaging area
- Reduce potential cost and time investment in determining a safe pathway for enzyme use by using a practical approach to enzyme handling and concise recommendations
- Provided fast implementation for client through list of 19 actionable items
Why EPIC Packaging Systems? Because you want to Do It Better:
EPIC believes we provide a way for you to Do It Better when handling enzymes because of our pragmatic approach to balancing engineered controls with operational changes. Our list of clear recommendations and steps for moving forward with your enzyme handling plan will help you to quickly implement changes in your plant. There are actions that EPIC features with every project that contributes to helping you “Do It Better”:
- Preliminary visual inspection of current operating state
- Front-End Engineering to ensure that the proper steps are taken during project scope development
- Apply our plant engineering experience to assist clients in identifying needs, pinpointing objectives and providing the most appropriate manufacturing equipment
- Maintaining an open door client policy to promote innovation. We invite clients to visit EPIC to experiment with new processes, technologies and techniques that push the limits of traditional engineering.
- Impart a transfer of knowledge (not just a basic training) for the systems and equipment we provide
- Appoint a single point of direct contact during the entirety of the project