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WASHINGTON — A revised machinery safety standard will require changes to hundreds of existing extruders, as well as new machines, according to the Society of the Plastics Industry Inc. of Washington.

Revisions developed for extrusion machinery by SPI's Machinery Division have been incorporated into a revised safety standard adopted by the American National Standards Institute. The standard, ANSI/SPI B 151.7-1996, is aimed at minimizing hazards from extruders through improved design and more training for machine operators.

The revised standard applies only to plastics extruders, whereas the original standard covered extruders for both plastics and rubber.

``We found that burn injuries from molten plastics used during extrusion is the major potential safety hazard for our employees,'' said John Rexford, chairman of the Standards Development Committee.

``Accordingly, the revised standard calls for additional safeguards to prevent inadvertent contact with high temperatures and high voltage.''

Rexford is senior staff engineer at HPM Corp. in Mount Gilead, Ohio.

Among other things, the standard calls for use of a device to limit or relieve pressure; covers for vent ports to protect workers from hot plastics and vapors; compliance with ANSI standards for the electrical system, including an emergency stop button and safety signs. A new requirement is an audible and/or visual alarm to warn of machinery movement, both impending and actual.

Processors have three years to update their machines. Equipment manufacturers are required to update the machines within one year.