PMMI Readies Updated ANSI/PMMI B155.1 Standard

The new version broadens the scope to include co-packers and co-manufacturers and addresses cybersecurity, remote access, and more.

Machine Safety Updates on ANSI/PMMI B155.1
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The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) requires that standards be revised and updated every five years. As a result, for the last two years a committee at PMMI (an ANSI-accredited standards developing organization) has been working to revise the technical requirements of the ANSI/PMMI B155.1-2016 Safety Requirements for Packaging and Processing Machinery standard. The work is coming to completion and a new ANSI-approved version of the standard is expected to be published this summer.Updates on ANSI/PMMI B155.1The Impact of Global and Local Standards on OEMs & Suppliers: Updates on ANSI/PMMI B155.1

The objective of the ANSI/PMMI B155.1 standard is to eliminate injuries to personnel working with or around packaging and processing systems by establishing requirements for the design, construction, reconstruction, modification, installation, set-up, operation, and maintenance of packaging and processing machinery systems.  Responsibilities have been assigned to the supplier, the user, and the user personnel to implement this standard.

This standard guides packaging and processing machinery suppliers and users through a risk assessment process designed to ensure that reasonably foreseeable hazards are identified and corresponding risks are reduced to an acceptable level.  In this standard the terms “acceptable” and “tolerable” are used as synonyms.  Although engineers have long applied an informal risk assessment framework, this standard introduces a formal method to conduct and document the risk assessment process. 

ANSI/PMMI B155.1 identifies some preparations that need to be made before a risk assessment begins, and presents the basic risk assessment process in a step by step approach to assist in achieving this goal.

The outcome of completing the risk assessment process should be:

·     Packaging and processing machinery ready to ship, install, or use with risks reduced to an acceptable level;

·      Information for use and awareness means provided to address residual risk; and

·      Documenting the results of the risk assessment process.


The standard applies risk assessment, but does not replace good judgment and personal responsibility, as personnel skill, attitude, training, and experience are safety factors that should also be considered.

According to Bruce Main, president of design safety engineering, inc., and vice chair of the PMMI B155.1 Standard Committee, as well as a technical advisor to PMMI, the updated version adds some requirements for contract packers (co-packers) and co-manufacturers to address current practices and responsibilities. In addition, “we’ve updated some of the definitions, and we've added some requirements for processing, remote operations, and cybersecurity.”

The development committee for ANSI/PMMI B155.1 includes new contributors to provide deeper insights from machine builders, consumer packaged goods (CPG) manufacturers, and technology suppliers. And the document outlines responsibilities of each role. For machine builders, specifically, the updated standard clarifies the responsibility of the OEM and the end user.

It also addresses machinery as a service (MaaS), including equipment loaned or provided by a third party and located in a user facility, as well as mobile platforms, robots used for logistics, cleaning, and more. The document states that “Machinery as a service involves machinery or equipment that is in use in the user’s facility, but not owned by the user. In some instances, the user may be prohibited from operating, maintaining, or modifying the machinery.” That puts a lot of responsibility onto the machine builder, especially as it relates to cybersecurity and remote control functions.

To that end, cybersecurity is addressed in the standard, noting it should be considered as part of the overall machine risk assessment. And the document outlines a list of requirements if a machine can be remotely controlled.

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Within the standard it lists responsibilities for components suppliers, machine builders, and machine users, so if someone were to get hurt or there is a liability claim, the standard is used to determine if the machine itself is safe.

“There are new requirements that apply to OEMs, and they need to know what those requirements are as they go about building machines,” Main explained. “OEMs also need to inform their customers as to what the customer responsibilities are. For an OEM, if you are not staying up to date with these requirements and someone gets hurt, that will be part of the discussion in a legal case.”

The latest version of ANSI/PMMI B155.1 is expected to be approved in July. The first version of the standard was approved by PMMI membership on Sept. 17, 1972 and approved as an ANSI standard on Aug. 6, 1973, and has been revised in 1979, 1986, 1994, 2000, 2006, 2011, and 2016. 

The ANSI/PMMI B155.1 standard can be associated with the ISO “A-B-C level” structure. 

Type-A standards (basis standards) give basic concepts, principles for design, and general aspects that can be applied to machinery.

Type-B standards (generic safety standards) deal with one or more safety aspects or one or more types of safeguards that can be used across a wide range of machinery.

Type-C standards (machinery safety standards) deal with detailed safety requirements for a particular machine or group of machines.

This ANSI/PMMI B155.1 standard on general safety requirements common to packaging and processing machines is primarily an “A-level” standard in that it applies to a broad array of packaging and processing machines and contains very general requirements.  However, in many areas it also contains very specific requirements typical of a type-C standard.