ASSE Practice Specialty Interview with Todd Ravazza & Michael Coleman


Since its release, the Packaging Machinery Manufacturers Institute’s (PMMI) newly revised standard, “Safety Requirements for Packaging Machinery and Packaging-Related Converting Machinery” (ANSI/PMMI B155.1-2006), has generated much interest among safety, health and environmental (SH&E) professionals in the manufacturing and risk management/insurance industries, and the standard is expected to have a lasting impact on the SH&E profession.

ASSE Manufacturing Branch Co-Chairs, Todd Ravazza and Michael Coleman, recognize the standard’s potential and openly support its use.

Ravazza, Director of Safety for Air Systems Inc. in San Jose, California, is responsible for over 300 employees at multiple job sites. “By reducing risk to installers, technicians, operators and other affected personnel, the B155.1 standard can reduce injuries from equipment and from ergonomic, maintenance and installation/decommissioning activities,” he says.

Coleman, Safety Manager for Rockline Industries’ Arkansas Division, believes the standard will improve safety for packaging machinery operators but recommends that packaging equipment manufacturers first guide their equipment users in the modifications to make and also change task descriptions for equipment operators. “Any new standard takes time to implement as affected users and equipment manufacturers evaluate how to apply it to their situation,” Coleman explains.

Ravazza and Coleman both see the advantages of a standard that correlates with U.S., European and international requirements. “We purchase equipment from around the world, so harmonized standards assure that the equipment we purchase complies with accepted safety standards,” says Coleman.

Ravazza points out that alignment of manufacturers’ standards and their goods provides “consistency across different industries and packaging equipment, thus enhancing hazard assessment, risk reduction and workplace/employee safety.”

They also favor a standard that allows suppliers and users to use the same risk assessment process to identify hazards and to assess and reduce risks. Ravazza believes that when “manufacturers and end users use the same or a closely aligned procedure for risk assessment and reduction, they can bolster and protect the safety of operators, technicians and setup/decommission personnel. It can also help identify different hazards, as manufacturers and end users often see things from different perspectives.”

Coleman feels that this approach will help suppliers “correct safety deficiencies before equipment is delivered to end users and will reduce conflicts between users and manufacturers who use different risk assessment procedures.”

While Rockline Industries has not formally adopted the B155.1 standard, they already use many of the procedures it recommends. “W e communicate specific safety requirements to equipment manufacturers during the bid process,” says Coleman. “Our engineers perform a final check of the equipment at the manufacturer’s plant before it is shipped to us. We also conduct Pre- and Post-Use Safety Assessments on equipment put into service. We require manufacturer participation in the employee training process, and we now assess our current procedures in light of the B155.1 and make changes where appropriate,” he adds.

Coleman also foresees a use for the B155.1 standard in the retail industry. “Some retailers purchase goods in bulk and then repackage them into smaller units for their customers, so the B155.1 standard might apply in their case,” he notes.

To promote the revised B155.1 standard, the Manufacturing Branch has posted information on the Branch’s website homepage, and it will address the standard in the next issue of its electronic newsletter, News Made for You. In addition, the Branch encourages its members to submit their feedback on the standard.


Both Ravazza and Coleman believe that voluntary consensus standards developed by industry groups such as PMMI are of great benefit to the manufacturing industry because they improve employee and machinery safety through consistent hazard assessment and risk reduction.

They also suggest that those manufacturers who wish to incorporate the B155.1 standard into their safety practices study it carefully and seek assistance from packaging equipment manufacturers. Ravazza urges personnel with management, implementation or oversight responsibilities to be “well-versed in the B155.1 standard to thoroughly understand its requirements and to train all affected personnel to the expectations set by management and/or the standard.” “Plan detailed goals and phases ahead of time and work closely with vendors who also use the standard,” he advises.

“Successful implementation of this standard requires a measured and comprehensive approach,” concludes Coleman.

Todd Ravazza

Todd Ravazza is Director of Safety for Air Systems Inc. (ASI), a specialty mechanical contractor in San Jose, California. In this position, he oversees all aspects of SH&E for ASI’s 350 employees. He is also Co-Chair of ASSE’s Manufacturing Branch.

Prior to ASI, Ravazza was the Production Department Safety and Environmental Manager for the San Francisco Chronicle with oversight of three printing plants across the region and over 1,000 employees. He also worked as a Senior Consultant and Senior Trainer for Safety Compliance Management in San Ramon, California.

Ravazza has practiced in the SH&E profession for the last 15 years, and he holds several certifications from the State of California, including Hazardous Materials Outreach Instructor and Fall Protection and Construction Rolling Equipment/Forklift Instructor.

Michael Coleman

Michael Coleman is Safety Manager for Rockline Industries in Springdale, Arkansas, where he has worked since 1992. Rockline Industries is the largest private-label and contract wet wipe manufacturer in the United States.

Coleman served two terms as President of ASSE’s Arkansas Chapter, and he currently serves as the chapter’s National Delegate and Membership Chair. He is also Co-Chair of ASSE’s Manufacturing Branch. From 2004-2006, he served on the Development Teams for ASSE’s National Leadership Conference.

Coleman earned his Advanced Safety Certification from the National Safety Council in 1991, and he is designated as an Outreach Instructor for OSHA 10- and 30-hour General Industry Courses. He is also an Approved Professional Safety Source by the Arkansas Workers’ Compensation Commission-Hazardous Employer Division. In addition, he has taught various leadership seminars for ASSE as well as “Rock’em-Sock’em Training” for the 2004 Arkansas Safety Conference.

He is a past Chair of the Northwest Arkansas Safety and Health Advisory Council and a Licensed Practical Nurse in Arkansas. He has worked in hospital, clinic and occupational health settings, and he is Founder and past-President of the Northwest Arkansas Occupational Health Nurses Association.

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