OSHA’S MACHINE GUARDING RULES

The list of possible machinery-related injuries is long and bloody.  In fact, every year around 18,000 workers who oper­ate and maintain machinery suffer injuries, which include severed fingers and other limbs, crushed hands and arms, nasty cuts, and other injuries too horrible to mention. 

It’s not surprising that OSHA has a nine-­part standard on machinery and machine guarding (29 CFR 1910.211-219). The standard’s purpose is to protect machine operators and other employees in the work area from machine hazards by requiring, among other things, the use of effective machine guards and safety devices. 

According to the regulations, machine safeguards have to meet six basic re­quirements.  They must: 

1)       Prevent contact of hands, arms and/or any other part of a worker’s body with dangerous moving parts on the machine. 

2)       Be secured to the machine so that they can’t be easily removed or tampered with. 

3)       Be protected from falling objects.  For example a small tool dropped into a cycling machine could easily become a. projectile that could strike and injure the operator or someone else. 

4)       Create no new hazards, such as shear points, jagged edges, or unfinished surfaces that could cause lacerations. 

5)       Let workers perform the work comfortably and efficiently, without interference. 

6)       Allow safe lubrication without removing the guard, if possible. 

People vs. Machines 
Take precautions to prevent amputations 

Machines cut, shear, bend, punch, and have dangerous rotating parts and in-running nip points.  Against all those hazards and all that power, what chance do your fingers, hands, arms, and legs have when you operate machinery? 

The best chances you have to go home every day with all your fingers and toes are machine guards, safety devices, and safe work practices, which keep all your body parts safely out of reach of the danger. 

Here are examples of workers who failed to take machine hazards seriously: 

  • An employee working with drilling equipment got caught in the super-strong and super-sharp machinery.  His leg was cut off below the knee.
  • Another worker lost his right middle finger while cleaning near a rotating gear of a printing press.  Two-thirds of his finger was cut off when it was caught by the rotating press.
  • A food service employee decided to clean a meat slicer while the machine was on.  He had lifted the guard to expose the blade.  As he was cleaning the front of the slicer, his foot slipped on a piece of plastic wrap that was on the floor.  His body fell forward into the slicer and the tip of his right index finger was cut off.
  • A worker at a food processing plant was feeding crab through a ringer on the production line when his finger was caught in the machine.  He suffered a major cut to his finger, but he was glad that his finger wasn’t cut off.
  • A warehouse employee was watching boxes mount an elevator conveyor when he noticed glue buildup on the conveyor rollers.  He tried to scrape the glue off the rollers while the machine was still running.  His sleeve got caught, and his arm was pulled into the rollers.  He was relieved to escape with only a badly broken arm.

Don’t forget that amputations aren’t the only injuries associated with machinery. You could be badly burned or electrocuted, too.  So keep your guard up, and stay safe.  Don’t take risks with machinery. 

Reference: Business & Legal Reports, Inc.