Machinery Safety and the Benefits of Prevention

machinery2One of the largest OSHA penalties was filed against a company last month, to the tune of $3.4 million, for its failure to disconnect machinery from a power supply, prevent sudden movement before maintenance and failure to proper training for workers to operate machinery safely.

OSHA found that the company did not take the necessary steps to protect its workers from being injured by moving machine parts. The agency also found multiple electrical safety violations including lack of personal protective equipment, workers exposed to “live” electrical parts, and use of damaged equipment. These types of violations are among the most frequently cited by OSHA and often result in death or permanent disability.

OSHA’s General Requirements: [29 CFR 1910.212(a)(2)] specifies that safeguards meet the following minimum standards:

  • Prevent contact: The safeguard must prevent hands, arms, and any other part of a worker’s body from making contact with dangerous moving parts. A good safeguarding system eliminates the possibility of the operator or another worker placing parts of their bodies near hazardous moving parts.
  • Secure: Workers should not be able to easily remove or tamper with the safeguard, because a safeguard that can easily be made ineffective is no safeguard at all. Guards and safety devices should be made of durable material that will withstand the conditions of normal use. They must firmly be secured to the machine.
  • Protect from falling objects: The safeguard should ensure that no objects can fall into moving parts. A small tool which is dropped into a cycling machine could easily become a projectile that could strike and injure someone.
  • Create no new hazards: A safeguard defeats its own purpose if it creates a hazard of its own such as a shear point, a jagged edge, or an unfinished surface which can cause a laceration. The edges of guards. for instance, should be rolled or bolted in such a way that they eliminate sharp edges.
  • Create no interference: Any safeguard which impedes a worker from performing the job quickly and comfortably might soon be overridden or disregarded. Proper safeguarding can actually enhance efficiency as it can relieve the worker’s apprehensions about injury.
  • Allow safe lubrication: If possible, one should be able to lubricate the machine without removing the safeguards. Locating oil reservoirs outside the guard, with a line leading to the lubrication point, will reduce the need for the operator or maintenance worker to enter the hazardous area.

Knowing the basics and hazards of machinery safety goes a long way to preventing accidents. For these and other construction safety tips, contact our offices at Diversified Safety Services.

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Nina McGinley

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