Protect Your Employees from Machine Injuries

Posted on 10/1/2013 by Joel Gregier

A Pennsylvania manufacturer faces a $61,600 fine for failing to have proper machine guarding on equipment, which led to a worker suffering a laceration injury. “Exposing workers to lacerations and possible amputation injuries by neglecting to ensure machine guarding is in place is unacceptable,” said OSHA Area Director Kim Nelson in Toledo. “Companies must be aware of the hazards that exist in their facilities and take all possible precautions to minimize the risk of injury.” (OSHA Press Release, 9/9/13)
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In general, any machine that poses mechanical or physical hazards will require “guards” to provide a barrier of protection for the employees using the machine. Each guarding device should be designed to prevent the employee from having any part of his or her body in the danger zone of the machinery. Employers are responsible for identifying machine guarding hazard as required at 29 CFR 1910, Subpart O.
General Requirements
The employer must assess the workplace and identify machinery that could cause injury to any employee. [29 CFR 1910.212] One or more of the following could create a hazard to the machine operator and employees in the area of the machine:
  • Point of operation
  • Rotating parts
  • In-going nip points
  • Flying chips and sparks
Point of operation employee safety
Point of Operation
The point of operation is the area on the machine where the work is being performed on the material itself. Examples include cutting, shaping, boring, and forming operations.
See image on the right for an example of a point of operation.
Rotating machine parts employee safetyRotating Parts
Machinery with rotating motion can grip an employee’s clothing or by contact pull the employee into the machinery. Examples of rotating parts include collars, couplings, cams, clutches, flywheels, shafts, spindles, and meshing gears.
See image on the right for an example of a rotating part.
In-going Nip Points
Nip point hazard employee safetyThese hazards are caused by rotating parts on machinery and are categorized into three types:
  1. Parts rotating in opposite directions (e.g., intermeshing gears, rolling mills, and calendars)
  2. Between rotating parts and tangentially moving parts (e.g., chain and sprocket, rack and pinion)
  3. Between rotating parts and fixed parts (e.g., spoked handwheels, screw conveyors, and grinding wheels)
See image on the right for an example of a nip point.
Flying sparks employee safetyFlying Chips and Sparks
These operations have the potential to send particles toward the employee, resulting in burns, cuts, and other injuries. Examples include grinding, welding, sawing, and cutting operations.
See image on the right for an example of flying sparks.
Lion Technology offers convenient, easy-to-use OSHA online training available 24/7 to meet a number of training standards under 29 CFR, including the 10 Hour OSHA General Industry Online Course.

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