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Machine Guarding Hazards and Safeguards

OSHA has implemented safeguards for machines to prevent injuries in the workplace. Many types of workplace machinery can cause severe injuries to workers including crushed limbs and fingers, burns, blindness, and total amputations. Machines with moving parts need to be safeguarded to prevent accidental injuries to the workers that operate them or work nearby.

It is important that all workers know the risks of working around machinery and that employers assure safeguards are in place. Recently, a Lindenhurst NY employer was issued 13 violations of safety standards after a worker lost his arm in a conveyor belt while shoveling sand. The company, Marly Building Materials, manufactures concrete blocks. They now face a fine of $50,000.

OSHA inspectors found that the conveyor belts were not safeguarded to prevent people from getting caught up in the machine. The employee lost his arm in an incident that could have been prevented had OSHA guidelines been followed by the employer. In addition to missing safety guards around machines, OSHA found that many of the workers were not properly trained in procedures dealing with inspecting and maintaining the conveyor belt that caused the injury or other machines.

Many injuries and nearly 800 deaths each year are caused by unsafe, unprotected machinery. Workers need to be properly trained to understand what safeguards should be in place, how to ensure they are in place, and how to handle the machines during operation. Employers need to train employees about the many hazards improper use of machinery can bring including injuries and death.

Depending on the industry and the types of machinery being used, employers need to familiarize themselves with OSHA laws regarding machine safeguards and the proper training for operating machines. Regular maintenance and inspections also needs to be done on each machine to ensure safeguards are still in place and in proper working order.

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