Machinery and Equipment: beware these mechanisms

Machinery and equipment includes hand tools, especially power driven devices. Saws present obvious hazards. Production equipment tends to be heavily guarded by the manufacturer. But, to be extra cautious, inspect all devices for the following hazards:

  1. Rotating shafts. On larger machines, like lathes, these hazards can grab hands or clothing and pull body parts into the mechanism. Even a hand held power drill leads to carpel tunnel syndrome when tightening screws repetitively. Look for any accidental access to or repetitive use of rotating shaft mechanisms. Make the areas around larger shafts a no loitering zone.

  2. Worm mechanisms. This gear arrangement has the advantage of only moving the drive gear forward, making a great breaking system. The disadvantage is once a finger or hand is pinched, extraction is difficult without further damage. For this reason, the worm gear needs extensive guarding to avoid this injury.

  3. Cutting mechanisms. Usually guarded satisfactorily for the rips or crosscuts. Injuries frequently occur on angular cuts which prevent the guard from functioning as designed. Provide the proper tool for the job, or use pre-cut materials.

  4. Nip points. These hazards involve two rollers such as the process of paper manufacturing or coating. Crush injuries occur when clothing or body parts get caught in the pinch. Keep employees distant from the rollers. During maintenance lock out and tag these machines. Only the lead mechanic can turn machinery back on and into service.

  5. Forming, bending and impact. Generally, the suggestions for cutting machines apply. Keep employees clear of these machines while operations are on-going.

Common sense and simply avoiding contact with these machines while in operation goes a long way towards safety. Use visual cues to establish safe distances from machinery. Give the operator authority to keep people out of that space. Run safe.

For any mobile equipment, nobody rides without training and seat belts.

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