“Safety first” is a mantra that you’ll find in almost any workplace. Those in the manufacturing industry, especially, are constantly reminded of the importance of compliant Machine Guarding. Nevertheless, it’s important to be aware of the real-life disaster that can result from not adhering entirely to Machine Guarding standards.
Machine Guarding requirements are one of the most frequently cited issues by the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA), and they contribute to significant injuries of workers every year. More than 18,000 employees are reported to have suffered injuries, and more than 800 have died due to improper Machine Guarding.
The Cost of Inadequate Machine Guarding
Employees are a company’s most valuable resource, and the truth of the matter is: The consequences of missing the mark when it comes to safety can be costly in more ways than one. Unfortunately, incident after incident demonstrate the significant penalties that accompany the aftermath of a Machine Guarding compliance issue. Here are just a few recent examples.
Safeway Inc. | Penalty: $339,379
A milk packaging plant in Denver, Colorado, faces $339,379 in potential penalties for an incident in their facility. When one of their employees lost four fingers while operating a molding machine that lacked the proper safeguards, OSHA stepped in.
After a thorough investigation, OSHA found the company to have known that safety requirements had been ignored yet continued to operate as usual. One of those pitfalls was Machine Guarding issues which directly contributed to the employee loss. They were also found to have “inadequate numbers of locks to perform lockout/tagout and inadequate LOTO training.”
BCP Ingredients Inc. | Penalty: More Than $300,000
In Verona, Mississippi, a nutrition production plant faces over $300,000 in penalties due to safety citations. The company faces allegations of multiple safety hazards, from exposure to toxic substances to unsafe machine operation standards. Sources included electrical safety, fall, and toxic material hazards that put employees at risk.
One of the most impactful safety violations that the facility faced was its lack of proper Machine Guarding measures. Because it did not have the appropriate structures in place, the company facilitated injuries that resulted in amputations in some of its employees.
General Aluminum Manufacturing Co. | Penalty: $1.67 Million
After an investigation into the death of one of its employees, a Revenna, Ohio, company faces more than $1.6 million in penalties. A machine at General Aluminum Manufacturing Co. struck one of its employees in the head. Sources state that the company allowed employees to bypass Machine Guarding mechanisms within the facility.
Machine Guarding Safety Hazards and Harm Are Avoidable
To ensure that employees are protected, you need to have a compliant Machine Guarding process in place for your facility. We believe this should go without saying, however, evidence in this article alone should convey this value.
OSHA has set out specific requirements for the guarding measures that organizations must meet. Machine Guarding MUST:
- not create potential hazards
- be connected to the machine wherever possible
- prevent employee body parts from making contact with any dangerous parts of the machine
- not be able to be moved
- be made with durable materials that will withstand their environments
- allow for safe lubrication
Luckily, Machine Guarding is one of the core solutions WireCrafters provides manufacturers daily. General guarding and specifically the RapidGuard II product are our bread and butter. These solutions have been designed to make implementation simple. We’ve found that having the proper safety measures in place can even increase productivity as it lowers worker apprehensions about working with the machines!
Each year, employees are needlessly injured in the workplace because of avoidable Machine Guarding hazards. Often standards are foregone to protect profits, but it’s essential to understand that putting profits before people never pays off. So let us help you to create a custom program to facilitate the utmost safety within your organization.