SAFETY SOLUTIONS: General Machine Principles
I am so pleased to be bring you Safety Solutions in The Plastics Distributor and Fabricator Magazine. Educating workers can bring real benefits to your bottom line. My passion is Industrial Safety and Health. During my twenty-nine year career as a Safety and Health Professional, I have witnessed many unsafe conditions that lead to injured workers. In most instances, the root cause of the accidents lead back to education and training deficiencies. Education has proven to benefit employee morale leading to improved capacity to cope with change. I welcome your questions and stand ready to assist you in any way to make your business a safer working environment.
General Machine Principles
Safety professionals and engineers know that planning for safe procedures and equipment is the first step to reducing accidents on the job. It begins with the safety design of the job or machine. All machinery must be properly safeguarded according to the minimum standards set by the Federal Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA). These standards can be obtained from their web site located at www.osha.gov or can be purchased in hard copy from any government bookstore.
Each piece of machinery exhibits its own accident potential. To reduce the possibility of serious injury, employers must provide the worker with correctly guarded equipment that prevents the workers hands from coming into contact with the hazardous parts of the machine. Employers should also provide machine specific training on each type of machine in their shop and provide the operator and facility workers with the owners/operators manuals. Job safety and Health Analysis (JSA) should be developed to aid the operator in the proper set up and operation of the equipment. Information on developing a Job Safety & Health Analysis can be obtained by writing the National Safety Council.Employers have the legal duty to provide equipment that is free from recognized danger that is likely to cause death or serious physical harm to their employees. To provide this protection employers must have machines that meet Federal OSHA, and often State OSHA standards that may be based on the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), and the National Electrical Code (NEC).When providing safety to employees, employers should observe the following:
GENERAL SAFETY PRINCIPLES
- Maintain all machines so that, while running at full or idle speed and with the largest cutting tool attached, the machine is free from excessive noise or vibration.
- The machine is properly safeguarded according to the latest revisions of the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) for the specific type of machine that they are operating. Note: Many manufacturers of machinery including bench grinders, drill presses, metal, plastic and woodworking machinery, do not equip their machines with point of operation guarding. This type of guarding may be considered auxiliary equipment and must be purchased separately from the manufacturer. Also note that the guard or guarding device must be able to withstand the impact of the largest cutting tool, running at the highest speed without creating additional hazards.
- Machinery must be equipped with Power Outage Protection. In case of a power failure the machine must not be able to restart on its own when the power resumes. This requirement can be found under the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA 79) standards for machinery. Many manufacturers are still selling machinery with toggle switches installed. This type of switch may not provide protection in case of a power failure.
To check to see if your equipment is provided with this device, have someone start the machine and then shut off the machine using the main circuit breaker. After the machine starts to coast to a stop, turn the main disconnect (circuit breaker) back on. If the machine re-starts it lacks the proper controls.
- Emergency Stop Controls located on machinery must meet National Fire Protection Association (NFPA 79) standards. This standard requires that Emergency Stop Controls be located within easy reach of the operator without the operator having to leave the work area to shut off the power to the machine. The Emergency Stop Control must be distinguishable above all other controls and must be Red in color with a Yellow background.
- Each machine operated by an electric motor must be provided with positive means for locking for rendering the controls inoperative. All operators, set-up personnel, supervisors, and facility workers must be trained in lockout, tag-out, and try-out procedures. To just lock and tag out a machine without trying it out to ensure that the energy is dissipated has caused many serious injuries to workers. The companies written lockout program must be audited annually by someone other than the effected employees.
- Long coasting machines should be equipped with an electronic motor brake. This device can greatly reduce exposure at the point of operation.
By making these general safety principles part of your standard operating procedure, you will provide a safer work place for your employees which ultimately effects your bottom line. In our next article we will discuss the advantages and disadvantages of various types of machine guarding.
For more information, click on the Authors Biography at the top of this page.