Protecting Workers with Machine GuardingMoving parts on machinery can be dangerous to workers. Equipment such as conveyor belts can create “pinch points” or “nip points.” They can cause serious injuries such as crushed or amputated fingers, crushed hands, and even burns or blindness. Contractors and owners should take the necessary steps to protect workers from these severe injuries and eliminate any hazards. Machine guarding can go a long way toward protecting workers.

What is a Pinch Point?

A pinch point is any point in machinery at which it is possible for a part of a person’s body to be caught between the moving parts or between a moving part and a stationary part of a machine. Pinch points can cause amputations and crush injuries. Burns and blindness can also occur if debris is stuck in the pinch point causing sparks and flying chips.

Machine Guarding

Machine guarding is a safety feature that can be used around equipment thatprevents contact between body parts and pinch points and can control hazards such as sparks and debris coming off the machine. The Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) requires the use of machine guards in their standards.
Manufacturers are in the best position to determine what safety features are necessary, and they are under a duty to sell products that are safe to use. Many hazards are not obvious, and manufacturers, who have expertise and training to identify dangers and design out hazards, must take steps to ensure their products are safe. This includes determining what guarding is necessary and ensuring products are safe at the time of sale.
If a business purchases a machine that does not contain a machine guard, it should make sure to install one. The manufacturer of the machine may have recommendations on types of machine guards to use and have information on how to ensure the machine guarding is appropriately installed. Businesses should also make sure that machine guarding is well-secured and that workers are unable to go around or bypass the guarding. Machine guarding should also be regularly inspected to ensure that it is still doing its job.
In addition to installing proper machine guarding, employers and contractors should also ensure that the habits of workers are taken into account. Training and signage regarding the use of machine guarding can help workers understand the importance of the guarding. Workers should also be trained on how to stop a machine in the case of a pinch point emergency. In addition, workers should not be allowed to use any machinery that does not contain a machine guard and should be cautioned against any attempts to bypass the guarding.
Contractors and employers who fail to use machine guarding properly should be held liable for any injuries that occur as a result. If you’ve been injured by machinery, you should contact an experienced attorney to evaluate your case. At Bonina & Bonina, P.C., we have over 50 years of experience helping injured New Yorkers. Contact us online or call us at 1-888-MEDLAW1 to schedule your free consultation. Home and hospital visits are available. Se habla español.