Machinery Safety
Click from Machinery and Machine Tool Safety to HOMEPAGE.


image from

Safety violations will continue to be a top priority for OSHA. This is especially true for companies that have had a previous accident. This is a huge deal because each year over 18,000 American workers are injured while using or doing maintenance on machinery. What kind of injuries? Amputations (cut off) of hand and fingers, crushed hands and fingers, abrasions, gouges, cuts, etc. Plus over 800 deaths! And these numbers have stopped declining. Why is this? Well, one reason is safety guarding. In 2016, 88 percent of machinery guarding citations were called "serious" and where the employer should have know that there was a substantial possibility of a worker being injured or killed. Machinery guarding standards are outlined by OSHA and ANSI (American National Standards Institute). They currently believe that half of all machine shops and fab shops currently have dangerously inadequate machinery guarding. Is your shop one of them?

Avoid losing an employee and avoid getting sued for huge sums of $! Because if an employee is injured at shop, they might never return to work and they and their family may be entitled to financial compensation.
Nine things you must do:

1. Check all your machines at least once a year to make sure that each one still has its original factory provided safety guards and emergency stop buttons that still function.
2. Find and replace all missing safety guards. If necessary, buy or fabricate a new one.
3. OSHA's number 1 machine safeguarding violation is for grinding machines. The grinding wheel constantly needs to be checked for cracks to avoid anyone being injured when a cracked grinding wheel shatters, which usually happens shortly after the grinder is turned on. The shield, the cover, the resting plate are all important devices that each serve a purpose to allow safe use of the grinding machine.
4. Make sure that older machines have automatic shutoff just like the newer machines. This is very important with machines for sheet metal rolling, plate rolling, tube bending and structural shape rolling. This means that when you step on the foot pedal the machine goes but when you release your foot the machine stops.
5. Replace old mechanical press brake machines and ironworker machines with new model hydraulic powered machines that are designed to automatically reverse back up once the foot pedal has been released. Old mechanical type machines that have a flywheel are nearly impossible to safely stop once the downstroke has been started.
6. Install safety light curtain guarding systems on each press brake machine that does not already have them.
7. Install your own custom made safety guards to protect operators that will be doing "repeat work" in which the path of the metal can be left open while the sides, top and bottom areas around the path of the metalwork can be shielded.
8. Also pay attention to preventing unexpected injuries from forklifts, cranes, hoists and other possibilities that are specific to your operation.
9. If your company has many employees, buy or rent a safety video that has re-enactments of actual common industrial accidents and have your shop employees watch the video and then have a discussion session afterwards.

* Older machines are not exempt from OSHA requirements and may need their safety guarding to be updated.
* Not all new machines are safe to use for the purpose you intend and may need additional guarding added.
* Visit the OSHA Machinery Guarding Webpage
to learn more about your responsibilities and how to follow through on those responsibilities.

Because Metalworking Machines can be very dangerous, which means they may cause injury or death if used carelessly or incorrectly: Buyers shall require employees to use all safety devices, guards and proper safe operating procedures as set forth in manuals and instruction sheets originally furnished by the manufacturer. Buyer shall not remove or modify any such device, guard or sign. It is Buyer's responsibility to provide all the means that may be necessary to effectively protect all their employees from serious bodily injury which otherwise may result from the method of particular use, operation, set-up or service of the equipment. It is Buyer's responsibility to provide to provide proper training to each employee using the machine or to use only employees that are sufficiently experienced in the use of such machine. It is the responsibility of Buyer to comply with any and all national and local codes including OSHA. If Buyer fails to comply with such provisions of this paragraph or the applicable standards or regulations aforementioned, Buyer shall indemnify and save AMERICAN MACHINE TOOLS COMPANY harmless from and against any and all claims, losses or damages arising there from. Those previous 2 sentences are very important to understand.

Because it is impossible for machinery suppliers to predict exactly how you are going to use the machine over the years, it is impossible for machinery suppliers to guard against every danger without ruining useful machine productivity, so you need to be responsible and take this seriously. OSHA reports that machinery users suffer 18,000 amputations, lacerations, crushing injuries, and abrasions. OSHA also reports over 800 machinery users are killed per year. Only you - can prevent accidents.

Common Sense: Now that you have read all of the above, it is time to think about this from a practical standpoint. There is no substitiute for using common sense. No amount of time saving is worth the risk of cutting off a finger or worse. And that is what will eventually happen if you take dangerous shortcuts. Dont remove the safety guards before using the machine. If you do take one off for some reason, put it back before you use the machine. Dont let distractions, laziness, being in a hurry, or your ego, get you injured.

Be smart: Always be on the lookout for possible safety hazards. Watch out for pinch points where your finger could get crushed or severed. It is difficult to go through life without a finger. It is hard to turn handles, play sports, type, etc. Women will think it looks gross. Watch out for moving parts. You dont want to be too close if you lose your balance or bump into something that pulls you in. Keep hands, fingers, hair and loose clothing away from moving parts.

Knowledge: Please visit the OSHA Machinery Safety website by clicking on the link shown above. It is worth the time to brush up on the safety precautions OSHA expects from every machine owner. If you dont know how to use a machine you purchased, hire someone who does. If you cant to afford to hire someone to use the machine for you, then temporarily hire someone to train you on how to properly use the machine. Dont try to learn by yourself. It is best for machinery users to go through a Machine Tool Apprenticeship.

Safety Guards: Safety devices such as Light Curtains are strongly recommended to prevent fingers and hands from getting crushed especially for predictable repeat usesf you buy a Brake Press machine, OSHA wants you to install a light curtain guarding system on it. If you are going to use a machine for a repeat operation, OSHA prefers that you use dual palm buttons if they can be reasonably accommodated, OSHA also wants you to figure out extra safety guards to reduce the danger from pinch points of the machine that your repeat part does not pass thru. This can take the form of a plexiglass/Lexan guard, metal mesh guard or electric light curtain. Visit the OSHA website for more info.

Remember: People have died or had hands cut off from past mistakes that happen in the blink of an eye. Dont let that happen to you, coworkers or your employees.

Click for American Machine Tools Homepage

American Machine Tools Corp.
5862 Northwest Hwy
Chicago IL 60631 USA

Phone: 773-334-5000
Fax: 773-442-0314

Click to email us

Terms and Conditions

Privacy Clause

Frequently Asked Questions
Copyright 2011-2024
American Machine Tools Corp.

All rights reserved
Information on this website is subject to change without notice.
Offers from American Machine Tools Corporation include include Terms and Conditions shown on our website.
Liability is strictly limited to those warranties of fitness for purpose and safety as provided by the manufacturer.
Products and Logos in this website are trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective companies or mark holders.