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February 05, 2014
Metal stamping company cited for amputation hazards; Is your machinery properly guarded?

A complaint regarding a Cleveland metal stamping business has resulted in 21 citations and more than $60,000 in proposed fines. OSHA found the employer did not have adequate machine guarding in place.

Among the serious violations cited were several involving multiple mechanical power press operations. These included failure to guard the point of operation and failure to maintain two-hand press control in a fixed position. OSHA says the company’s presses were not equipped with control reliability or a brake monitoring system. Agency inspectors also identified problems with the employer’s hazard communication program and powered industrial vehicle training.

OSHA’s Cleveland area director said it was “unacceptable” that this business failed to ensure the placement of adequate guards. “Companies must implement safeguards, create a culture of safety, and provide workers with adequate training for the hazards that exist in their facilities,” he added.

Take these steps to avoid amputations

Amputation is one of the most severe and crippling types of injuries, often resulting in permanent disability. Employees who operate and maintain machinery suffer approximately 18,000 amputations, lacerations, crushing injuries, and abrasions and over 800 deaths per year.

Safe work practices, employee training, and administrative controls can help prevent and control amputation hazards. OSHA says safeguarding with protective equipment is the best way to control amputations caused by stationary machinery.

Guards provide physical barriers that prevent access to hazardous areas. They should be secure and strong, and workers should not be able to bypass, remove, or tamper with them.
Devices help prevent contact with points of operation and may replace or supplement guards. Devices can interrupt the normal cycle of the machine when the operator’s hands are at the point of operation, prevent the operator from reaching in, or withdraw the operator’s hands if they get too close.

The types of equipment most often associated with amputation include:

  • Mechanical power presses;
  • Power press brakes;
  • Powered and non-powered conveyors;
  • Printing presses;
  • Roll-forming and roll-bending machines;
  • Food slicers;
  • Meat grinders;
  • Band saws;
  • Drill presses;
  • Milling machines;
  • Shears, grinders, and slitters; and
  • Table and portable saws.
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