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Machine guarding in plants and OSHA regulations

On Behalf of | May 23, 2019 | Workers' Compensation

Plant workers in New Jersey may be protected from hazardous machinery by a number of different types of guards. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration requires such equipment as portable power tools, shears, power presses and milling machines to have guards. Among the types of guards that protect workers are two-handed tripping devices and barrier guards.

Despite OSHA regulations, accidents still happen, and workers are still injured. A common reason for lack of guards is that they are sometimes removed when repairs are being done and never replaced. Fans are often outdated. Along with blades, they can harm a worker if unguarded. If a pulley snags a worker’s clothing, the worker could be yanked into machinery. To prevent these types of accidents, other safety measures in addition to guards include keeping machinery maintained, making sure there is a red emergency stop button, and ensuring that electrical equipment that could be a fire hazard is kept away from combustibles.

Power presses are considered particularly dangerous, and all employers are required to comply with OSHA’s safety regulations and training. Unsupervised press operators are supposed to be thoroughly trained. This training could last anywhere from a day to two weeks. Supervisors are responsible for being aware of hazards, making sure maintenance and repairs are done, and enforcing safety standards.

Most people who are injured on the job are eligible for workers’ compensation. Not all employers are knowledgeable or forthcoming about a worker’s rights to these benefits, and an injured employee may want to consult an attorney. The attorney may be able to explain the person’s rights, including what is considered retaliation, and assist in preparing paperwork. While a person is generally able to file for workers’ compensation regardless of who is at fault, it might be possible to take additional action if a non-employer third party is responsible.