Dangerous and Defective Machines
Injured by a dangerous machine? Contact a lawyer.
Moving machine parts have the potential for causing severe workplace injuries, such as crushed fingers or hands, amputations, burns, and blindness, just to name a few. Safeguards are essential for protecting workers from these needless and preventable injuries. Machine guarding and related machinery violations continuously rank among the top violations of worker safety. In fact, there were 3,050 federal citations issued in 1998 for dangerous machines. Mechanical power presses have also become an area of increasing concern- industries that have high amputation rates. Nailguns have also been particularly dangerous. Safeguards could have often protected workers from needless and preventable injuries.
Where Mechanical Hazards Occur
Dangerous moving parts in these three basic areas need safeguarding:
The point of operation: that point where work is performed on the material, such as cutting, shaping, boring, or forming of stock. Power transmission apparatus: all components of the mechanical system which transmit energy to the part of the machine performing the work. These components include flywheels, pulleys, belts, connecting rods, couplings, cams, spindles, chains, cranks, and gears. Other moving parts: all parts of the machine which move while the machine is working. These can include reciprocating, rotating, and transverse moving parts, as well as feed mechanisms and auxiliary parts of the machine.
Hazardous Mechanical Motions and Actions
A wide variety of mechanical motions and actions may present hazards to the worker. These can include the movement of rotating members, reciprocating arms, moving belts, meshing gears, cutting teeth, and any parts that impact or shear. These different types of hazardous mechanical motions and actions are basic to nearly all machines, and recognizing them is the first step toward protecting workers from the danger they present. The basic types of hazardous mechanical motions and actions are:
Rotating motion can be dangerous; even smooth, slowly rotating shafts can grip clothing, and through mere skin contact force an arm or hand into a dangerous position. Injuries due to contact with rotating parts can be severe.
Collars, couplings, cams, clutches, flywheels, shaft ends, spindles, and horizontal or vertical shafting are some examples of common rotating mechanisms which may be hazardous. The danger increases when bolts, nicks, abrasions, and projecting keys or set screws are exposed on rotating parts. In-running nip point hazards are caused by the rotating parts on machinery. There are three main types of in-running nips. Parts can rotate in opposite directions while their axes are parallel to each other. These parts may be in contact (producing a nip point) or in close proximity to each other. In the latter case the stock fed between the rolls produces the nip points. This danger is common on machinery with intermeshing gears, rolling mills, and calendars. Another nip point is created between rotating and tangentially moving parts. Some examples would be: the point of contact between a power transmission belt and its pulley, a chain and a sprocket, or a rack and pinion. Nip points can occur between rotating and fixed parts which create a shearing, crushing, or abrading action. Examples are: spoked handwheels or flywheels, screw conveyors, or the periphery of an abrasive wheel and an incorrectly adjusted work rest. Reciprocating motions may be hazardous because, during the back-and- forth or up-and-down motion, a worker may be struck by or caught between a moving and a stationary part. Transverse motion (movement in a straight, continuous line) creates a hazard because a worker may be struck or caught in a pinch or shear point by the moving part.
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