SAFETY SOLUTIONS: Machine Safeguarding
Are you going to a national machine/equipment
trade show this year? Are you planning to purchase
a new piece of machinery? If so, you should
be aware that the machine that you are purchasing, if built
in another country other than the United States, may not
meet the current OSHA standards. Many pieces of equipment
that are manufactured in other countries such as
China, Taiwan, or elsewhere may be on the Consumers
Product Safety Commissions (CPSC) website.
Today, you can still attend new machinery shows and find
machinery that does not meet the basic intent of the OSHA
standards. Designing machine safety also has product liability
implications. A product liability Òstate of the art designÓ is
established by case law and social expectations that demand
a high level of safety for the users and bystanders. If a
machine is defective and its use results in injury, the injured
party may seek compensation through product liability.
CPSC is charged with protecting the public from unreasonable
risks of injury or death associated with the use of
the thousands of consumer.
Guarding of machinery is required to prevent injury to the
operator and other people in the machine area. It is presumed
that machine designers strive to produce machinery,
which will perform the intended function without damage to
itself and without causing injury to the operator.
Today, many well known machine manufacturers still
fabricate and sell their equipment without the necessary
safeguards and electrical controls required by OSHA,
national consensus standards and various safety regulations
to protect people from hazards not associated with
the point of operation or other machine hazards.
Would you want to purchase their equipment for your family,
students or employees to use without it being equipped
with the proper safety equipment? Would you like to be cited
by OSHA and penalized for not having the proper safeguarding
equipment that is required to be installed by the manufacturer?
Well, chances are, you are at risk for this potential
everyday. Today, many of these hazards are missed or overlooked by most inspectors and they end up in your shop.
So before you buy your new machine, please visit the
Consumer Product Safety Commissions website at
www.CPSC.gov and its lists products that are under recall.
Unless someone knows of this important website, owners
of various pieces of equipment may never hear of these
recalls. For example, in December the Consumer Product
Safety Commission listed a radial arm saw that was
recalled because the blade guard did not fully cover the
lower blade. The recall stated ÒIn cooperation with the U.S.
Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), Emerson
Tool Co., of St. Louis, Mo., is recalling about 3.7 million
Craftsman¨ radial arm saws for repair. These radial arm
saws were sold without a guard that covers the entire
blade. Consumers have come into contact with the blade or
have been hit by pieces of wood kicked back by the saws,
resulting in severe injuriesÓ. Did OSHA cite any business
owner for this hazard? Was it a fair citation? The owner
presumed they had purchased a safe piece of equipment.
Does the machine or product have to be a large
machine? No, the CPSC issued a recall of a paper shredder.
Their web site listed the following information Last
year I served as an expert witness on this last machine
issue where two employees had their hands amputated by
a not properly guarded paper-shredding machine.
If you need help with your machinery or have a question
about OSHA, please give us a call or e-mail me and I will
research the issue for you.
For more information, click on the author biography at the top of the page.