The Plastics Distributor and Fabricator - Your Industry Magazine
The Plastics Distributor and Fabricator, Your Industry Magazine
Plastic Spacer
News Features Series Articles Columns
Plastic Spacer
Return Home
Article Keyword Search
Author Biography
Eye Safety & Safety Glasses (Jan/Feb-24)
Protecting Employees When Performing Machine Operations (Nov/Dec-23)
Protecting Students from Machine Hazards (Jul/Aug-23)
Electrical Safety (May/Jun-23)
Machine Guarding (Jan/Feb-23)
Have We Learned Anything About Safety Over the Last Fifty Years? (Nov/Dec-22)
OSHA Annouces 2021 Top 10 Frequently Cited Standards (Sep/Oct-22)
Have You Conducted Your Periodic Lockout & Tagout Audit? (Jan/Feb-22)
Workplace Violence (Jul/Aug-21)
Do You or Your Supervisors Really Care About Worker Safety? (May/Jun-21)
Creating A Safety Culture (Nov/Dec-20)
Before You Purchase New Machinery (Sep/Oct-20)
Do You or Your Supervisors Really Care About Worker Safety? (May/Jun-20)
OSHA Issues Interim Guidance to Help Prevent Worker Exposure to Coronavirus (COVID-19) (Mar/Apr-20)
Have You Recently Conducted Your Required Safety & Health Program Audits? (Nov/Dec-19)
Does OSHA Cite Employers Equally? (May/Jun-19)
Are You Ready For The New Year? (Mar/Apr-19)
Creating a Safety Culture Means Staying Informed (Nov/Dec-18)
Safe Lifting Techniques (Sep/Oct-18)
Are Your Machines Safe to Operate? (Jul/Aug-18)
Do You Know How Old Your Tires Really Are? (Jan/Feb-18)
Risk Assessment & Premise Liability Insurance (Nov/Dec-17)
Forklift Safety – You Can Save A Life Today (Sep/Oct-17)
Protect Your Employees from Heat Stress Related Injuries (Jul/Aug-17)
Lockout-Tagout from a Manager’s Perspective (May/Jun-17)
Do Your Employees Really Know How to Use Personal Protective Equipment? (Mar/Apr-17)
OSHA & Lockout/Tagout (Nov/Dec-16)
OSHA Increases Their Penalties Towards Employers (Jul/Aug-16)
Do You Know What Your Experience Modification Rate Is? (May/Jun-16)
Machine Safety (Sep/Oct-15)
Lockout, Tagout & Tryout – Are You in Compliance? (Jul/Aug-15)
Forklift Safety Practices (May/Jun-15)
Using the Right Power Saw to Cut Plastic Materials (Mar/Apr-15)
OSHA & Machine Safeguarding (Jan/Feb-15)
Ergonomics (Sep/Oct-14)
Respiratory Protection . . . Does Your Program Protect? (May/Jun-14)
First Aid Program (Mar/Apr-14)
Working with Composite Materials Safely and Preventing Dermatitis (Jan/Feb-14)
Preventing Winter Slips, Trips and Falls (Nov/Dec-13)
The Globally Harmonized System for Hazard Communication – Are You Ready For It? (Sep/Oct-13)
Safety & New Employee Orientation (Jul/Aug-13)
Liquefied Petroleum Gas Safety (May/Jun-13)
Posting of OSHA Notices (Jan/Feb-13)
Staying Safe This Winter (Nov/Dec-12)
Personal Protection - Storage, Maintenance and Care (Sep/Oct-12)
Machine Safeguarding (Jul/Aug-12)
Is Your Lockout & Tagout Program Working? (May/Jun-12)
Getting Familiar with OSHA (Mar/Apr-12)
Is Your Piping Systems Properly Marked? (Jan/Feb-12)
Accident Prevention, Does Your Company Have An Effective Program? (Nov/Dec-11)
Defining FR – Flame Resistant Fabrics (Jul/Aug-11)
OSHA's Flammable & Combustible Liquids (May/Jun-11)
Safety & Health Program Check-up (Jan/Feb-11)
OSHA Is My Friend (Nov/Dec-10)
OSHA Standard for Control of Hazardous Energy Sources? (Sep/Oct-10)
Lockout/Tagout Program (Jul/Aug-10)
Safe Handling of Compressed Gas Cylinders (May/Jun-10)
What You Should Know about OSHA and Plastic Working Machinery (Mar/Apr-10)
Fasten Those Forklift Seat Belts (Jan/Feb-10)
My Back Hurts (Nov/Dec-09)
Fall Protection Program (Sep/Oct-09)
Accident Prevention & Investigation (Jul/Aug-09)
OSHA & Machine Safeguarding (May/Jun-09)
Carbon Monoxide Hazards (Mar/Apr-09)
OSHA Electrical Safety and Training (Jan/Feb-09)
Free Forklift ANSI Standards (Nov/Dec-08)
Worksite Fire Emergencies (Sep/Oct-08)
Machine Safety (Jul/Aug-08)
Ladder Safety (May/Jun-08)
Is Your Company on OSHA's Hit List?
OSHA Notifies Workplaces with High Injury and Illness Rates (Mar/Apr-08)
Safety Means . . . Never Having to Say You're Sorry (Jan/Feb-08)
Flammables and Combustible Liquids (Nov/Dec-07)
Designing-In Safety NOT Retrofitting Safety (Sep/Oct-07)
Back Safety and Lifting (Jul/Aug-07)
Machine Guarding (May/Jun-07)
Your Hearing Keep it for a Lifetime (Mar/Apr-07)
Light Up the Holidays the Safe Way (Nov/Dec-06)
Would You Risk Your Employee's Life? (Sep/Oct-06)
How to Control Workers' Compensation Costs (Jul/Aug-06)
Compliance with 70E Electrical Standards (May/Jun-06)
OSHA Is on the Move (Mar/Apr-06)
Workplace Violence (Jan/Feb-06)
The Aging Workforce (Nov/Dec-05)
The Safety Paradox (Sep/Oct-05)
Machine Guarding (Jul/Aug-05)
Effective Risk Management (May/Jun-05)
Safety Is Everyone's Business (Mar/Apr-05)
New Year's Resolution Safety (Jan/Feb-05)
Safe Driving (Nov/Dec-04)
Terror In The Skies Revisited (Sep/Oct-04)
How They Got Hurt (Jul/Aug-04)
In-Plant Air Monitoring & Analysis (May/Jun-04)
Safety on the Job and Complying with the Americans With Disabilities Act (Mar/Apr-04)
Link to Article Archive (Jan/Feb-04)
A Supervisor's Duty (Nov/Dec-03)
Machine Safety – Are Your Machines Safe to Operate? (Sep/Oct-03)
Summer is Here (Jul/Aug-03)
Working Safely On Powered Industrial Trucks (Forklifts) (May/Jun-03)
Does Your Safety and Health Workplace Program Contain All of These Elements? (Mar/Apr-03)
Methylene Chloride (Jan/Feb-03)
Safety Signs & Labels - Does Your Facility Comply? (Nov/Dec-02)
Indoor Air Quality (Sep/Oct-02)
When OSHA Arrives (Jul/Aug-02)
Facts About the Occupation Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) (May/Jun-02)
Workplace Fire Safety (Mar/Apr-02)
OSHA 300 Form (Jan/Feb-02)
Preparing for Disaster (Nov/Dec-01)
How Much is a Life Worth? (Sep/Oct-01)
Material Handling Programs (Jul/Aug-01)
It's Up To You To Protect Your Skin (May/Jun-01)
When You’ve Been Handed the Responsibility for Safety (Mar/Apr-01)
A Fresh Look at Machine Safeguarding (Jan/Feb-01)
Safe Work Habits (Nov/Dec-00)
The Importance of Material Safety Data Sheets (Sep/Oct-00)
Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response (Jul/Aug-00)
Lockout/Tagout Program (May/Jun-00)
OSHA Violations, Citations and Penalties for 1998 (Mar/Apr-00)
Erogonomics and Machinery Safeguarding (Jan/Feb-00)
General Machine Principles (Nov/Dec-99)
Select issue:

SAFETY SOLUTIONS: General Machine Principles

I am so pleased to be bring you Safety Solutions in The Plastics Distributor and Fabricator Magazine. Educating workers can bring real benefits to your bottom line. My passion is Industrial Safety and Health. During my twenty-nine year career as a Safety and Health Professional, I have witnessed many unsafe conditions that lead to injured workers. In most instances, the root cause of the accidents lead back to education and training deficiencies. Education has proven to benefit employee morale leading to improved capacity to cope with change. I welcome your questions and stand ready to assist you in any way to make your business a safer working environment.

General Machine Principles

Safety professionals and engineers know that planning for safe procedures and equipment is the first step to reducing accidents on the job. It begins with the safety design of the job or machine. All machinery must be properly safeguarded according to the minimum standards set by the Federal Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA). These standards can be obtained from their web site located at or can be purchased in hard copy from any government bookstore.

Each piece of machinery exhibits its own accident potential. To reduce the possibility of serious injury, employers must provide the worker with correctly guarded equipment that prevents the workers hands from coming into contact with the hazardous parts of the machine. Employers should also provide machine specific training on each type of machine in their shop and provide the operator and facility workers with the owners/operators manuals. Job safety and Health Analysis (JSA) should be developed to aid the operator in the proper set up and operation of the equipment. Information on developing a Job Safety & Health Analysis can be obtained by writing the National Safety Council.Employers have the legal duty to provide equipment that is free from recognized danger that is likely to cause death or serious physical harm to their employees. To provide this protection employers must have machines that meet Federal OSHA, and often State OSHA standards that may be based on the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), and the National Electrical Code (NEC).When providing safety to employees, employers should observe the following:


  • Maintain all machines so that, while running at full or idle speed and with the largest cutting tool attached, the machine is free from excessive noise or vibration.
  • The machine is properly safeguarded according to the latest revisions of the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) for the specific type of machine that they are operating. Note: Many manufacturers of machinery including bench grinders, drill presses, metal, plastic and woodworking machinery, do not equip their machines with point of operation guarding. This type of guarding may be considered auxiliary equipment and must be purchased separately from the manufacturer. Also note that the guard or guarding device must be able to withstand the impact of the largest cutting tool, running at the highest speed without creating additional hazards.
  • Machinery must be equipped with Power Outage Protection. In case of a power failure the machine must not be able to restart on its own when the power resumes. This requirement can be found under the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA 79) standards for machinery. Many manufacturers are still selling machinery with toggle switches installed. This type of switch may not provide protection in case of a power failure.

To check to see if your equipment is provided with this device, have someone start the machine and then shut off the machine using the main circuit breaker. After the machine starts to coast to a stop, turn the main disconnect (circuit breaker) back on. If the machine re-starts it lacks the proper controls.

  • Emergency Stop Controls located on machinery must meet National Fire Protection Association (NFPA 79) standards. This standard requires that Emergency Stop Controls be located within easy reach of the operator without the operator having to leave the work area to shut off the power to the machine. The Emergency Stop Control must be distinguishable above all other controls and must be Red in color with a Yellow background.
  • Each machine operated by an electric motor must be provided with positive means for locking for rendering the controls inoperative. All operators, set-up personnel, supervisors, and facility workers must be trained in lockout, tag-out, and try-out procedures. To just lock and tag out a machine without trying it out to ensure that the energy is dissipated has caused many serious injuries to workers. The companies written lockout program must be audited annually by someone other than the effected employees.
  • Long coasting machines should be equipped with an electronic motor brake. This device can greatly reduce exposure at the point of operation.

By making these general safety principles part of your standard operating procedure, you will provide a safer work place for your employees which ultimately effects your bottom line. In our next article we will discuss the advantages and disadvantages of various types of machine guarding.

For more information, click on the Authors Biography at the top of this page.

Back To Top
Plastic Spacer

Copyright © 2024
Plastics Distributor® & Fabricator Magazine
P.O. Box 669
LaGrange, Illinois 60525-0669
All Rights Reserved.
Header Image courtesy of Nylatech, Inc.

Phone: (708) 588-1845
Fax: (708) 588-1846
Email Us