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Category: Safety Products & Services
Volume: 41
Issue: 5
Article No.: 5729

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SAFETY SOLUTIONS: Before You Purchase New Machinery
Our industry is all about tools and machinery and business owners often feel that acquiring the newest machinery is the solution to all of their problems. Is this true though? Buying new equipment can be a really challenging procedure, given all the different factors that should be taken into consideration. Thatís why, itís very important to weigh carefully the advantages and disadvantages.

Safety Issues

Before we move further, letís have a quick look at the different dangers that could appear on your work site due to equipment failures. First of all you should look at the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) standards for the type of machinery that you are deciding to purchase and use that standard as a checklist to ensure you are meeting the most up to date safety codes. If your company is fortunate to have a safety & health professional working for you, then you may want to take that person with you to the conference or other manufacturer locations when you are looking to purchase machinery. If you do not have a qualified machinery expert, then before spending your money to invest in a piece of equipment that may not meet the current standards, then you should consider contacting a consultant. My company Podojil & Associates, Inc. has been inspecting machinery and machinery bid specifications for 45 years. We would be more than happy to review your document or the manufacturer documents before you spend your money.

If you are purchasing a used piece of equipment for your manufacturing operations then that machinery should be thoroughly examined. We could divide the potential dangers into the following categories:

ĖTimeworn or damaged parts: A defective machine part can easily break while being used and result in the fatal injury of workers or in the best scenario in the serious damage of the machine per se.
-Electrical failures: Electrocution should be regarded as a common danger in construction, due to exposed power lines. Furthermore, electrical failures could be the reason for machinery to move uncontrollably.
-Safety deficiencies: Sometimes safety systems can fail and create various unexpected problems both to machinery and personnel. Burn accidents, severe cuts or crushing injuries could be unfortunately common elements on the list.
-Structural failures: Building and heavy machinery (e.g. heavy piece parts) can prove to be a deadly threat both for people and projects. Unbalanced or over-weighted equipment is never a good idea.

Pros of Buying New Equipment

When a company has a little extra cash left saved up, itís always a good idea to reinvest. There are numerous benefits that go along with owning the equipment you use and they can be narrowed down to the following five categories:

1. Staying up to date with technological change Itís no secret that using cutting edge technology can make your job much easier. The same applies to the woodworking or plastic fabricating operations where new equipment can offer endless possibilities and increase your potential. On top of that, being always informed about the latest technological achievements on the field can offer you a great help in being one step ahead of the competition.
2. Increasing productivity Newer equipment can boost production too. You have all the necessary machinery ready to roll at any point. This can offer you great flexibility and independence in terms of planning and eventually carrying through your manufacturing project.
3. Saving time on site Newer equipment means fewer damages and as a result less time dedicated to repairing stuff. In that way, you can minimize delays on the work site and keep all your projects running on time. Important boost of productivity once again!
4. Boosting safety As we already saw above, staying ahead of the safety, health or environmental risk should always be a priority. Once again, the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) National electrical codes and other safety standards should be reviewed before you purchase or even update your equipment. By using newly built equipment, you are reducing considerably the risk of any accidents taking place on site. Without a doubt, the only investment that is beyond any cost.
5. Keep Your Options Open: Every choice of equipment acquisition has its own advantages and drawbacks. What you have to do, in order to make sure that you are doing the best for your company is to get enough information for all the different possibilities and follow the safety standards that are written for your specific type of equipment.

After surveying equipment/machinery for the last 45 years, I am still amazed that machine manufacturers are not conducting their risk assessments to both national and international safety regulations of their machinery before selling it to you. I just finished conducting a machine guarding course for Arizona OSHA compliance officers and I can tell you the price of citations is increasing. Here is a sample of what is happening in the industry. Please take the time and look at these links:

If you have any questions, e-mail me at and I will be happy to help you with your safety needs.

For more information, click on the author biography at the top of the page.

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