How to Prevent Workplace Machinery Accidents

The construction industry carries a significant risk of serious accidents in the workplace. Many of these workplace accidents that occur result from the use of heavy machinery. The following article will discuss some of the most common causes of workplace machinery accidents and will also provide some practical ways to prevent these types of accidents in the workplace.

What are some of the most common causes of workplace machinery accidents?

According to OSHA, the following are the most common causes of workplace accidents involving machinery:

  • Getting onto and off of machinery: When employees fail to ensure that their boots and gloves are in proper condition, they can be injured when they attempt to get onto or off of certain machinery, especially if they choose to jump off of this machinery.
  • Loading/unloading machinery: When employees need to load or unload heavy machinery, there is always an inherent risk that the machinery can crush or otherwise severely injure them if they are not handling the machinery properly and safely.
  • Crowded work areas: When the work areas that house various machinery are unnecessarily crowded by other employees, it can increase the potential of causing a machinery accident.
  • Machine swing radius: Machinery accidents can occur when an employee is injured as a result of being struck by a component of a machine during its normal course of operation.
  • Machines on a slope: Ideally, machines are supposed to be operated on level surfaces. As such, when machinery is on an uneven surface, it increases the potential for serious accidents to occur.
  • Overhead obstructions: Overhead and underground machinery hazards can cause serious accidents.
  • Machine backing: These types of accidents result when employees are transporting or otherwise using machinery and are not paying attention to what is behind them.
  • Machine upset: A machine upset (which describes a situation where a machine randomly malfunctions) can be extremely dangerous, especially if an employee is not wearing his seatbelt.

What are some tips for preventing workplace machinery accidents?

You can prevent some accidents involving workplace machinery by adhering to the following tips:

  • Make sure that you always wear personal protective equipment (such as goggles, safety shoes, and leather gloves) while dealing with heavy machinery
  • Avoid wearing jewelry, hair styles, or loose clothing that might get caught on machinery
  • Always keep your work area free of clutter and debris
  • Make sure you know how to use the machine safely before you operate it
  • Keep machines repaired, lubricated, and adjusted
  • Clean up excess machine lubricants
  • Clearly mark control switches and valves that control machines
  • Check machines for emergency stop switches; they should be located on or near the machine so the machine can be turned off quickly if a malfunction occurs
  • Make sure that you carefully lower yourself from machinery, rather than jumping off of it
  • Ensure that you have a spotter when lifting heavy machinery
  • Turn power off and remove key before working around or performing maintenance on any machines
  • Stay away from a machine’s moving parts
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