Machine safety tips to prevent plant injuries

Machinery can increase production with less labor, but heavy machinery also presents safety hazards and workers must be fully trained and aware of the machine operations to avoid injuries


Machinery in the workplace provides benefits of increased production and less labor.ff Maree is the Product Specialist at Eaton Filtration Online, a leading online supplier of Eaton filtration products for a wide range of liquid handling and filtration needs. Courtesy: Eaton Heavy machinery also presents safety hazards and workers must be fully trained and aware of the machine operations to avoid injuries. There are several safety tips to follow to help prevent accidents in manufacturing plants.

Never remove machine guards

Machinery guards come in many types, but they are all designed to protect the operator. Guards prevent debris and sparks from flying out of the equipment. Barriers are also designed to prevent a worker from coming into contact with cutting tools or getting trapped in moving parts.

The only time guards can be removed safely is when the machinery is taken out of service for maintenance or repairs. This work must be done by trained, authorized personnel. Workers must report any damage to barrier systems and the equipment must not be used until the guard is inspected or replaced.

Accidents frequently occur when a worker thinks a job will only take a second and bypasses the barrier system. Injuries also come from employees reaching around a guard to dislodge a jam in the machinery. Full training is necessary to prevent these kinds of accidents.

Use Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

Even with machinery guards, many operations require the use of personal safety equipment. Common equipment for most manufacturing plants includes safety glasses, gloves and closed-toe shoes. Full wrap goggles give the best protection, as this style eliminates the entry of debris through the side of the glasses.

Gloves should fit well, but not too snugly. Loose gloves can become caught in equipment. Cut-resistant gloves should be utilized by anyone working around cutting equipment or sharp edges. Workers must be reminded the cut-resistant gloves only reduce the chance for injury; they do not completely prevent it.

Proper footwear is required for a couple of reasons. Workers need to protect their feet from dropped or falling objects. Slip-resistant soles reduce the likelihood of accident falls in wet or slippery locations. Job specific PPE must be used when required. These items can include face shields for welding operations or breathing masks for working with airborne hazards.

Proper training

All workers must be properly trained on any plant equipment before they start operating it. All machinery has different safety features and techniques for operation. No employee should ever be allowed to operate equipment without instruction. The person providing the training should assess the worker’s skills and make recommendations for any modifications needed to make the process easier and safer for the trainee.

Awareness of surroundings

Safety requires being aware of the surroundings. Workers must know what other equipment or machinery is operating in the immediate area. Awareness also means the workers should never operate equipment under the influence of alcohol or other substances than can delay reaction times or interfere with clarity.

In addition to working on their own machinery safely, employees must be discouraged from distracting other workers during operations. Talking to, or otherwise distracting an operator, can quickly lead to an accident.

Forklift paths should be marked and workers should avoid these paths while walking through a plant. Lift operators may not always see an individual if their line of sight is blocked. Workers must avoid the use of headphones while walking, as these can interfere with their ability to hear an equipment warning. While workers can have fun while working, horseplay should never be tolerated.

Follow maintenance schedules

Plant machinery has maintenance schedules for a reason. By following the required procedures, equipment will be kept operating at peak performance. When servicing is not completed correctly, machinery can overheat due to lack of lubrication, or suddenly jam due to a broken belt or drive gear.

If filtration equipment is in use, the filters must be periodically inspected and replaced. Blocked filters will not perform properly and can lead to undesirable exposure to workers or environment. Blades and bits must be sharp to provide clean and safe cutting. When cutting equipment dulls, it is more likely to snag than cut through the material.

Accidents are expensive in many ways, by following basic safety guidelines, you can make sure that your employees avoid injuries.

Jeff Maree is the Product Specialist at Eaton Filtration Online a leading online supplier of Eaton filtration products for a wide range of liquid handling and filtration needs. Jeff assists plant managers and makes sure they are getting the correct product to keep their machines and workers safe. 

Anonymous , 08/21/14 04:34 AM:

Machine safety tips to prevent plant injuries--
The Top Plant program honors outstanding manufacturing facilities in North America. View the 2015 Top Plant.
The Product of the Year program recognizes products newly released in the manufacturing industries.
The Engineering Leaders Under 40 program identifies and gives recognition to young engineers who...
Safety for 18 years, warehouse maintenance tips, Ethernet and the IIoT, GAMS 2016 recap
2016 Engineering Leaders Under 40; Future vision: Where is manufacturing headed?; Electrical distribution, redefined
Strategic outsourcing delivers efficiency; Sleeve bearing clearance; Causes of water hammer; Improve air quality; Maintenance safety; GAMS preview
SCADA at the junction, Managing risk through maintenance, Moving at the speed of data
Safety at every angle, Big Data's impact on operations, bridging the skills gap
The digital oilfield: Utilizing Big Data can yield big savings; Virtualization a real solution; Tracking SIS performance
Applying network redundancy; Overcoming loop tuning challenges; PID control and networks
Driving motor efficiency; Preventing arc flash in mission critical facilities; Integrating alternative power and existing electrical systems
Package boilers; Natural gas infrared heating; Thermal treasure; Standby generation; Natural gas supports green efforts

Annual Salary Survey

Before the calendar turned, 2016 already had the makings of a pivotal year for manufacturing, and for the world.

There were the big events for the year, including the United States as Partner Country at Hannover Messe in April and the 2016 International Manufacturing Technology Show in Chicago in September. There's also the matter of the U.S. presidential elections in November, which promise to shape policy in manufacturing for years to come.

But the year started with global economic turmoil, as a slowdown in Chinese manufacturing triggered a worldwide stock hiccup that sent values plummeting. The continued plunge in world oil prices has resulted in a slowdown in exploration and, by extension, the manufacture of exploration equipment.

Read more: 2015 Salary Survey

Maintenance and reliability tips and best practices from the maintenance and reliability coaches at Allied Reliability Group.
The One Voice for Manufacturing blog reports on federal public policy issues impacting the manufacturing sector. One Voice is a joint effort by the National Tooling and Machining...
The Society for Maintenance and Reliability Professionals an organization devoted...
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.
Maintenance is not optional in manufacturing. It’s a profit center, driving productivity and uptime while reducing overall repair costs.
The Lachance on CMMS blog is about current maintenance topics. Blogger Paul Lachance is president and chief technology officer for Smartware Group.
This article collection contains several articles on the vital role of plant safety and offers advice on best practices.
This article collection contains several articles on the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and how it is transforming manufacturing.
This article collection contains several articles on strategic maintenance and understanding all the parts of your plant.
click me