Machine shops are unique workplaces – depending on the work being performed, machine shops house heavy machinery and sophisticated equipment; and, without proper safety protocols in place, machine shop injuries can be fatal. The nature of most heavy machinery and equipment leaves little room for error and much room for workplace injury, as machine shops facilitate an environment where workers can easily injure themselves and others – even when not actively operating a machine.
Common Machine Shop Injuries
Operating the sophisticated machinery and equipment common in machine shops and other industrial workplaces requires specialized training to ensure the safety of the operator and others working in the vicinity of the equipment. Workers who have suffered an industrial injury know that even the smallest action against safety protocols can have severe consequences. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), machine workers suffer an average of 18,000 amputations annually in addition to suffering severe crush injuries and slips and falls. Machine shop injuries can be reduced through the implementation of proper machine safeguarding, increased training, and routine inspection of equipment for potential hazards.
Operating heavy machinery is difficult; and, without proper safeguarding workers can be exposed to the inner-workings of a machine, making a worker’s daily duties that much more dangerous. Heavy machinery often includes sharp, rapidly moving parts that can inflict deep cuts, crush injuries, lacerations, and could lead to an amputation if a worker were to become caught in the machine. OSHA requires employers to properly outfit all machines with safeguards so that a protective barrier is placed between employee and equipment. In addition to safeguarding machines in the workplace, other steps that can be taken to improve machine shop safety include:
Improving Workplace Job and Safety Training
Regardless of the number of years a machine shop worker has worked, performance and safety can be improved through increased and more effective training. In addition to standard job training, it’s important that workers complete additional machine training and workplace safety training. Not only will this reinforce the proper use of machines, but it will also educate workers on safety hazards so they can help prevent industrial injuries. Employers are required to provide training in a language employees understand, as well as to post proper safety signage throughout the facility to remind workers of safe practices.
Machine shops require adequate ventilation due to chemicals and gases – such as carbon monoxide – that common come with the use of heavy machinery and other such industrial equipment. While workers can use personal protective equipment like a welding facemask, without proper ventilation throughout a facility, all workers are at risk for inhaling toxic substances. In addition to toxic fumes, without proper ventilation workers are also exposed to airborne dust and shrapnel. Inhaling toxic substances can lead workers to develop serious and life-threatening illnesses with prolonged exposure.
Improving Machine Safety
Workers can take appropriate steps to protect themselves but still fall victim to serious injury due to an employer’s lack of action. Employers directly impact the workplace and can improve workers’ conditions by following OSHA safety guidelines throughout their facilities. In addition to installing machine safeguards, employers should also regularly inspect their facilities for potential dangers like unstable railing and stairs, objects that could fall or strike an employee, and ensure there is proper ventilation. Employers must also supply workers with quality personal protective equipment and safety training so they have the tools to perform their jobs safely.
Houston Workplace Accident Attorneys
No worker should ever fear for their safety, and employers should take responsibility for their workplaces and employees by following health and safety guidelines for the workplace. When employers fail to keep facilities free from danger, workers are exposed to hazards that could result in serious injury. If you or a loved one has been seriously injured or killed in a workplace accident, contact the Houston workplace accident attorneys of Adame Garza today to discuss your case. There is limited time to act following a Texas work accident, so act today.