The Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) “Top 10 for 2018” violations once again have Machine Safeguarding earning a position on the list. Machine safeguarding was the 9th most cited standard as noted in the list below:
This is down one in the order from 2017 where Machine Safeguarding was the 8th most cited standard. OSHA 1910.212 (a)(1) states: “Types of guarding. One or more methods of machine guarding shall be provided to protect the operator and other employees in the machine area from hazards associated with those created by the point of operation, ingoing nip points, rotating parts, flying chips and sparks. Examples of guarding are-barrier guards, two-handed tripping devices, electronic safety devices, etc.”
So, what goes into an effective “Machine Guard”? Well before you can guard, you must first understand the risk(s) associated with a machine. Which leads us to the subject of this blog, risk assessment.
A worker was injured while testing gas springs similar to the type that hold the hatchback of an SUV open. The hazard that injured the worker was an unguarded shear point. The tester contained a mounting plate that was raised and lowered by a pneumatic cylinder.
The pneumatic cylinder lowered the mounting plate while the worker’s fingers were in the hazardous, unguarded shear point. Read More
While on a lunch stop during a recent vacation trip through Tennessee, I happened across a safety hazard that required immediate attention. The establishment had a raised concrete patio at the front with a steel railing around the perimeter. At one edge of the patio was a set of stairs with a continuation of the steel railing used as a handrail. The top edge of the patio had light strings wrapping the top metal bar as accent lighting for the perimeter. The light string continued down the stair handrail wrapped in the same manner as the rest of the patio. Read More
A mini-excavator at a job site developed a leak at a hydraulic fitting at the base of the cylinder that raises and lowers the boom. A subcontractor foreman at the site raised the boom to search for the leak. The foreman found and attempted to tighten the leaking fitting. When he did, the fitting separated from the base of the cylinder, releasing the hydraulic pressure that held the boom aloft. The boom fell and the bucket struck a nearby superintendent for the general contractor.
Equipment and appliances supplied with fuel gases like natural gas, propane and butane are a common and convenient part of most of our lives. Such devices as gas grills and ranges, ovens, furnaces, space heaters and water heaters usually perform without incident. However, when they malfunction the potential for incidents such as fires and explosions, carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning and burn injuries may occur. These incidents may be due to design and manufacturing defects in the product, or improper installation or operation of the device.
I recently worked on an interesting case involving a box baler. An employee of a butcher shop put some empty cardboard boxes in a vertical box baler and pushed the control switch to compact the boxes. After the 30 by 60 inch platen weighing 851 pounds returned to its raised position, the employee reached into the open space above the bottom door on the baler and began to clear cardboard from the bale tie slots in the bottom of the raised platen. Suddenly, and without warning, the steel pin attaching the platen to the raised hydraulic cylinder rod failed. The heavy steel platen fell and crushed his arm which was outstretched over the baler door into the compaction space.
A blower used to exhaust air from an industrial process stopped functioning when the blower wheel drive shaft fractured. The process, and thereby most of the plant, had to operate at a reduced volume until the blower wheel could be replaced. The blower wheel had been installed during a shutdown a week before the incident. The blower wheel was a spare installed when the existing blower wheel was sent for scheduled remanufacturing. Read More
In May, 2014, a plant farm worker was seriously injured when he fell into the hopper of an electrically powered soil mixer. The mixer in question used a rotating steel ribbon powered by a 7-1/2 hp electric motor to mix batches of materials such as sand, mulch, wood shavings, fertilizers and other landscaping materials to create potting soil. At the top of the hopper sidewalls, within 6 inches of the ribbon, was a steel grate. Read More
In November of 2010, a miner was injured by a roof bolting machine (roof bolter) in an Alabama underground coal mine. The roof bolter in question had undergone a complete rebuild intended to return the machine to the original equipment manufacturer’s (OEM’s) specifications. Warren was hired to analyze both the design of the roof bolter and the actions of the rebuilder to determine if either contributed to the unfortunate coal miner’s serious injury. Background information on coal mining and roof bolters, as well as an analysis of the roof bolter and the actions of the rebuilder are included. Read More
What you see is not always what you get. This commonality exists in the numerous cases I have investigated for water intrusion and moisture issues in buildings. The source that appears most obvious and straightforward may not, in fact, be the root of the problem at all. Read More