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What can an employer do to protect workers around machines?

From a small carpenter's shop to a plant owned by an international car company, the use of machines brings a certain level of risk. Workers can be injured or killed on the job by heavy machinery when it's used improperly or when safety procedures are not in place.

So, what should an employer do to keep workers safe and limit serious accidents? Below are a few tips that can help:

  • Have a dress code or issue uniforms designed for safety. For instance, garments should never be loose, or they could get caught in moving parts. Long hair should be kept up.
  • Issue the right safety gear. Workers often need to wear ear and eye protection at all times.
  • Use safety tools and accessories, as well. For instance, when using a table saw, workers should be given push sticks to use so that they can keep their hands well away from the blade.
  • Keep machine guards on whenever machines are running. Never remove them to work on machines that are on or even plugged in. Never leave them off after maintenance and upkeep have been performed.
  • Follow the instruction manual. It gives instruction for safe usage of any machine. Employees should be provided with copies and told to follow them at all times.
  • Provide proper training. Workers should never have to figure out how to use a machine on their own. They need training from professionals and other competent workers until they feel confident and able to move forward alone.

If you do get injured on the job, you could be looking at high medical bills and days or weeks out of work. Make sure you know all of your legal options.

Source: Texas Department of Insurance, "5 tips for machine guarding," accessed March 02, 2018

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