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Machinery and Preventing Amputation: Introduction

Machinery and Preventing Amputation: Introduction

Amputations are among the most severe and disabling workplace injuries that often result in permanent disability. They are widespread and involve various activities and equipment. (The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics 2005 annual survey data indicated that there were 8,450 non-fatal amputation cases – involving days away from work – for all private industry. Approximately forty-four percent (44%) of all workplace amputations occurred in the manufacturing sector and the rest occurred across the construction, agriculture, wholesale and retail trade, and service industries.) These injuries result from the use and care of machines such as saws, presses, conveyors, and bending, rolling or shaping machines as well as from powered and non-powered hand tools, forklifts, doors, trash compactors and during materials handling activities.

Anyone responsible for the operation, servicing, and maintenance (also known as use and care) of machines (which, for purposes of this publication includes equipment) — employers, employees, safety professionals, and industrial hygienists— should read this publication. Primary safeguarding, as used in this publication, includes control methods that protect (e.g., prevent employee contact with hazardous machine areas) employees from machine hazards through effective machine guarding techniques. In addition, a hazardous energy control (lockout/tagout) program needs to complement machine safeguarding methods in order to protect employees during potentially hazardous servicing and maintenance work activities.

This guide can help you, the small business employer, identify and manage common amputation hazards associated with the operation and care of machines. The first two sections of the document, Recognizing Amputation Hazards and Controlling Amputation Hazards, look at sources of amputations and how to safeguard machinery and control employee exposure to hazardous energy (lockout/tagout) during machine servicing and maintenance activities. The section on Specific Machinery Hazards and Safeguarding

Methods identifies the hazards and various control methods for machinery associated with workplace amputations, such as:

  • mechanical power presses
  • press brakes
  • conveyors
  • printing presses
  • roll-forming and roll-bending machines
  • shears
  • food slicers
  • meat grinders
  • meatcutting
  • band saws
  • drill presses
  • milling machines
  • grinding machines
  • slitting machines.

The information in this booklet does not specifically address amputation hazards on all types of machinery in general industry, construction, maritime and agricultural operations; however, many of the described safeguarding techniques may be used to prevent other amputation injuries.

Additionally, while this manual concentrates attention on concepts and techniques for safeguarding mechanical motion, machines obviously present a variety of other types of energy hazards that cannot be ignored. For example, pressure system failure could cause fires and explosions. Machine electrical sources also pose electrical hazards that are addressed by other OSHA standards, such as the electrical standards contained in Subpart S. Full discussion of these matters is beyond the scope of this publication. For compliance assistance purposes, references and the appendices are provided on applicable OSHA standards, additional information sources, and ways you may obtain OSHA assistance.

OSHA Standards

Although this guide recommends ways to safeguard and lockout/tagout energy sources associated with machinery hazards, there are legal requirements in OSHA standards that you need to know about and comply with. The following OSHA standards are a few of the regulations that protect employees from amputation hazards.

Machinery and Machine Guarding:
29 CFR Part 1910, Subpart O

  • 1910.211 – Definitions
  • 1910.212 – General requirements for all machines
  • 1910.213 – Woodworking machinery requirements
  • 1910.215 – Abrasive wheel machinery
  • 1910.216 – Mills and calenders in the rubber and plastics industries
  • 1910.217 – Mechanical power presses
  • 1910.218 – Forging machines
  • 1910.219 – Mechanical power-transmission apparatus

Control of Hazardous Energy (Lockout/Tagout):
29 CFR 1910.147

Hand and Power Tools:
29 CFR Part 1926, Subpart I

  • 1926.300 – General requirements
  • 1926.303 – Abrasive wheels and tools
  • 1926.307 – Mechanical power-transmission apparatus

29 CFR 1926.555

Concrete and Masonry Construction
29 CFR Part 1926, Subpart Q

  • 1926.702 – Requirements for equipment and tools

Consult these standards directly to ensure full compliance with the provisions as this publication is not a substitute for the standards. States with OSHA-approved plans have at least equivalent standards. For detailed information about machine guarding and lockout/tagout, see the following resources:

OSHA standards, directives, publications, and other resources are available online at www.osha.gov

National Consensus Standards

OSHA recognizes the valuable contributions of national consensus standards and these voluntary standards may be used as guidance and recognition of industry accepted practices. For example, the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) publishes numerous voluntary national consensus standards on the safe care and use of specific machinery.

These consensus standards provide you with useful guidance on how to protect your em-ployees from machine amputation hazards and the control methods described may assist you in complying with OSHA performance-based standards.

Furthermore, OSHA encourages employers to abide by the more current industry consensus standards since those standards are more likely to be abreast of the state of the art than an applicable OSHA standard may be. However, when a consensus standard addresses safety considerations, OSHA may determine that the safety practices described by that consensus standard are less protective than the requirement(s) set forth by the pertinent OSHA regulations. OSHA  enforcement policy regarding the use of consensus standards is that a violation of an OSHA standard may be deemed de minimis in nature if the employer complies with a consensus standard (that is not incorporated by reference) rather than the OSHA standard in effect and if the employer’s action clearly provides equal or greater employee protection. (Such de minimis violations require no corrective action and result in no penalty.)

For example, the OSHA point-of-operation guarding provisions, contained in paragraph 1910.212(a)(3), require the guarding device to…be in conformance with any appropriate standards thereof, or in the absence of applicable specific standards, shall be so designed and constructed as to prevent the operator from having any part of his body in the danger zone during the operating cycle.

The terms applicable standards or appropriate standards, as used in the context of 29 CFR 1910.212, are references to those private consensus standards
that were adopted (source standards) or incorporated by reference in the OSHA standards.

In some instances, a specific national consensus standard (that is not incorporated by reference or a source standard), such as an ANSI standard for a
particular machine, may be used for guidance purposes to assist employers in preventing an operator from having any body part in the machine danger
zone during the operating cycle. Also, OSHA may, in appropriate cases, use these consensus standards as evidence that machine hazards are recognized
and that there are feasible means of correcting the hazard. On the other hand, some national consensus standards may sanction practices that provide less employee protection than that provided by compliance with the relevant OSHA provisions.

In these cases, compliance with the specific consensus standard provision would not constitute compliance with the relevant OSHA requirement.

Under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), the Secretary of Labor has designated certain nonfarm jobs as particularly hazardous for employees younger than 18.

Generally, these employees are prohibited from operating:

  • Band saws
  • Circular saws
  • Guillotine shears
  • Punching and shearing machines
  • Meatpacking or meat-processing machines
  • Certain power-driven machines: Paper products machines, Woodworking machines, Metal forming machines, and Meat slicers.

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