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How can I tell if machine safeguards are properly configured?

If your job involves operating heavy machinery such as a drill press, table saw, band saw or lathe, you are likely aware that you need to take great care to avoid injuries. These machines employ the use of blades, bits and other hard, sharp items that could sever fingers and hands in an instant. Of course, your safety is partially contingent upon paying close attention to your tasks and not rushing. But there are also steps that are necessary to ensure that the machine itself is safe for use.

To this end, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration provides a thorough checklist on its website which can be used to inspect machines prior to use. The checklist also provides OSHA requirements for machine safeguards. The following are among the items cited in the checklist:

  • The safeguards should be able to prevent objects from falling into the moving parts of the machine.
  • The safeguards should be able to keep the operator's body parts, such as arms and hands, from touching the machine's hazardous moving parts.
  • The safeguards should be firmly secured.
  • The safeguards should allow the operator to be able to use the machine comfortably, safely and with relative ease.

This is just a brief overview of the OSHA checklist, which also covers specific hazards, training, maintenance and other key issues. The checklist is rightfully very detailed because these machines, while useful and important, can also cause serious, even life-altering, injuries.

If you are machine operator and have been injured on the job, you are probably eligible to receive workers' compensation benefits that can help cover your costs of medical treatment, rehabilitation and time lost from work. But you want to make sure you receive the full measure of that to which you are entitled. An experienced workers' compensation attorney can help you file your claim and act on your behalf in an effort to maximize your remuneration.

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