Machinery in the workplace can be of great benefit if used correctly and safely. Heavy machinery easily completes many tasks in a timely manner, but these machines are also capable of causing great harm if not used properly. Misusing heavy machinery leads to a variety of serious workplace injuries and fatalities.

In most cases, the problem lies not in the machines themselves but in the way that they are used. The majority of machine related injuries are caused because the equipment is not well maintained, not properly guarded or not used correctly.

When we hear the term ‘dangerous machinery’ we think of powerful, heavyweight, difficult-to-use machines. However, the fact is, any machine, even the smallest, can pose a certain amount of risk if it is not maintained, used or guarded properly.

Below are five safety tips to ensure machine safety in the workplace.

1) Put the Proper Machine Guarding in Place

Machine guarding is very important for machine safety because it protects employees from dangers such as rotating parts, flying chips and sparks. There are multiple types of guards including barrier guards, light curtains and two-hand operating devices. All of these types of machine guards protect employees and ensure their safety. 

2) Always Wear The Required Equipment

If an employee is operating heavy machinery, or is even near an operating machine, that employee should wear the proper equipment. No exceptions! Safety equipment is required for a reason. For example, if safety goggles are required, it is because they protect the eyes from possible flying objects. It is a good idea to conduct a hazard assessment of your facility to understand the hazards that exist and the proper protective equipment that is needed for your employees.

3) Do Not Interfere With Moving Or Operating Machinery

While employees are operating heavy machinery, they should not be interfered with or distracted. Operating powerful machinery requires a certain amount of focus and if that’s broken, it can lead to injury. Also make sure that employees stay clear of moving parts. Touching a moving part of heavy machinery is an easy way to get a limb caught, which could easily result in a serious injury or even a fatality.

4) Never Operate Machinery Without Proper Training

All heavy, powerful machinery in the workplace requires successful training in machine safety. Ensure employees are taken through a tutorial by someone who already knows how to operate the machine. Operating machinery without the proper training, puts everyone at serious risk for workplace injuries and fatalities. These machines are capable of a lot of damage and employees need to know what they are doing and how to do it properly before they begin to operate one.

5) Stay Clear Of Loading Zones While Machines Are Unloading

Machines are unpredictable at times, and may not do what is expected. They may malfunction or drop something while unloading. To ensure the safety of your employees, make sure they stay clear when machines are unloading. Post signs that clearly mark unloading zones and communicate best practices to employees.

Heavy machines are of great use in helping to complete difficult tasks, but if not used properly they can cuase serious injuries. Ensure machines are properly guarded, provide protective equipment and develop proper training and safety programs to protect your employees.

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