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Machine Guards and Safety Precautions

Thousands of workers are injured each year on the job in machine operations. Employees can suffer from amputations, lacerations, limb extraction, etc. While millions of Americans work in jobs with dangerous machines, the safety of an employee is often over looked because of the reluctance of upper management to spend money on safety precautions. Severe lacerations or amputations can occur quite freqently with moving machine parts. Machine guards are essential to protect workers from preventable injuries. Whenever the operation of a machine can injure the operator or others, the hazards must be either eliminated or designed out of a product.

If this is not possible and the hazard cannot be eliminated, it must be guarded against and a warning must be provided to avoid the hazard. This is often referred to as the "Engineering Hierarchy": design out, guard against and warn. Many guarding principles have been in use in the industry for over 100 years. For example, the first patent for an interlocking guard was awarded in 1899 for a power press. However, while guarding technology has been readily available for decades, many manufacturers fail to avail itself of basic safety engineering that could save lives and prevent needless suffering and tragedy.

Employee safety should be number one on an employer's and manufacturer's mind, but when disregard for an employee occurs because of inadequate safety gear or poorly designed machines and machine guards, it is advisable to contact an experienced lawyer for a potential lawsuit. There are many types of guards that are appropriate for different products depending on the use for which the product is intended. Some examples of guards include fixed barrier guards, movable interlocking guards, and light curtains and sensors that detect the entry of fingers or the operator's hands. Machine guarding cases involving serious injury due to improper guarding often involve situations where a product had a poorly designed guard that was removed exposing the operator to serious injury. When the removal of a machine guard is commonly expected as part of a procedure on a machine, the manufacturers are not covered from liability.

It is advisable to conctact an experienced worker's safety law firm if an employer does not supply adequate safety gear for an individual. When an employer refuses to ensure the safety of its workers, or merely disregards the safety of its workers, they can be held responsible.

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