Workplace Safety for Machine Operators

December 2nd, 2013
Photo Credit: Haryanto Witjaksono

Photo Credit: Haryanto Witjaksono

4,383 workers died on the job in 2012, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Workplace safety is not a laughing matter – it can be a matter of life and death. Machine operators have an added concern: improper use can result in amputations that can be debilitating in their career and in their lifestyle.

Hazards can occur wherever there is mechanical motion. Workers should be especially aware of areas on a machine like pinch points and movements such as rotations, punching, and cutting. While every machine is different, there are basic safety precautions that must be followed by machine operators at all times.

 Follow these safety precautions:

  • Don’t operate a machine unless you’ve undergone the appropriate training.
  • Never operate machinery unless you’re wearing the appropriate uniform and footwear. Avoid loose clothing and hair.
  • Check for proper safety guards and devices before operating a machine.
  • Wear approved safety goggles with side shields or respiratory protection when required.
  • Check machines for cracks or missing pieces before and after use.
  • Know where the fire extinguishers are located in your workplace.
  • Never operate a machine in excess of the recommended speed.
  • Never make adjustments while the machine is operating.
  • Do not operate machinery while under the influence of dugs, alcohol, or medication that could cause drowsiness.
  • Never leave tools near a machine. Keep the work are free of clutter.
  • Always work on a non-slip surface when operating machinery and keep the ground surrounding a machine free of clutter.
  • Turn off equipment and unplug the machine (if possible) before making repairs.

Keep these rules in mind then look into specific safety information regarding the machinery you work with most. Here is more specific safety information about spot welding, CNC milling machines, powered press brakes, and grinding machines.


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