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OSHA requires employers to guard machinery

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has rules and regulations that apply to machinery operation and guarding. Because plant employees in Pennsylvania spend most of their time operating machines, it is important that their employers follow OSHA machinery regulations. To be in compliance with the law, employers must provide guards on certain machines to protect the operators. Common types of guards include barrier guards, two-hand trip devices and electronic safety devices.

Included among the list of machines that should have guards are power saws, milling machines, power presses, guillotine cutters, shears, forming rolls, jointers, calendars, alligator sheers and portable power tools. Guards might be adjustable, self-adjusting or fixed. Each machine should be paired with the proper type of guard.

Some types of equipment, especially machines that generate or transmit mechanical power, are subject to the 7-foot rule. This rule requires that hazardous machines must be guarded or enclosed if they are located within 7 feet of the working platform or floor.

Moving parts that are unguarded can cause on-the-job injuries due to accidental contact. An employer should address such hazards before injuries occur by installing proper guards or replacing unsafe machines. Employers should also install red emergency stop buttons that can shut down machines quickly in case of an emergency.

Employers in Pennsylvania have a responsibility to provide employees with a safe working environment. Someone who is injured on the job might have a claim for recovery through the workers' compensation system in Pennsylvania. Workers' compensation is designed to provide payments to employees for the time they are out of work, injuries sustained or retraining expenses. An attorney experienced in workers' comp cases could help by putting together the client's claim.

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