Hesperian Health Guides
Chapter 9: Machine injuries
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Sharp, hot, or moving machine parts and materials are always dangerous. Many factory workers have been burned or lost fingers, hands, arms, legs, or eyes because they were not properly protected from the danger areas of a machine. Machine injuries can cause permanent disabilities and sometimes death. Broken machines can also harm workers by leaking dangerous chemicals, hot steam, or liquids that can make floors slippery or burn workers.
Most machine injuries can be prevented by installing and using proper machine guards, by training workers to use machines safely, and by keeping machines in good condition. Too many workers are injured because bosses disconnect guards and other safety features to speed up production, push people to work faster, and do not maintain or repair machines.
To prevent machine injuries:
- Give workers plenty of time and training to learn how to operate, adjust, and maintain their machines.
- Design machines and job tasks so a worker never has to put any part of her body near the dangerous parts of a machine.
- Provide workers with the necessary protective equipment that fits them well.
- Give workers the power to shut down a dangerous machine before it causes an injury.