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Cleaning jammed equipment, reaching for a wrench, or retrieving a dropped glove are common tasks. Yet, each of these acts can lead to a serious injury. Many injuries occur during equipment maintenance. Sometimes workers try to reach past the guards while trying to service equipment or get caught in power transmissions such as belts, pulleys, running rolls, chains or sprockets. Other injuries occur when equipment is unguarded or when machinery starts unexpectedly.
If some basic precautions are taken, protecting workers from these injuries can be simple and inexpensive. Inexpensive physical controls, such as machine guards, can prevent many injuries. The important thing is that the guards remain in place. Bright, contrasting colors painted on machine guards and points of operation give workers a visual warning and can make it easy to spot missing guards. Good lighting also helps spot dangerous conditions or unguarded machinery.
Before servicing equipment or removing a guard, get proper training on the steps necessary to eliminate the hazards. The law requires equipment to be turned off and locked out during any maintenance to prevent someone from turning it on unexpectedly. You should recognize and understand the following when working around machinery:
Never put your head, hands or body into an area that would be a danger zone during a normal equipment cycle. Stay alert when working around machinery or moving equipment and follow established company safety practices.
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