Crushed hands and arms, severed fingers, blindness — the list of possible machinery-related injuries is as long as it is horrifying. There seem to be as many hazards created by moving machine parts as there are types of machines. Safeguards are essential for protecting workers from needless and preventable injuries.
A good rule to remember is: Any machine part, function, or process which many cause injury must be safeguarded.
When the operation of a machine or accidental contact with it can injure the operator or others in the vicinity, the hazards must be either controlled or eliminated.
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This manual describes the various hazards of mechanical motion and presents some techniques for protecting workers from these hazards. General information covered in this chapter includes — where mechanical hazards occur, the hazards created by different kinds of motions and the requirements for effective safeguards, as well as a brief discussion of nonmechanical hazards.
Where Mechanical Hazards Occur
Dangerous moving parts in three basic areas require safeguarding:
The point of operation: that point where work is performed on the material, such as cutting, shaping, boring, or forming of stock.
Power transmission apparatus: all components of the mechanical system which transmit energy to the part of the machine performing the work. These components include flywheels, pulleys, belts, connecting rods, couplings, cams, spindles, chains, cranks, and gears.
Other moving parts: all parts of the machine which move while the machine is working. These can include reciprocating, rotating, and transverse moving parts, as well as feed mechanisms and auxiliary parts of the machine.
Hazardous Mechanical Motions and Actions
A wide variety of mechanical motions and actions may present hazards to the worker. These can include the movement of rotating members, reciprocating arms, moving belts, meshing gears, cutting teeth, and any parts that impact or shear. These different types of hazardous mechanical motions and actions are basic in varying combinations to nearly all machines, and recognizing them is the first step toward protecting workers from the danger they present.
The basic types of hazardous mechanical motions and actions are:
- rotating (including in-running nip points)
Rotating motion can be dangerous; even smooth, slowly rotating shafts can grip clothing, and through mere skin contact force an arm or hand into a dangerous position. Injuries due to contact with rotating parts can be severe.