Amputation Prevention - Province-wide inspection initiative focusing on machine guarding

By Bob Murden

Posted Jan 9th, 2020 in Tips & News

“The general requirements of all machines is that the point of operation of machines, whose operation exposes an employee to injury, shall be guarded.”

To raise awareness and increase compliance with the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) and its regulations, the Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development (MLTSD) will be conducting a province-wide inspection initiative focused on machine guarding from February 17 to March 31, 2020.

When machines are not properly guarded at any time during installation, maintenance or repair, serious, if not fatal, injuries can occur.

Amputations can be anything from the loss of a single finger or toe to hands, arms, feet or legs. Anyone who has lost temporary use of a single finger understands how debilitating that can be. Losing any appendage permanently impacts a worker’s life. And, the ripple effect has long-term effects on those around the injured worker as well, coworkers who witnessed an amputation accident and family members who are affected financially, emotionally and possibly socially.  

In 2017 there were over 2100 WSIB claims for lost-time injures because of workers being caught in or crushed by material, objects, equipment or falling material.

Educating workers on the potential for amputations and raising awareness of dangers associated when using unguarded or improperly guarded machinery is critical.

Any company that has equipment requiring guarding should have an effective machine guarding program. This program should consist of the follow components:

  • Initial Assessment – Each piece of equipment should be formally inspected for proper machine guarding and related safeguarding.
  • Employee Training – Employees require specific training about how to identify proper (or improper) machine guarding. Rules related to disabling machine safeguards, reporting unsafe conditions and other similar topics are covered in this training. Lockout training is also required for those performing lock out procedures and employees working near that equipment.
  • On-Going Inspections of Guarding – Virtually every manufacturing, recycling or food facility is required to have frequent and regular inspections. Machine guarding should be part of that inspection process. Several pieces of equipment that utilize an emergency stop function as part of the machine safety should be tested at the beginning of each shift.

Be proactive and make machine guarding a regular safety focus item resulting in a safer workplace and a stronger safety culture.

Unsure about your quality of machine safeguarding? Make arrangements for a free two hour assessment • TF 1.866.347.7707.

WSG is offering a Machine Guarding Awareness course Feb 19 

Get an evaluation of your workplace and get on track with safety and compliance.

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