People in North Carolina who work on machines should be protected by certain safeguards set by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. As safety advocates point out, moving parts on machines can cause injury or death. Typical injuries that may occur include amputations, burns, crushed hands or fingers or blindness. In fiscal year 2018, there were 1,700 enforcement citations based on the machine guarding standard.
Injury and fatality examples
One notable example of a violation occurred at a pallet manufacturer in 2018. After the employee was injured, OSHA inspectors found multiple violations, including not training workers about noise hazards, not installing the necessary machine guards and allowing the accumulation of combustible dust. At another company, a fatality was caused by a replacement guard that did not have the same impact resistance as the original guard. A turning lathe hit an employee in the neck and head and killed him.
Where accidents occur
Companies in the services, retail trade, wholesale trade and manufacturing industries are most often cited for these types of violations. Citations are also frequent in public administration, waste management, waste remediation, accommodation and food services. Both guard devices and training are supposed to protect employees from amputation. Other types of devices can block contact with dangerous parts or stop the machine if necessary.
People who are injured on the job may be eligible for workers’ compensation. Employees may not know their rights or might even be told by their employers that they cannot apply for compensation. They could also be concerned about retaliation if they file for compensation. However, this compensation can be important in covering medical costs and other expenses of individuals while they are recovering. An attorney can help an injured employee understand their rights and initiate any appeals if necessary.