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A PA & NJ Machinery Accident Lawyer Talks About The Importance Of Machine Guarding

Pennsylvania industrial machine operators may be injured while working.  Some of the common injuries include crush injuries or finger/hand amputations when the operators' hands and/or arms get caught in the machines. 

After machinery accidents, injured workers may file workers' compensations claims to receive workers' comp benefits because they were injured while they were on the job.  Benefits include medical benefits and lost wages. 

However, many industrial machinery workers do not know that they have other legal options against parties responsible for their industrial machinery accidents. 

See our case result: Multi-million dollar settlement for an operator's arm injury on an industrial machine

One of the most important parts of an industrial machine is machine guarding.  It protects machine operators from moving parts and prevents them from sustaining injuries.  OSHA regulations require that the following areas of machinery need to be guarded:

  • points of operation,
  • ingoing nip points,
  • rotating parts, or
  • flying chips and sparks.

When an industrial machine does not have proper machine guarding, the machine operator's hand, finger or other body part may get caught in the machine resulting in serious or life threatening injuries.  There are many types of machine guarding for different types of machines and different areas of machines.  In addition, a machine can have more than one method of machine guarding.

Related: Industrial Machinery Accidents- What You Need To Know About Design Defects (Improper Guarding)

There are 4 different types of machine guards:

  1. fixed guards,
  2. interlocked guards,
  3. adjustable guards, and
  4. self-adjusting guards.

The remaining part of the article will discuss fixed and interlocked guards.

Fixed Guards

Fixed guards are one of the most common types of guards.  As its name suggests, a fixed guard is a permanent part of the machine.  It cannot be removed.

Interlocked Guards

Unlike fixed guards, interlocked guards are designed to be removed or opened to allow an operator to get access to the hazardous area of the machine.  An area of the machine where an interlocked guard may be placed is at a point of operation where an operator can insert or remove material. 

For instance, an industrial machine that makes rolls of toilet paper may have a paper jam at a point of operation.  In order for the machine to work, the jam must be removed.  The machine operator would need to open the interlocked guard to remove the jam.  When an interlocked guard is opened, it is supposed to shut down the machine so the operator would not get injured when trying to remove the jam.

If the interlocked guard does not shut down the machine when opened, the machine operator will get injured.

Help After A PA Or NJ Machinery Accident

Daniel J. O'Brien is a licensed personal injury lawyer in PA and NJ who has represented many injured machine operators.  Call today to schedule a FREE consultation.

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