Put it all back together for safety’s sake

by on November 4, 2014 · 0 Comment POSTED IN: Workplace Safety Network
machine operator

Machine guards get removed for many reasons, but sometimes they just aren’t reinstalled after maintenance. It’s understandable – you fix a problem and want to get the machine up and running again. It feels like the job is done. Reinstalling the machine guards can seem … optional.

But it’s not. And a Chicago fatality in May shows why. Nathan Cottrell, 31, an engineer at Alpha Baking Co., attempted to look at oil levels in a gearbox in a bakery loader just after it had undergone maintenance. A gear arm suddenly rotated, catching his head between arm and the equipment frame, and he was killed.

It turned out that the guards had been removed during maintenance and not reinstalled.

OSHA investigated and fined the company $42,000. Other unguarded machines, amputation and caught-in hazards were found in the facility.

Take-home: Maintenance isn’t completed until all safety equipment is back on.

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