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Machine guarding regulations for worker safety

Regulations by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration are in place to protect plant employees who work with heavy machinery. Employees in Connecticut and throughout the country may be at risk of injury from machinery that can easily snag clothing and pull the worker in or cause burns. Machine guards can help prevent this.

When they are used correctly, machine guards protect against accidents caused by flying chips, sparks, and other hazards. There are many different types of guards, including barriers and electronic devices. Machines that are required to have guards include shears, power saws, milling machines, portable power tools, and power presses. For some equipment, an additional precaution is required under what is known as the "seven-foot rule." This requires guarding certain hazardous operations that are conducted 7 feet or less from the floor or where work is being done.

Unfortunately, people still get injured despite these guarding requirements. Certain types of errors are common, such as operating fans, blades, and pulleys that are unguarded. Employers are supposed to follow some basic safety measures. This includes training that may last as long as two weeks. Equipment should be cleaned and maintained regularly. Machines should have a red emergency stop button. Combustible substances and equipment that may create sparks, flames or other fire hazards must be placed far from each other.

Whether or not an employer is compliant with safety standards, workers may still suffer on-the-job injury. Most are eligible for workers' compensation regardless of who is responsible for the accident. This can be important for people who are unable to work as a result of the injury and can cover medical expenses and loss of income. An attorney may be able to assist a person in filing for benefits or with an appeal if the claim is denied.

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