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Guarding Against Mechanical Power Press Injuries

Workers who operate mechanical power presses without proper guards can suffer cuts, amputations, and other disabling injuries. Mechanical power presses punch out metal parts for automobiles, metal doors, and windows along with a wide variety of other products. Workers face the greatest danger at the point of operation where stock is inserted, held, and withdrawn by hand.

Various types of safety devices are available to prevent power press injuries. Some devices stop the machine if a hand or other body part is inadvertently placed in the danger area. Other devices work by restraining or withdrawing the operator’s hands from the danger area during operation. The latter types of devices do this by requiring the operator to use both hands on the machine controls or by providing a barrier that is synchronized with the operating cycle of the machine in order to prevent entry to the danger area during the hazardous part of the cycle.

Safeguards must:

  • Be secure so that workers cannot easily remove or tamper with them
  • Be made of durable material to hold up under normal use
  • Protect against falling objects, which could land in the machine and then fly out and harm workers
  • Create no new hazards. They must not include a shear point, a jagged edge or unfinished surface that might cut workers
  • Create no interference. The safeguard must not impede the worker from performing the job quickly and comfortably
  • Allow safe lubrications. Workers should be able to lubricate the machine without removing the safeguards

Proper machine guards along with effective employee training and proper maintenance by the employer are the critical factors in preventing mechanical power press injuries.

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