This article is one in an ongoing series being published over the course of the year, compliments of Sentry Insurance.The intention is to advise customers and organizational members on important, but generally unknown or misunderstood, business coverage risks or coverage nuances.
Could either of these events have happened at your facility?
Event 1 – An employee was fatally injured when he was crushed in the vertical mill machine he was operating. He became caught while reaching down into the space between the cabinet’s door and the table inside as the milling machine cycled. Upon investigation, the door on the milling machine cabinet was found to not be equipped with safety interlocks. In addition, although the employee was an experienced machinist, he was a new hire to the company.
Event 2 – A senior computer numerical controlled (CNC) machine operator was seriously injured while operating a large CNC vertical mill. The accident investigation revealed that the operator had left a hand tool inside the machine cabinet behind the milling table. He entered the machine cabinet to retrieve the tool. At the same moment, his supervisor noticed the machine was not operating and proceeded to turn the machine on, resulting in the operator’s injury.
Due to modern design, computer controlled and enclosed features, it is easy to assume that a CNC machine poses little risk of operator injury. However, as the examples above indicate, such assumptions can lead to disastrous results. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that in 2009, the manufacturing sector had 32 fatalities in occupational fatalities directly attributed to employees being “caught in running equipment or machinery.”
Modern CNC machines offer a host of safeguards to prevent injuries, but still require an understanding of how the safeguards work. Having a proper lockout/tagout procedure reinforced with effective operator training could have prevented both of these unfortunate events. Since a lockout/tagout procedure does not come with equipment, it needs to be developed and implemented in-house.
The Hazards of CNC Machines
Mechanical components that present crushing or amputation hazards:
• Point of operation
• Power-transmission apparatuses
• Other moving parts
Basic mechanical motions and actions that can potentially be hazardous:
• Rotating, reciprocating and transverse motions
• Cutting, punching, shearing and bending actions
• In-running nip points
Routine but hazardous activities that pose increased risk of severe injury to employees during:
• Machine setup
• Clearing jams
• Machine adjustments
• Cleaning of machine
• Lubricating of machine parts
• Scheduled and unscheduled maintenance
Focus Your Efforts to Reduce Losses
No manufacturing process should be without an effective safety and health program that includes proper machine safeguarding, lockout/tagout procedures and operator training and supervision.
• Ensure that existing and newly purchased machinery include appropriate guarding and safety controls, including safety interlocks on machinery with movable gates or doors providing access to the point of operation.
• Develop, implement and enforce a comprehensive hazardous energy control program, including machine-specific lockout/tagout procedures and training.
• Provide employee training on machinery used, worksite hazards and controls for these hazards. Training should be in the employee’s primary language and at appropriate literacy levels to ensure comprehension.
• Provide frequent supervision of newly-hired and inexperienced employees.
• Conduct periodic equipment hazard analysis/inspections to ensure equipment is safe to operate.
• Whenever a new procedure (e.g., using non-routine tools) or equipment is introduced, conduct a job safety analysis (JSA). When conducting the JSA, determine the tasks, what could go wrong, what the consequences could be, how hazards could arise, what the contributing factors are and the likelihood that a hazard could occur.
Carlos Acedo – Sentry Insurance Safety Services Consultant
Scott Robinette is a Business Product Manager for Sentry Insurance – a provider of Property & Casualty coverages for your industry. You can reach Scott at Scott.Robinette@Sentry.com with any questions.
This document is made available by Sentry Insurance a Mutual Company and its subsidiaries and affiliates (collectively “SIAMCO”) with the understanding that SIAMCO is not engaged in the practice of law, nor is it rendering legal advice. The information contained in this document is of a general nature and is not intended to address the circumstances of any particular individual or entity. Legal obligations may vary by state and locality. No one should act on the information contained in this document without legal advice from competent and licensed local professionals. THE INFORMATION CONTAINED IN THIS DOCUMENT IS DISTRIBUTED BY SIAMCO “AS-IS”, WITHOUT ANY WARRANTIES. SIAMCO WILL HAVE NO LIABILITY TO ANY PERSON OR ENTITY WITH RESPECT TO ANY LOSSES OR DAMAGES CAUSED, OR ALLEGED TO HAVE BEEN CAUSED, DIRECTLY OR INDIRECTLY BY THIS DOCUMENT, REGARDLESS OF WHETHER SUCH CLAIM IS BASED ON CONTRACT, WARRANTY, TORT (INCLUDING NEGLIGENCE AND FOR PROPERTY DAMAGE AND DEATH) OR OTHER GROUNDS.