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Workplace safety and machines

Employees in Minnesota who work with machinery on a regular basis know how hazardous it can often be. As part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health is engaged in research with a goal of controlling and eliminating related injuries. These injuries are often considered to be preventable if the appropriate safeguards are implemented to protect employees. Employers are expected to safeguard machine processes, parts or functions that can injure their workers.

Machines often have hot surfaces, sharp edges and moving parts that can lead to employees suffering from blindness, burns, crushed appendages or amputation. In order to help reduce the risk of these accidents occurring, NIOSH conducts testing at two laboratories dedicated to this purpose. The agency conducts a variety of tests at these two facilities, evaluating and establishing standards for fall-related accidents, machine safety, cab safety and risk assessment.

In one laboratory, pilot testing is conducted to assess individual cab accommodations in vehicles like fire engines and large trucks. Tests run at another facility include field evaluations of the fall risks roofing employees face, assessing fall accidents and conducting impact studies for ambulances. This laboratory is designed to study strategies for minimizing fall-related injuries and large equipment safety for applications used in agriculture, construction or industrial work.

Employees who are injured on the job because of substandard safety equipment or dangerous machinery may benefit from consulting legal counsel. Attorneys who have experience in workers' compensation matters can assist injured clients in filing a claim for benefits that could include payment of the costs of necessary medical care as well as a percentage of wages lost due to an absence from work.

Source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, "Machine Safety", accessed on Jan. 25, 2015

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