Machine Shop Safety – Crushing Hazards

In a machine shop (especially those that service automobiles and other heavy equipment or tooling), there are specific crushing hazards that workers may encounter due to the nature of the tasks involved and the equipment used. Here are some scenarios where crushing hazards can occur:

Vehicle Jacks and lifts: Vehicle lifts are commonly used in machine shops for repairs, maintenance, and inspections. Workers can be at risk of crushing injuries if they are caught between the moving parts of the lift, such as the lift arms or hydraulic cylinders, or if the load unexpectedly shifts or falls while being lifted or lowered. Never use jacks as a means of support. Lifted equipment must be supported with suitable jack stands, blocking or cribbing.

Press Machines: Presses are used in machine shops for tasks such as pressing bearings, and for performing shearing, punching, and other metalworking operations. Workers can be at risk of crushing injuries if body parts or objects are caught between the moving parts of the press, such as the ram and the bed, or between work and the press. Keep hands and fingers clear when using a press.

Hoists and Cranes: Engine hoists and cranes are used to lift and move heavy components, tooling, and workpieces. Workers can be at risk of crushing injuries if they are struck or trapped by a swinging or falling load, or if the hoist or crane is improperly used.

Heavy Component Removal: During the disassembly and reassembly of heavy components and tooling, workers may encounter crushing hazards if they are not careful when removing or installing heavy parts such as engine blocks, cylinder heads, molds, dies or other tooling components. Improper lifting techniques or inadequate support can lead to accidents and injuries.

Material Handling Equipment: Material handling equipment such as forklifts, pallet jacks, or carts are used to transport parts, tools, and equipment within the shop. Workers can be at risk of crushing injuries if they are struck or run over by moving vehicles or if materials are dropped or mishandled.

To prevent crushing hazards in a machine shop, it’s essential to implement comprehensive safety measures, including safe work practices, and training programs for workers. Regular inspections, maintenance, and hazard assessments should be conducted to identify and address potential hazards before they lead to accidents or injuries. Additionally, clear communication, supervision, and adherence to safety protocols are crucial to ensuring a safe working environment for all employees.