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Safety around large machines in the workplace

Workers in Minnesota who work around large machines must be aware of safety procedures. These types of machines increase workplace efficiency, but they may also introduce hazards. A part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health has two test laboratories where it conducts various forms of research with the aim of increasingly workplace safety. Depending on the type of research being done at any given time, both of these laboratories have equipment that simulates the machines and conditions in workplaces from truck cabs to industrial factory floors.

At one laboratory, a catwalk assists in research into fall-related injuries while other equipment includes a 5-ton bridge crane, hydraulic actuators and a research test dummy wired to provide data as it is used various types of safety testing. Among other projects, the laboratory has tested fall safety equipment, protective equipment for tractor rollovers, and safety around entering and leaving construction equipment.

Another NIOSH laboratory does pilot testing in preparation for safety testing in the field. It has studied truck cab design, ambulance impact, and fall risks among roofing workers and health care workers.

Individuals who work around large machines should receive safety training and be informed about both emergency procedures and routine safety. Those who suffer an work accident may wish to consult an attorney about their eligibility for workers' compensation. The process of applying for benefits following a workplace accident may seem complicated, and workers may fear retaliation from employers. However, it is not legal for employers to take such an action, and workers should be able to access their benefits in a timely fashion.

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, "Machine Safety," accessed on Jan. 25, 2015

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