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Machine safety for workers and employers

Working around machinery involves certain risks. The improper use, maintenance or protection of machinery can lead to serious and sometimes fatal workplace injuries. This is why workers and employers in North Carolina will want to consider these five safety tips.

It all begins with a hazard assessment, where employers note those elements in the workplace that could pose a safety risk. They must then ensure that their employees wear the right personal protective equipment. This can include helmets, eye and ear protection, respirators, gloves and steel-toe shoes.

The next step is to make sure all machines have protective guarding. Examples include barrier guards, light curtains and devices that require two hands to operate. These can prevent rotating parts, sparks and flying chips from injuring workers. After that, employees must be trained on machine safety. Someone already experienced with machines can handle this step.

Employees should be instructed never to bother co-workers who are operating machinery. Interference can make them lose focus and endanger their lives. Staying clear of all moving parts is essential as well. Another tip is to secure all unloading zones. Unloading systems can malfunction and drop what they are carrying, so employers should put up signs clearly marking these zones.

Most North Carolina workers who are injured on the job have a right to file a claim for workers' compensation benefits. This is generally true regardless of fault. These benefits can include the payment or reimbursement of medical expenses as well as, in some case, the payment of a percentage of wages that were lost when the employee was unable to work while recovering. It is often advisable to have the assistance of an attorney throughout the process.

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