Home » Business Division » Construction » News and Events
News and Events
Hazards of Operating Unguarded Stonecutters and Splitters - October 2017
When used improperly or without proper training,
stonecutting machines can cause amputations and other serious injuries. Workers
can suffer eye and face injuries from flying rock fragments; amputations can
also occur when shears or stone cutters are not guarded properly and a worker's
hands or other body part is placed in the point of operation during operation.
The following measures will prevent or greatly reduce the
chance that a worker using a stone cutter or splitter will suffer an amputation
or other serious injury:
- Identify the hazards of powered stone cutters and splitters
prior to being used, asking questions such as the following:
- Does the equipment have machine guarding at the point of
- Can the guarding be easily removed or bypassed?
- Does the guarding keep the operator's hands, fingers and
body out of the danger area?
- Is there evidence that the machine guarding has been
tampered with or removed?
- Could changes be made on the machine to eliminate the point
of operation hazard entirely?
- Are the machine manufacturer's recommended safety procedures
available to the operator and being followed?
- Ensure stone cutters are equipped with machine guarding to
prevent worker access to the point of operation, as required by 29 CFR
1910.212(a)(3)(ii) and 1926.300(b)(4)(ii). A good system eliminates the possibility
of the operator or another worker placing parts of their bodies where they
could be injured by hazardous moving parts. Examples of machine guarding methods
include two-handed starting devices, barrier guards, remote-operator controls and
electronic safety devices.
- Conduct regular inspections and keep machinery clean and
properly maintained. Good inspection, maintenance and repair procedures
contribute significantly to the safety of the machine operator. Routinely
inspect and maintain machinery according to the manufacturer's recommendations
and good engineering practice.
- Identify other possible machine-related hazards that may
pose a risk of injury and necessitate the use of personal protective equipment
(PPE), as required by 29 CFR 1910.132(d) and 1926.95(a).
- Provide workers with PPE that adequately protects them from
recognized hazards and ensure that it is used properly, as required by 29 CFR
1910.132(d)(1) and 1926.95(a). For example, provide safety glasses with side
shields or face shields for workers exposed to eye hazards, face shields to
protect workers' faces from flying rock chips, or gloves to protect workers' hands
from cuts and abrasions from handling rock or stone.
- Train workers on the following topics:
- All hazards in the work area, including machine-specific
- Machine-operating procedures
- The purpose and proper use of machine guarding, including
instruction in the safe use and care of the machines
- Procedures for addressing unsafe conditions, such as
immediately reporting problems with machine guards
- Safe use of PPE, as required by 29 CFR 1910.132(f)
- Provide adequate supervision and reinforce safe practices by
ensuring the following:
- Only trained workers operate machinery
- Machine operators do not wear loose-fitting clothing,
jewelry or other items that could become entangled in the machinery
- All other workers are prohibited from being near the machine
during cutting operations
- For more information on keeping workers safe from stone-cutters,
or to examine the relevant OSHA standards, go to www.osha.gov.