Today’s working conditions in developed nations are relatively safe compared to those in the past. During the past two centuries, improvements in technology, regulatory measures, and organized efforts to improve workplace safety have cut workplace injuries and deaths to a tiny fraction of what they used to be. Workplace fatalities dropped from 61 per 100,000 in 1913 to 3.4 per 100,000 in 2015. From 1992 to 2010, there was an average annual decrease in machine-related deaths of 2.8%.
Most of the gains in safety haven’t been achieved by accident. While causes of injuries vary by industry, the common theme among all of these industries is that deliberate efforts are made to make injuries less common. In manufacturing, one of the fundamental and time-tested safety measures is the inclusion of machine guarding. Safety fencing secures a perimeter around potentially dangerous machinery that can only be breached by authorized personnel.
Machine perimeter fencing isn’t a silver bullet solution to machine-related accidents. Once workers are inside the fencing, it’s still possible to come into contact with hazardous machine parts. However, the fencing is highly effective at keeping unauthorized and inexperienced personnel away from dangerous machines and reducing the likelihood of accidental contact with them in the first place. Anyone entering the enclosed area will be doing so on purpose in order to use or repair the machine, and so will not have fallen into the machine or come into contact with it unexpectedly.
Machine Perimeter Fencing: It’s the Law
Machine guarding isn’t just a recommended add-on for warehouses with machinery areas; it’s an OSHA requirement. As part of their ongoing effort to reduce machinery-related injuries and deaths in the workplace, OSHA requires machinery areas in warehouses to be enclosed by appropriate safety fencing. Like or dislike, agree or disagree, machine perimeter fencing is legally required in warehouse machinery areas, and failure to comply may result in stiff penalties and fines. The potential cost of OSHA penalties or harm to personnel will put any of the inconvenience of machine perimeter fencing into perspective for most warehouse managers.
Machine Guard Fencing Features and Specs
Machine perimeter guarding, such as the Saf-T-Fence from Folding Guard, are often sold as modular units to provide flexibility in terms of design and area coverage. If needs change, the individual components can be switched around, added, or subtracted. A variety of locking options and door styles allow warehouse operators to hand pick the components that work best for their application. Considering the stakes (safety, wellbeing, employee morale, OSHA penalties), safety fencing is a cost effective solution that won’t crush the company’s bottom line. Made from high strength materials, machine safety fencing is not a recurring cost, but a stable long-term safety investment.
As a matter of good practice, machine perimeter fencing should be high on the list of things to check for when doing a walk-through of a client’s warehouse. If a warehouse machinery area lacks the required fencing, the owners of the operation could face serious penalties and are at higher risk of loss time injuries. Machine guarding is a simple value add for clients already planning to install pallet rack and safety products.
Remember to give us a call or email us to learn more about machine perimeter fencing and other safety products. Our goal is to help you, so let us know if there’s information you’d like to see featured in our blog, website, or emails!