When is industrial equipment no longer safe?

On Behalf of | Feb 8, 2019 | Workers' Compensation |

One of the keys to maintaining a safe industrial workplace in Florida is keeping the equipment used on the job in good condition. However, machinery does not last forever, and when the time arrives, your company should replace the equipment with a new and safe model. Since malfunctioning equipment can seriously injure a worker or possibly cause death, it is crucial to recognize when the machinery at your workplace may be breaking down.

Industrial Safety & Hygiene News explains that industrial equipment has a normal operating lifespan. By checking the documents that come with the machinery, employers can tell how long the equipment will last before it may start to malfunction. However, using machinery for long periods of time or in difficult environments may wear it out even sooner than the documented lifespan. Regardless, being aware of how industrial equipment lasts tells companies and employers when they should consider replacing it before something goes wrong.

Sometimes workplace equipment will only glitch or malfunction to a minor extent. A conveyor belt may slow or come to a stop, but will start up again if someone reboots the system or just hits the on switch. These slowdowns may cost a company money but do not present a threat to workers, at least not yet. These glitches or malfunctions could portend even more serious breakdowns to come and should be reported.

Unfortunately, minor malfunctions cannot be dealt with if supervisors are not aware of them. Workers should know who to report malfunctioning machinery to. Without a clear chain of command, problematic equipment may go unnoticed by supervisors. This is why industrial workplaces should have clear procedures in place to report malfunctioning equipment to superiors before breakdowns become serious or life threatening.

Conducting regular inspections or having equipment checked before and after use can also identify the potential for a dangerous mechanical breakdown. The equipment may still work fine, but the discovery of frayed machinery parts, missing components or leaks can indicate that trouble may occur down the road. Even if no obvious signs of a problem are detected, workers should be trained to notice odd wear patterns from the equipment that might show something is wrong.

Be aware that this article is written to educate readers about workplace accidents and does not convey any legal advice.

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