Article

A randomized, controlled intervention of machine guarding and related safety programs in small metal-fabrication businesses.

Park Nicollet Institute, Minneapolis, MN, USA.
Public Health Reports (Impact Factor: 1.42). 124 Suppl 1:90-100.
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Metal fabrication employs an estimated 3.1 million workers in the United States. The absence of machine guarding and related programs such as lockout/tagout may result in serious injury or death. The purpose of this study was to improve machine-related safety in small metal-fabrication businesses.
We used a randomized trial with two groups: management only and management-employee. We evaluated businesses for the adequacy of machine guarding (machine scorecard) and related safety programs (safety audit). We provided all businesses with a report outlining deficiencies and prioritizing their remediation. In addition, the management-employee group received four one-hour interactive training sessions from a peer educator.
We evaluated 40 metal-fabrication businesses at baseline and 37 (93%) one year later. Of the three nonparticipants, two had gone out of business. More than 40% of devices required for adequate guarding were missing or inadequate, and 35% of required safety programs and practices were absent at baseline. Both measures improved significantly during the course of the intervention. No significant differences in changes occurred between the two intervention groups. Machine-guarding practices and programs improved by up to 13% and safety audit scores by up to 23%. Businesses that added safety committees or those that started with the lowest baseline measures showed the greatest improvements.
Simple and easy-to-use assessment tools allowed businesses to significantly improve their safety practices, and safety committees facilitated this process.

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