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Modifications to machinery reduces risk for employee injuries

Pennsylvania employees who work with stone-cutting machines or rock cutters may know that the machines can potentially be dangerous or hazardous if used carelessly or incorrectly. What they may not know is that many of the machines available on the market pose serious amputation risks for the employee.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration reportedly investigated the rock-cutting machinery used by a landscape construction company in Englewood, Colorado. Investigators found that, in order to cut the stones, the operator was required to keep one hand on the controls and the other hand on the back of the stone. According to OSHA, this method required the operator to put his hand near the unguarded cutting blade, causing the risk of amputation or severe injury.

However, the manufacturer of the stone-cutting machine worked with OSHA to retrofit the machine. They added controls that required two hands to use, which meant that the operator did not have access to the cutting tool while it was in motion. If the operator removed his hand from either of the controls, the blade stops. The report indicated that the modification made to the machine was relatively inexpensive.

All employers are responsible for providing their employees with workplaces that are safe. While there are always risks and hazards associated with certain industries, the employer is responsible for mitigating or reducing those risks as much as possible. If an employee still becomes injured on the job, they may be eligible to obtain workers' compensation benefits from their employer's insurance provider. These benefits may include compensation for any medical bills that were accumulated during the treatment of the injury and for wages that were lost due to the employee's inability to work.

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