The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has released the top 10 most cited violations for its fiscal year 2021. These citations follow inspections of worksites by federal OSHA. Lack of machine safeguarding once again made the "Top Ten List" of frequently cited safety violations of 2021 with a total of 1,313 violations. 

"While machinery plays a critical role in the production process and allows employees to work with less effort, they operate at the dangerous high speeds and pressures required to cut, shred, bend, punch and crush metal," said Joe Nitiss, president/CEO of Rockford Systems, LLC, a premier supplier of machine safeguarding solutions. "Without safeguarding in place, any physical contact with moving parts can result in severe injuries and even death."

Rockford Systems has been protecting employees since 1971, the year that OSHA was first established. The company was the first to bring to market a complete turnkey guarding solution that converted unprotected machines into OSHA-compliant equipment, a concept that revolutionized the safety industry.

According to Nitiss, the first step to a safer workplace is to conduct a risk assessment of all machinery on the shop floor. A risk assessment is a proven, methodical tool to identify, assess, and document the hazards of operating machinery, as well as quantify and prioritize risks according to their ranking or score. Once a Risk Assessment is completed, a Machine Safeguarding Assessment should be conducted. Leveraging an experienced team of safeguarding specialists, all of whom have dedicated OSHA, ANSI and NFPA 79 standards expertise, Rockford Systems' onsite Machine Safeguarding Assessments provide enterprises with a thorough understanding of machine hazards, and allows for the identification, design, and implementation of the correct hazard reduction methods to match their processes. 

The perceived high cost of Risk Assessments, Machine Safeguarding Assessments, and implementation and integration of machine safeguarding equipment prevents many companies from investing in properly safeguarding their machinery. However, when compared to an industrial accident, the cost is minimal. The National Safety Council (NSC) estimates that lost time alone associated with the average injury costs nearly $30,000. However, expenses related to an accident do not end there, as it will influence direct and indirect costs such as the injured employee’s quality of life, hospital expenses, lawsuits, employee morale, loss of reputation, and loss of production, among others.

The United States Department of Labor reported that private industry employers suffered 2.1 million nonfatal injuries in 2020, down from 2.7 million in 2019, a decline that many experts attribute to COVID-19 shutdowns, and not improved safeguarding.

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Source: Rockford Systems