Modernized Safety Enclosure for Hazardous Machinery

NCMS Project #: 140907

Problem: Moving machinery is a physical danger to operators and prior to 1970 there were no regulatory requirements for operator safety. Potential for injury to human operators of these machines is high so they are implemented with barriers that limit access to moving parts while the machine is in use. In addition to potential for injury from moving parts of the machine, cutting operations result in removal of large volumes of metal chips. Workers (and passers-by who happen to be in the vicinity of the machine) can be exposed to eye damage from flying chips or cutting injury from exposed skin subjected to the sharp edges of chips. Accidents and negative effects to long-term worker health were all too common.

Benefit: Improved worker safety at LEAD is the first and most important public benefit of this project but that benefit can be extended to manufacturers across the U.S. that find themselves in a similar OSHA deficient state. By solving this issue today, U.S. commercial industries will avoid any potential OSHA penalties or fines for safety noncompliance. Employees will see that their employer takes their safety seriously and the morale, and quality of performance may increase. By retro-fitting fully functioning legacy CNC machines with the new safety equipment, rather than incurring the cost of new ones, the company could save money that could be reallocated toward upgrades or innovation. With higher performance as well as lower health care and worker absences due to injury, U.S. companies may have an edge over their competitors. With peak performance, companies may be able to add jobs, or invest resources back into the company and the community. By adding safety measures, companies can use their legacy equipment longer thus reducing the need to scrap the existing machines. This is an environmentally responsible consideration and is a smart move with forethought for raw materials.

Solution/Approach: Letterkenny Army Depot (LEAD), will be the test bed for demonstrating and evaluating a safety enclosure retrofitted to legacy CNC machines in operation to meet new OSHA regulations. Like all Department of Defense (DoD) maintenance depots, shipyards and many commercial industry manufacturers have machine tools that were acquired several decades ago prior to OSHA’s current safety requirements. The objective of this project is to design, build, and install two milling machine safety enclosure systems at LEAD as a test bed for industry assuring full compliance with all OSHA standards and beyond including recent OSHA interpretations.

Impact on Warfighter:

  • Reduce injuries and associated costs
  • Increase safety measures
  • Ensure OSHA compliance

DOD Participation:

  • U.S. Army (Letterkenny)

Industry Participation:

  • Keller Industrial Products
  • Exact Machine Services
  • NCMS

Benefit Area(s):

  • Cost savings
  • Obsolescence management and continued maintenance capability
  • Safety

Focus Area:

  • Energy, environmental, health, and safety

Final Report