Author Topic: Machine Guarding  (Read 20263 times)

Offline Flying Colors

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Re: Machine Guarding
« Reply #45 on: December 19, 2014, 11:32:45 PM »
Update on the MiOsha issues we have been dealing with. Sorry for the length but this is going to be a long post...

What began as a single visit morphed into 4 separate Inspection Numbers with 3 different inspectors from 2 different agencies.

They came to our facility because of a complaint. Since it was a complaint they could ONLY look at the issues brought up from the complaint and could not do a wall to wall inspection. During their investigation of the 5 points from the complaint if they saw anything that was egregious in nature the investigation could turn into a wall to wall inspection. We were fortunate that it did not turn into a wall to wall inspection but he did notice ink on our dumpster and referred an inspector from the DEQ to look into that.

3 of the 5 complaints were total BS and were not taken seriously by the inspector. The two he took seriously were the Machine Guarding and ventilation of chemicals. During our closing conference the inspector issued a Serious Violation and fine ($750) for the lack of Machine Guarding on our 3 automatics and gave us 60 days to remedy the situation. He also referred an Industrial Hygienist who works for MiOsha to look into the ventilation of our chemicals because he was not qualified.

The Industrial Hygienist came out and inspected our SDS sheets, eye wash, storage of chemicals, where we used the chemicals, labeling of secondary containers, our Hazard Communication Program, Respiratory Program, and watched how the chemicals were used. She ended up coming in a second time with a machine that we hooked to a couple of employees and monitored the air around them while working and using Press Wash, adhesives, ink, etc...

We passed the employee monitoring tests but our Hazard Communication Program, Eye Wash, Respiratory Program and labeling of secondary containers were not up to par. In all 4 situations we had something in place but did not have it completed to their standards. For example, our eye wash was just a standard bottle that you squeeze into your eye, they wanted an eye wash station that could supply 15 psig for 15 minutes. She issued  minor violations for all those AND for not properly monitoring our Optilux Reflective Ink prior to putting it into production. While she was going through our SDS sheets she noticed the reflective ink and saw that it had Sodium Chloride (I think that is the chemical) in it. She asked if we have ever done air monitoring while an employee uses this ink and we never had. Since it had Sodium Chloride in the ink, to comply with their standards we needed to perform air monitoring while an employee prints with it before keeping it on our shelves and using it for production runs.

The fines levied by the Industrial Hygienist tallied up to $2100. I had no out for those fines so I called her boss the day we received the paperwork and agreed to an informal settlement and had the fines reduced to by 50%.

Back to the ink on the dumpster.... The DEQ inspector came and noticed the ink on the Dumpster, not a ton by any stretch of the imagination but there was some on the top edges of the dumpster. We also have a large floor drain inside of the shop that is covered by a manhole which has slits in it. He observed some packaging materials like popcorn and tape in the drain and asked us if it went to the storm drains or to the sewage drains. His concerns were that the ink on the dumpster and packaging materials were making there way into the storm drains and contaminating them.

This is the best part though, he was not going to fine us OR make us fix the issue we just had to pay $350 YEARLY for a license that basically allows us to do that. Even though I was frustrated and did not want to argue with the guy, I also did not want to piss away $350 per year. I asked him what we could do to avoid paying the yearly extortion (I mean license fee). He said basically nothing and to pay it. My first question was can we just get a solid manhole cover instead of one with slits in it? He said yes that is would be fine. Then I asked if we could get a brand new clean dumpster and alter the way we handle our ink waste and he also said that would be fine. As you can see he was very helpful... 

I called Waste Management and I was very happy to hear that part of our contract we are eligible to receive a new dumpster once a year. So, I bought a new manhole cover for $165, ordered the new dumpster, took a few pics and emailed the DEQ inspector and we were all good to go.

Now back to the machine guarding, every inexpensive idea I threw at the inspector were shot down. He said the only thing that would work would be a laser curtain. I read up on my appeal options but did not want to because I thought it might open up a can of worms and he would come back pissed off and nit pick us to death. Finally, after investigating M&R's laser curtain and having a few machine guarding companies down to take a look and having them ALL tell us that this seems unreasonable I decided to call the inspectors boss.

My plan was to try and be a polite as possible, prod a little bit and see what his thoughts were about the situation. I wanted to ask if he had any ideas and to see if he thought I had any wiggle room on this. During the initial inspection the inspector took photos of the machines; that helped tremendously when I was talking to the Supervisor and explaining how the machines work. To my surprise before I could even get into that much he just said "Do not spend any more time or money on this, if I were you I would appeal". I was caught off guard and probably stuttered 10 times and could not get off the phone quick enough to file the appeal. So, I went down the appeal path and just today I received the letter saying the Violation and Fine were being excused. I was so relieved when I read that letter and my heart was pounding when I was opening it up.

I really learned a lot during the past 3.5 months and I am not happy to have to pay 1k in fines; however it is going to make us a better company and bottom line is we went half way on some items and did not follow the MiOsha standards 100%. I am just thankful that the machine guarding issues fell our way and crossing my fingers that we did not piss anyone off by appealing.

Well, thats my story and hopefully it is not too much rambling and makes sense since I typed this on a Friday night after a few beers.

If anyone has any issues comparable in the future feel free to contact me and I will help in any way I can.


« Last Edit: December 19, 2014, 11:54:47 PM by Flying Colors »

Offline Binkspot

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Re: Machine Guarding
« Reply #46 on: December 20, 2014, 06:52:54 AM »
That's awsome, congratulations.

Offline Underbase37

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Re: Machine Guarding
« Reply #47 on: December 20, 2014, 09:50:38 AM »
Thanks. All that is great to know. That's cool things worked out for you.


Offline TCT

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Re: Machine Guarding
« Reply #48 on: December 21, 2014, 10:57:04 AM »
Great to hear Mark! Sounds like keeping your cool paid off!

Hopefully I'll never have to grow up and get a real job...

Offline ZooCity

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Re: Machine Guarding
« Reply #49 on: December 22, 2014, 02:04:26 PM »
Congrats Mark.  Sometimes all that's needed is to sit down with someone sane and say "um....really?". 

I actually like inspections because it makes us safer.  I don't like some of the nonsense behavior described in your posts, things like fining you because a scrap of tape was near a storm drain or because a little ink was on a dumpster, that's just silly.  But I appreciate the opportunity to make the place safer, just like you do.  Way to make lemonade there. 

Offline tonypep

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Re: Machine Guarding
« Reply #50 on: December 22, 2014, 02:31:08 PM »
They made us put guards at the back rollers of all the dryers. "Nip Points"

Offline Dottonedan

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Re: Machine Guarding
« Reply #51 on: December 22, 2014, 04:28:51 PM »
WOW. This is such a valuable post that all future readers/shop owners can learn from.  Good one. Very good.
Thanks for taking the time to share that with us.
Artist & Sim Process separator, Co owner of The Shirt Board, Past M&R Digital tech installer for I-Image machines. Over 28 yrs in the apparel industry. Apparel sales,  e-mail 615-821-7850