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Why do some machines have two-hand controls?

On Behalf of | Apr 26, 2024 | Workers' Compensation |

When workers have to use machines in a warehouse or factory setting – such as conveyor belts or hydraulic presses – some of these machines may have a single button that activates them. This makes it simple and focuses on efficiency so that the worker can get their tasks done as quickly as possible.

But other machines will have two-button controls, and these buttons will be separated by a substantial distance. This does mean that it usually takes longer for the worker to use this type of machine. There’s no way for them to push both buttons with one hand, so they have to reach up with both hands to activate the device. Why are the controls designed this way and what is the benefit if it slows down production?

Preventing serious injuries

The goal of two-hand controls is that they can prevent some severe injuries, such as amputation injuries. They ensure that the worker’s hands will always be in the right place at the time that the machine activates.

For example, perhaps that machine is a hydraulic press. The worker has to take the material – like a piece of sheet metal – and set it into the press. They then have to activate it to press that material into the mold. 

With single-button controls, what would sometimes happen is that workers would still be holding or stabilizing the piece of sheet metal when the press activated. This could lead to crush injuries and amputation injuries. But if the worker has to push two buttons at once, it’s a guarantee that they have removed their hands from the hazardous area.

These types of safety systems help, but they certainly don’t prevent all injuries. Workers who have been hurt on the job should be well aware of the legal options at their disposal.