Don’t Let Your Guard Down | Machine Guarding

Operating and maintaining machinery can be very dangerous work. Machines that have parts that rotate, reciprocate, cut, punch, shear, or perform other motions, can cause very serious injuries to workers. Each year, machines are involved in approximately 18,000 amputations and 800 deaths that occur in the workplace.

Employees who operate and care for machinery may be at risk while performing various activities, such as machine set-up, inspection, maintenance, cleaning, lubricating, troubleshooting, and also during regular operations.

If a machine part, function or process could create worker injuries, these hazards need to be eliminated or controlled. Safeguards are essential to prevent workers from coming into direct contact with dangerous machine parts.

OSHA has also enacted many requirements for Machine Guarding based on the type of machine being used and the potential hazards. Below are some minimum general requirements for machine safeguards:

  • Prevent Contact – The safeguard must prevent contact between the worker’s body and dangerous moving parts.
  • Secure Safeguards – The safeguard must be durable and firmly secured to the machine. Safeguards should not be easily removed or tampered with.
  • Protect from Falling Objects – The safeguard must keep objects from falling into moving parts.
  • No New Hazards – The safeguard must not create a new hazard in the process of providing protection from a hazard.
  • No Interference – The safeguard should not interfere with the worker’s ability to do the job comfortably.
  • Allow Lubrication – The safeguard should not need to be removed for machine lubrication.

OSHA’s requirements and additional safety information can be reviewed through the Machine Guarding eTool available on their website. Also, see OSHA’s Safeguard Self-Inspection Checklist for a handy resource to help identify safeguarding needs in the workplace.

Date Posted: 05-01-2016
Tags: machine guards, machine safeguarding, machine safety, osha machine guarding, osha safety topics, osha workplace safety,
Categories: OSHA Safety,