Guarding & Safety Systems
machine parts have the potential for causing severe workplace
injuries, such as crushed fingers or hands, amputations, burns,
blindness or even death. Safeguards are essential for protecting
workers from these needless and preventable injuries. Any machine
part, function, or process that may cause injury must be safeguarded.
When the operation of a machine or accidental contact with it
can injure the operator or others in the vicinity, the hazards
must be either eliminated or controlled.
Some Typical Requirements for Safeguards
What must a safeguard do to protect workers against mechanical
hazards? Safeguards must meet these minimum general requirements:
contact: The safeguard must prevent hands, arms, or any
other part of a worker's body from making contact with dangerous
moving parts. A good safeguarding system eliminates the possibility
of the operator or another worker placing their hands near hazardous
Workers should not be able to easily remove or tamper with the
safeguard, because a safeguard that can easily be made ineffective
is no safeguard at all. Guards and safety devices should be
made of durable material that will withstand the conditions
of normal use. They must be firmly secured to the machine.
from falling objects: The safeguard should ensure that no
objects can fall into moving parts. A small tool which is dropped
into a cycling machine could easily become a projectile that
could strike and injure someone.
no new hazards: A safeguard defeats its own purpose if it
creates a hazard of its own such as a shear point, a jagged
edge, or an unfinished surface which can cause a laceration.
The edges of guards, for instance, should be rolled or bolted
in such a why that they eliminate sharp edges.
no interference: Any safeguard which impedes a worker from
performing the job quickly and comfortably might soon be overridden
or disregarded. Proper safeguarding can actually enhance efficiency
since it can relieve the worker's apprehensions about injury.
safe lubrication: If possible, one should be able to lubricate
the machine without removing the safeguards. Locating oil reservoirs
outside the guard, with a line leading to the lubrication point,
will reduce the need for the operator or maintenance worker
to enter the hazardous area.