Machine guards are essential to protect us from accidental contact, being pulled into, or being hit by objects thrown from hazardous moving parts on equipment or machines during their operation. Machines must only be operated with all guards intact and in operable condition. Machine guards come in a variety of configurations and serve different purposes. They cannot guard against the hazard if not installed, adjusted, and used as designed.
Minimum requirements for guards:
- Prevent contact.
- Prevent objects from falling into the machine.
- Be secure and not easily removed.
- Allow for safe, efficient lubrication.
- Creates no interference with job function.
- Does not create an accident hazard in itself.
- Ensure guards are repaired if damaged:
- No broken fastening tabs.
- Fasteners remain tight holding guard to machine securely.
- No torn/damaged pieces on guarding material.
Points to always guard:
- Pinch points
- Wrap points
- Shear points
- Crush points
- Pull-in points
- Points from where objects can be thrown
Steps that can help you and others remain safe around machinery include:
- Never start a machine without guards in place.
- Before guards are removed for repair or adjustment, the power should be turned off, all devices de-energized and lockout procedures followed.
- After routine maintenance or repairs, double check to ensure that guards have been securely replaced.
- Never wear loose clothing or jewelry when working around machinery.
- Make sure you know how to turn the power off should an emergency arise.
- For machines that require “feeding”, always use a push block or stick. Never use your hands.
- Never reach around or under a machine guard.
- Keep all guards in good condition.
Supervisors are responsible for ensuring their employees/students are trained in the safe operation of the machines which will be used.
Employees/students are responsible for notifying their supervisor if a guard is damaged or missing, for not operating a machine without operable guards as originally designed, and for not removing or otherwise modifying a guard.