Machine Guarding: A Critical Safety Control
Machine guarding is a critical safety control that involves installing barriers or protective equipment to prevent workers from coming into contact with moving parts of machinery. The benefits of machine guarding are numerous and cannot be overstated, as it helps reduce the risk of workplace injuries and fatalities.
In this blog, we will detail several types of machine guarding and discuss the safety benefits of machine guarding and why it is essential to implement this practice in any workplace where workers are exposed to dangerous machinery.
Types of Machine Guarding
There are several types of machine guarding that are available, and the specific type that is used depends on the particular machine being guarded and the hazards associated with it. Some common types of machine guarding include:
- Fixed Guards: These are permanent barriers that are installed around the machine to prevent access to hazardous areas. They are often made of metal or other durable materials and are bolted or welded to the machine.
- Interlocked Guards: These guards use a safety interlock switch to control access to the hazardous area. The switch is connected to the machine’s control system and will stop the machine if the guard is opened.
- Adjustable Guards: These guards can be moved or adjusted to allow access to the machine’s working parts when necessary. They are typically used on machines that require frequent maintenance or tool changes.
- Self-Adjusting Guards: These guards move automatically to cover the hazardous area as the machine’s working parts move. They are often used on machines with rotating or reciprocating parts.
- Pullback Devices: These devices use cables or rods to pull the operator’s hands away from the hazardous area. They are often used on machines with feed rollers or other moving parts.
- Restraint Devices: These devices physically restrain the operator’s hands or body to prevent them from coming into contact with the hazardous area. They are often used on machines with high-speed moving parts.
- Safety Light Curtains: These curtains use sensors to detect the presence of a person and will stop the machine if someone enters the hazardous area.
Each type of machine guarding has its advantages and disadvantages, and the selection of the appropriate type depends on the specific hazards associated with the machine and the tasks being performed. It is essential to consult with a safety professional to determine the most appropriate type of machine guarding for a particular machine and work environment.
Below: Digital Machine Guarding Safety Checklist by DIGI CLIP
DIGI CLIP mobile forms provide digital safety & compliance checklists
Safety Benefits of Machine Guarding
- Prevents Accidents and Injuries: Machine guarding provides a physical barrier between workers and moving machine parts, which helps prevent accidents and injuries. The presence of machine guards can minimize the risk of accidental contact with machinery, which can cause serious injuries such as amputations, crush injuries, and lacerations.
- Compliance: Workplace Health and Safety guidelines and regulations require employers to implement machine guarding to protect workers from hazardous machinery. Compliance with these regulations not only prevents accidents and injuries but also ensures that employers are meeting their legal obligations to provide a safe workplace.
- Increases Productivity: Machine guarding can also increase productivity by minimizing the risk of machinery breakdowns due to accidental damage caused by contact with workers or other objects. A well-guarded machine is less likely to suffer damage and, therefore, requires less downtime for maintenance and repair.
- Improves Morale: Employees who work in an environment where their safety is a top priority tend to have higher morale and job satisfaction. Knowing that their employer has taken measures to protect them from hazardous machinery helps create a sense of security and trust in the workplace.
- Reduces Liability: Implementing machine guarding helps employers reduce their liability in the event of an accident or injury. When an employer can demonstrate that they have taken steps to protect workers from hazardous machinery, it can help reduce the risk of lawsuits and insurance claims.
Machine guarding is an essential safety practice that involves installing barriers or protective equipment to prevent workers from coming into contact with moving parts of machinery. The benefits of machine guarding cannot be overstated, as it helps reduce the risk of workplace injuries and fatalities, ensures compliance with regulations, increases productivity, improves employee morale, and reduces liability. The selection of the appropriate type of machine guarding depends on the specific hazards associated with the machine and the tasks being performed. It is important for employers to consult with a safety professional to ensure that the appropriate type of machine guarding is implemented in their workplace. By prioritizing the safety of workers, employers can create a safer and more productive work environment while reducing the risk of accidents and injuries.
DIGI CLIP mobile forms – What Do We Do?
DIGI CLIP mobile forms is an easy-to-use inexpensive digital checklist & inspection app and cloud-based software. DIGI CLIP is used across different industries to capture safety and compliance data and other information to help improve safety, compliance and operational efficiencies.
DIGI CLIP will allow you to remove paper reporting from your business – no more lost, late missing or illegible checklists. The DIGI CLIP mobile app allows images, comments and digital signatures to be added to checklists from a phone or tablet.
DIGI CLIP has a Form Library where you can access all of the above forms and more for your use. All checklists and inspections can be edited or updated to meet your risk and operational requirements.
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- SafeWork Australia – machine guarding
- WorkSafe Victoria – machine guarding
- SafeWork NSW – machine guarding
- SafeWork OLD – machine guarding
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