Machine Guarding

in Machine Safety Blog by John

An Introduction to Machine Guarding

Machine guarding can be physical barriers or devices that limit or eliminate peoples access to dangerous areas of a machine.

An Example:

An example of machine guarding is the cover around your portable fan at home.  The steel mesh allows air to be moved by the fan, but it also acts as a barrier so that nobody gets hurt by the rotating fan blades.

fan with safety guard installed.

Types of Machine Guarding

  1. Fixed guards like the photo of the fan guard around the blades in the photo above.  You should try to have these before any other types of machine guarding types.  Fixed guards cannot be removed easily without the use of tools.
  2. Adjustable guards that can be moved or placed depending on the operation.  These should be used by operators that have been properly trained on how to use adjustable guards properly.
  3. Interlocked guards have sensors that prevent machine startup if a guard is open.  In the photo below, if the guard is flipped open, a safety switch will disable machine startup or stop the machine immediately.
  4. Sensors and devices such as light curtains, two-hand controls or pressure sensitive mats.  These should be used as a last resort if physical guards cannot be used.
Example of an interlocked machine guard.

Example of interlocked machine guarding.

Why is Machine Guarding Important?

Safety guarding protects people from dangerous machine parts.  Any part of a machine that can cause injury must be safeguarded because it will reduce the chance that an injury could occur.  Safety is paramount and safety guards on machinery can prevent amputations, lacerations, and other preventable injuries.  Never remove a safety guard!  They are there for a reason and should never be taken off.

About Us

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You can find out more specific information on the OSHA website.  Visit the website by clicking here.