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Understanding OSHA’s Standard on Machinery and Machine Guarding

F Marie Athey OHST

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F Marie Athey OHST | November 18, 2013 | Comments Off on Understanding OSHA’s Standard on Machinery and Machine Guarding

Understanding OSHA’s Standard on Machinery and Machine GuardingGetting caught in between is one of the most common types of injuries in construction. Just like any other accident, it occurs when you least expect it. Often times, the cause of caught in between accidents or getting pinched by machinery are conveyor belts, cutting tools and energized equipment.

1910.212 is the OSHA standard that enforces the use of proper machine guarding on equipment. It details the general requirements for all machines. What do employers and employees need to know about machine guarding? Per OSHA:

– Different types of guarding should be provided to the machine or equipment operator as well as workers within proximity of the said machinery. These guards should be connected to the machine properly or to a nearby supporting structure securely and should not be hazards by themselves.

– A machine’s point of operation—the processing site on or inside a machine—requires the use of guarding that has been designed according to specific standards or according to worker’s need for protection. Machines that often require point operation guarding include cutters, shears, power saws and similar power tools, milling machines, power presses, rolls, etc.

– Fan blades that are less than seven feet from the floor should be guarded. The machine guarding used for the fans should feature opening that’s not bigger than half an inch.

– Hand tools used to pick up or remove materials should be easy to handle and should not put the hands of workers at risk. They should not be used to replace the purpose of any machine guarding and should be used only for added protection.

–  Any revolving part, cylinders or containers should be guarded with an enclosure. This enclosure should be fixed in a way that will not allow said revolving parts to move unless the enclosure has been attached to the said part.

It wasn’t mentioned in the standard, but OSHA always requires workers not to repair or remove any machine guarding if they are not trained or qualified to do so. And in case workers are trained to do so, proper lockout and tagout procedures should be observed. It only makes sense considering the dangers associated with operating heavy machinery, and sharp tools.

Machine guarding is a component of your OSHA 10 and 30 training program. For further information on machine guarding and other safety tips, check out our blog section regularly, or visit the website.

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