November / December 2002
By Sean M. Alvarez
According to OSHA, workers who
operate and maintain machinery suffer approximately 18,000
amputations, lacerations, crushing injuries, abrasions,
and over 800 deaths per year. You can help to reduce injuries
of this nature at your workplace by developing and implementing
a Machine Guarding Safety Program.
Effective Machine Guarding Safety
Programs are fundamental components of most workplace safety
and health programs. Machine guarding helps to prevent
items such as arms, fingers, hair and clothing from coming
into contact with moving or dangerous parts of machinery.
Without such guarding, the result can be severe or even
To develop such a program you
should first understand the ways that your machinery can
move and the non-moving hazards of the equipment. These
movements and hazards can cause severe damage should a body
part come in contact.
You should identify the "Points
of Operation" and power transmission sources for each
machine or piece of equipment. Knowing both the moving
/ non-moving hazards of the machinery and the "Points
of Operation" will help you to understand what types
of guarding may be necessary.
You should evaluate the guards
present and the ability for the operator to bypass the guard.
Many injuries occur as a result of the operator removing
the guard because "It was in the way".
Many pieces of equipment are
engineered for safety. Removing manufacturer-installed
guards should be restricted, if not prohibited at your workplace.
You should employ a method such as a Job Safety Analysis
(JSA) to identify solutions to problematic guards, machines
or energy sources.
Finally, while machine guarding
is encouraged to prevent injuries, there are also some legal
requirements in OSHA standards that you need to know and
comply with. These include, but are not limited to, OSHA
General Industry Standards, Title 29 of the Code of Federal
Regulations (CFR), Part 1910 and the Construction Industry
Standards in CFR 1926. Specifically, you should become
familiar with the requirements of Subpart O of the General
Industry Standards and/or Subpart I of the Construction
A Machine Guarding Safety Program
can significantly improve the safety at your workplace.
Make sure that your employees are properly trained on the
use of each piece of equipment and the guards that protect
Remember, wherever there is a
machine part, function or process that can cause injury
to your employees, you must provide guards. Learn more
about machine guarding and how to develop your own Machine
Guarding Safety Program by using the following links as
OSHA Subpart O:
1910 Subpart O - Machinery and
1910.211 - Definitions.
1910.212 - General requirements
for all machines.
1910.213 - Woodworking machinery
1910.215 - Abrasive wheel machinery.
1910.216 - Mills and calenders
in the rubber and plastics industries.
1910.217 - Mechanical power presses.
1910.217 App A - Mandatory requirements
for certification/validation of safety systems for presence
sensing device initiation of mechanical power presses
1910.217 App B - Nonmandatory
guidelines for certification/validation of safety systems
for presence sensing device initiation of mechanical power
1910.217 App C - Mandatory requirements
for OSHA recognition of third-party validation organizations
for the PSDI standard
1910.217 App D - Nonmandatory
1910.218 - Forging machines.
1910.219 - Mechanical power-transmission
OSHA Machine Guarding Standard
Guide to Practical Machine Guarding - Queensland Government
Concepts and Techniques of Machine
Safeguarding . OSHA Publication 3067 (1992), 9 chapters.
An OSHA publication covering nearly all aspects of Machine
Safeguarding Equipment and Protecting
Workers from Amputations. OSHA Publication 3170 (2001) 1186K
PDF. This publication is a generic, non-exhaustive overview
of standards-related topics that provides information to
help identify and manage common amputation hazards associated
with operating and using stationary equipment.
for Machine Guarding. Government of Manitoba, Workplace
Safety and Health Branch. All about guarding, guarding
methods, guard construction and a machine guarding checklist.
Machine Guarding . ES&H Bulletin #23, Stanford Linear
Accelerator Center (SLAC); General discussion of machine
hazards and proper safeguarding techniques.
Topic: Machinery Safety . The National Ag Safety Database
(NASD), Several informative NASD documents discussing machinery
safety for different types of agricultural equipment, and
machine guarding in general.
guarding checklist from Oklahoma State University EHS
ALERT: Preventing Scalping and Other Severe Injuries from
Farm Machinery. NIOSH Publication No. 94-105 (1994,
June), 8 pages. This NIOSH alert includes case studies involving
farm machinery injuries, discussions of machinery hazards,
and recommendations for preventing injuries.
Machine Hazards. Ohio State University Extension, Agricultural
Engineering Fact Sheet. Hhazards associated with farm machinery
and the importance of guarding.
Industrial Robots and Robot System
Safety. OSHA Technical Manual.
Services Safety. Office of Health and Safety Information
System (OhASIS), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
(CDC), Health and Safety Manuals, Engineering Safety Manual.
Chapter 16-00-40 entitled
"Machinery" of this CDC manual discusses general
machinery safety as well as guarding requirements.
Guarding Requirements - Princeton University Health
and Safety Guide policy document
DOE OSH Technical Reference. Includes information on safety
for woodworking machinery.
Potential Hazards Associated
with the Use of Replacement Materials for Machine Guarding.
US Dept of Labor Hazard Information Bulletin - 14K PDF.
Replacement machine guard must meet or exceed the manufacturer's
original design specifications.
1910.217(g) Point of Operation
Injury Reports 8/94 - 12/00 FR, Vol. 39 No. 233 (1974, December
3). Final Rule. Chart of injury reports from 8/94 - 12/00.
A chart summarizing "point of operation" injuries
from mechanical power presses.
and Amputations Resulting from Work with Mechanical Power
Presses. NIOSH Publication. This Intelligence Bulletin
describes the hazards of mechanical power presses and provides
of Radiofrequency PVC welding machines (PDF)
on Mincing Machines - Queensland Government (PDF)
of Rising Blade Type Docking Saws(PDF)
of Hydracut Guillotines - Queensland Government (PDF)
Guards - Queensland Government (PDF)
of Table Saws (October 1998) - Queensland Government
of Brake presses in an Unguarded Condition - Queensland
of Automatically Controlled Machinery - Queensland Government
Hoppers, Silos and Similar Storage Bins - Queensland
of Powered Chopper/Shredder Machines - Queensland Government
of Cooling Fan on Kubota GV Generator - Queensland Government
Bulk Cement and Gravel Mixers - Queensland Government
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