Published 24 May 2022
What is Machine Guarding?
Machine guarding is a safety feature or part of an equipment that functions as a barrier between the dangerous or moving parts of an equipment and the workers that operate the machines or work around them. It is implemented to prevent machine related injuries ranging from minor ones such as burns, cuts, minor abrasions, and severe ones like fractures, lacerations, crushing injuries and even amputation. Machine guarding requirements and standards are provided by health and safety authorities like OSHA and EHS to guide industries in the selection and procurement, safe work practices, inspection, and record keeping of machine guarding equipment and devices.
This machine guarding checklist can be used by supervisors and safety officers to cover the pre and post operation check of machine guards. Pre-operation checks are conducted to evaluate the condition of machine guards and the protection and training of workers. Begin with a description of the work, the names of employees and the type of guards to be inspected. Check the machine guards and determine if they are sufficient to prevent body parts from making contact with dangerous moving parts. Evaluate workers if they have sufficient knowledge of the machine and its operation including the guard types. Ensure that all workers are wearing appropriate protection and are following safe handling instructions when using machineries. Perform post-operation checks to determine if all machine guards are in good condition and that all incidents have been reported to the supervisor.
What is a Machine Guarding Checklist?
A machine guarding checklist is a tool used as a guide by safety officers and operations supervisors when inspecting the condition and correct use of machine guards in the workplace. A type of machine safety checklist, machine guarding checklists help ensure that machine guards are in good working condition and that workers are protected and aware of safe practices when operating equipment that requires machine guards.
In this article we will discuss the following:
- How vital machine guarding are in the workplace
- Machine guarding safety tips
- A powerful safety inspection tool used by multiple industries
- Free machine guarding safety checklists you can download and use right away
Importance of Machine Guarding
Workers who operate and maintain machinery suffer approximately 18,000 amputations, lacerations, crushing injuries, abrasions, and over 800 deaths per year in the United States alone (source: OSHA). These incidents can be minimized or eliminated through machine guarding. Installation and regular maintenance of machine guards can prevent worker’s body parts from making contact with hazardous machine equipment and flying debris. Additional defenses such as Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and proper training are key to ensuring safety when operating machinery in your workplace.
Machine Guarding Safety Tips
Employers should strive to keep their workplace and workers safe particularly when working with machinery. Here are some safety reminders when working with machine guards:
- Always check if guards are properly installed before commencing work.
- Machine guards must be placed in proper position and prevent physical contact with the operator.
- Ensure machine guards are secure and strong.
- Ensure workers cannot bypass, remove, or tamper machine guards.
- When installing machine guarding ensure that no objects can fall into moving parts of the machine.
- Ensure employees are trained on a specific machine guard.
- Machine guards should not obstruct the operator’s view.
- If possible, the machine should be lubricated without removing machine guards.
- A competent person must correct the machine guard immediately if defects were detected.
- Machine operators should be trained on the hazards associated with particular machines.
- Reinforce employee awareness of emergency protocols around machine guarding through toolbox talks.
- Lockout the machine before removing guard when performing maintenance.
- Conduct regular safety checks using a machine guarding checklist to reinforce safe practices around equipment.
Machine Guarding Inspection Tool
SafetyCulture (formerly iAuditor), a powerful safety inspection tool, can help safety officers and operations supervisors conduct safety inspections before and after machine operation. Use this free collection of customizable machine guarding safety templates to capture photos of machine deficiencies, create corrective actions, and generate on the spot reports with a handheld device. Reinforce safety in your team using machine guarding checklists on iAuditor.
Featured Machine Guarding Checklists
This OSHA machine guarding checklist is used for evaluating the preparedness of operators when handling machines. It also covers the inspection of the machine guards to ensure that it is securely placed and anchored. Use SafetyCulture (iAuditor) to take photos of identified issues and immediately generate a report for review and corrective action.
Perform LOTO checks before performing any maintenance work, repairs or installation of guarding on machinery. Record the nature of work, hazardous energy sources and the employees involved in the procedure. Evaluate if the step-by-step LOTO procedures are followed when applying and removing devices.
Wearing appropriate PPE minimizes or eliminates injury in the workplace. Use this template to check if the worker is fully protected against hazards in machine operation. Use SafetyCulture (iAuditor) to evaluate the condition of the equipment and the readiness of the worker before proceeding with the job.
Accurately documenting accidents is important to effectively formulate safety improvements in the organization. Use this template to record and track incidents related to machine use. Record injured worker’s information, injury details, report from emergency services and witness statements to identify the root cause and formulate solutions.