Role of Machine Safety Guards in Preventing Injuries at Workplace

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worker safety

In any business in which heavy machinery is employed, the moving parts of the machine pose a variety of dangers to the health and safety of workers. It can put the life of the operator in danger. Guarding machines is the practice of securing machine parts functions, processes and functions which could cause injury to the machine’s operator. The following guidelines can assist in safeguarding machines under the necessary standards.

Types of Machines

Every industry depends on machines to manage its operations. Power and hand tools need to be protected, particularly those employed in the construction sector. They include jack-levers, drills, power saws, air receivers and many more. It is a requirement that any establishment which uses machines must adhere to specific safety standards, regardless of whether it’s a bakery, a machine shop within an academic establishment or a carpentry workshop, or a repair shop for electronics or any other. When machines are employed in such environments, security is essential.

Areas requiring Machine Guarding

There are three main areas in which safeguarding is necessary. These are the most vulnerable areas where injuries regularly occur. They are mainly located where the machine operates and the power transmission equipment and the moving components that make up the machinery.

The point of operation is the location where the work is carried out by the machine. It includes shaping, cutting, mixing, shearing, or drilling holes in the materials. Power transmission is the term used to describe the fundamental component of the machine that transfer power to the area of operations, for instance, conveyor belts, pulleys chains, cranks and gears. Other moving parts include those that move while the machine operates, like the feed mechanism and other parts that rotate. In all of these places, accidents can occur, and each system component should be secured.

Labour rights organisations like OSHA have laid down guidelines on how to provide solutions for machine guarding hazards. Refer to:  osha.gov/machine-guarding/solutions.

Requirements for Minimum Machine Safeguarding

In light of the areas mentioned above and activities that can pose a danger for machines, there are numerous methods of protecting the machine dependent on the purpose of the machine and the operator. This summarises the fundamental requirements to use security measures on machines.

* Avoiding contact: The safeguards that are built into the machine will stop the user from coming into contact with moving components. The operator’s hands, head, arms, legs, feet, or any other body part should not contact the machine’s hazardous parts.

* Safety from falling objects: the protection is designed to prevent falling objects like tiny tools away from falling onto the machine’s moving components as they could become projectiles that could cause injury to others.

* The safeguard should allow for safe lubrication. The safeguard should enable the operators to lubricate the machine without taking away the protection. It is recommended to use an oil reservoir that connects directly to the lubrication point so that operators don’t have to get close to moving components.

* No interference: the safeguard employed should not block or stop the operator from operating the machine effectively. Any interference caused by the safeguard could result in the operator having to take it off or bypass it, which could create more dangers.

In addition to the guards’ requirements, Machine operators should also wear the proper protective equipment to ensure maximum safety. Operators also need to be instructed to use machines in a safe manner and create a safe working setting.

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