Safety Talks – Machine Guarding
Machine Guarding Sign

Machine guarding is crucial for protecting workers against preventable injuries such as crushed fingers or hands, amputations, burns, and blindness. Below is a basic overview of some of the more important points related to machine guarding.

Basic Terminology

Parts of the machine requiring guarding

  • Point of Operation: the area where machine performs work on material
  • Power Transmission Apparatus: Machine components that transmit energy such as belts, gears, flywheels, chans, pulleys, spindles, couplings and cams.
  • Other Moving Parts: Reciprocating, rotating, traversing motions, auxiliary machine parts.

Types of mechanical motion that MUST be guarded

  • Pinch Points: Points at which it is possible to be caught between moving parts, or between moving and stationary parts of a piece of equipment.
  • Rotating: Circular motion of shafts with a protrusion sticking out can grip clothing or pull body parts into the point of operation.
  • Reciprocating: Back-and-forth or up-and-down motions that may trap or strike a worker between the moving object and a fixed object.
  • Traversing: Movement in straight, continuous line that may strike or catch an employee in a pinch or shear point between a moving and fixed object.
  • Cutting: Action of sawing, boring, drilling, milling, slicing
  • Punching: The action that results from a machine moving a slide (ram) to stamp a sheet of metal or other material.
  • Shearing: Movement of a powered slide or knife during metal trimming or paper cutting.
  • Bending: Action occuring when power is applied to a slide to draw or form metal or other materials.

Common Machines that require guards

  • Circular waws
  • Power feed planer
  • Drill presses
  • Reciprocating saws
  • Shaper
  • Grinding wheels
  • Band saw
  • Lathe
  • Mechanical power press
  • Jointer
  • Sander
  • Mortising machine

Further Discussion

  • Identify all the machines in your shop that require guarding.
  • Inspect your machines to ensure the guards are correctly positioned, intact and in place.
  • Replace any guards that are broken or defective.