According to the U.S. Occupational safety and Health Administration, any machine part that can cause injury has to be safeguarded. For identifying any hazard, the machine has to be assessed properly. Only then the employees can be trained on the hazards of machine operation. Properly assessing the machine includes determining if anyone can possibly get injured on it. You also have to determine if the machine needs a guard and the maintenance part.
The Codified Federal Regulations laid down by OSHA are aimed towards protecting employees. For the workers in the general industry, the 29 CFR 1910 has been structured. This section regulates all the general requirements of all machines and defines machine guarding in detail.
Machine guarding is basically the process of guarding or protecting those parts of the machine that are most dangerous. These parts, as mentioned above are known as the points of operation of the machine. When these points are not properly safeguarded, employees are exposed to safety hazards.
There are many different types of machine safeguards. The type of guard that has to be used depends on the machine and the posed hazard. For example, machines like saws and drills have blades and sharp points. So, the guards for these tools would be coverings and casings. Then there are other machine guards like anti repeat features. These are basically used for enclosures and power presses. They help in preventing fingers, hands and limbs from slipping under a machine or into it while it is operating.
Workers should be trained on safety provisions before they start operating on machinery. There are many OSHA 10 hour construction training courses that can be undertaken by employees. These safety training courses make workers aware of the various hazards. They also get trained in the operation of equipments. Workers understand which kind of machinery needs guarding. Employees who are properly trained in all this are at lesser risk than those employees who have not received any training.
All the safety procedures that have been included in the OSHA guidelines aim towards employee protection. They dictate the proper inspection and maintenance of machinery. Workers are also supposed to know what has to be done in a case of emergency. Attaching locks and tags and conducting test controls are some of the other topics. All these safety procedures related to machine guarding is inspected and reviewed by an OSHA officer every year.