Machine Guarding - General Safety
By: Matt Schiefferly
Vice President Safety Services
Many moving and storage companies provide crating services or have special needs
for the use of power equipment. It is important to review the safety features of
this type of equipment with all employees. Injuries caused by power equipment can
be painful and costly, but almost always can be preventable accidents.
No employee should use any power equipment of any kind before being properly shown
the safety features and exactly how the equipment operates. Machine accidents occur
generally under these three areas:
- Power Transmission Equipment
- The Point of Operation
- Other Moving Parts
Power Transmission Equipment and Other Moving Parts are most often guarded by
physical barriers or enclosures. These may have doors with removable covers to facilitate
lubrication or other forms of maintenance. These barriers should not be tampered
with or removed as it is a violation of OSHA standards.
Point of Operation present a far greater problem. This is due to
the enormous variety of machines in use. The equipment varies greatly by design,
manufacturer and type of operations required. It is important not to modify any
standard blade guard that is in place unless you seek the help of a qualified professional.
Even slight modifications can make the guards ineffective or useless. Every point
of operation must be studied and the safeguarding system must be designed and or
adapted to ensure protection without depending on the operators dexterity,
skill, or alertness.
To ensure safe operations all precautions should be taken. All operators should
follow these basic guidelines:
- Be properly trained and qualified on the equipment before use.
- Always wear eye protection.
- The machine should be equipped with an easy to see and operate kill switch.
- The work area should be well lighted and free of debris.
- Other employees should never distract or disrupt the operator until they are finished
with the job. Outside distractions are the number one cause of power machine accidents.
- Gloves should be worn at all times.
- Any machine that is not properly working or the guards have been removed or rendered
useless should never be operated. Report these problems immediately to your supervisor.
If you should have any questions regarding machine guarding or general safety please
contact Matt Schiefferly @ (800) 852-1968 or e-mail