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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 operator’s dexterity, skill, or alertness.

To ensure safe operations all precautions should be taken. All operators should follow these basic guidelines:

  1. Be properly trained and qualified on the equipment before use.
  2. Always wear eye protection.
  3. The machine should be equipped with an easy to see and operate kill switch.
  4. The work area should be well lighted and free of debris.
  5. 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.
  6. Gloves should be worn at all times.
  7. 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 Matts@paulhanson.com.