Safety Guarding 101

Machine Guarding FAQs


Jason Kerkhof

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November 1, 2023

As you probably know, OSHA publishes a list of the ten most commonly cited standard violations every year. And every year, 1910.212 (Machine Guarding) is on that list.

As a result, we’ve pulled together some machine guarding resources to help you use machine guarding more properly, to comply with OSHA machine guarding rules, and avoid those nasty OSHA fines.


Machine Guarding Safety and Safety Training FAQs

In this section, we provide a lot of “basics” about machine guarding, machine guarding hazards, and machine guarding for hazard control. This information is drawn from an OSHA publication on machine guarding.


1.      Where Should Machines Be Guarded? What’s Hazardous?

Dangerous moving parts that need to be guarded tend to be located in three areas. These are:

·        The point of operation–where the “action” of the machine happens, such as where a press cuts metal
·        The power transmission apparatus–where the machine transmits energy to motion (motors, etc.)
·        Other moving parts–everything else that moves

Inspect these three areas for safety hazards on a machine.


2.      What Are the Different Types of Motions and Actions?

Watch for these potentially dangerous motions:

·        Rotating-movement in a circle
·        Reciprocating-back and forth movement
·        Transversing-movement in a straight line

Watch for these potentially dangerous actions:

·        Cutting-by rotating, reciprocating, or transverse motion
·        Punching-when power is applied to one side, such as in stamping
·        Shearing-powering a saw or knife to trim a side
·        Bending-when power is applied to draw or stamp metal


3.      What Are Some Non-Mechanical Hazards to Look for?

·        Power sources (frayed wires, etc.)
·        Noise
·        Hazardous fluids and other hazardous substances


4.      What Are Some Types of Machine Safeguards?

OSHA provides a nice list, which we’ve included here for you.

·        Guards, including fixed, interlocked, adjustable, and self-adjusting
·        Devices, including presence-sensing, pullback, restraint, safety controls, and gates
·        Location/distance
·        Feeding and ejection methods, including automatic feed, semi-automatic feed, automatic ejection, semi-automatic ejection, and the use of robots
·        Additional aids, including awareness barriers, miscellaneous protective shields, hand-feeling tools, and holding fixtures.


5.      What Must Your Machine Guarding Safeguard Do?

Your machine guarding safeguard should:

·        Keep workers from contacting moving parts
·        Be secure so it’s not easily removed
·        Provide protection so falling parts can’t fall into moving parts
·        Create no new hazards that weren’t therebefore
·        Create no interference with the worker
·        Allow for easy lubrication of moving part


6.      What Training Should Workers Receive?

Be sure workers receive proper safety training, including:

·        A description of all hazards associated with any machine they work with
·        An explanation of the safeguards, an explanation of the hazards they are intended to guard, and an explanation of how they work
·        How and why to use the safeguards
·        How and when safeguards can be removed, and who can remove them (in most cases, this is just qualified maintenance and repair people follow specific safe work practices)
·        What to do if they discover a safeguard is ineffective, damaged, or missing


7.      What is the Hierarchy of Controls?

The hierarchy of controls is a method to use when trying to create a solution for a workplace hazard. The idea is you should try one type of control before trying another. In order, the types of controls you should try are:

·        Elimination/Substitution
·        Engineering controls (machine guarding is an example of an engineering control)
·        Work practice controls
·        PPE


8.      What About Isolation of Energy and Lockout/Tagout When Guards Are Removed for Maintenance?

Guards can be removed for maintenance and repair, but only by specially trained maintenance personnel. In those cases, energy sources should be isolated and the machine should be locked and tagged out. Read more about maintenance, repair, isolation of energy, and lockout/tagout at OSHA’s website


9.      Does OSHA have a Safety & Health Topic webpage for machine hazards and machine guarding regulations?

Yep, here’s OSHA’s helpful Machine Guarding Safety and Health topic page.


10.  Does OSHA have any eTools for machine guarding regulations?

Here’s OSHA’s Machine Guarding eTool.


11.  Does OSHA provide any other helpful machine guarding training resources?

They do. Here are a few:

·        Machine Guarding and Hazard Recognition (a series of related links)
·        Machine Guarding Hazard Solutions (a series of related links)
·        Concepts and Techniques of Machine Safeguarding
·        Amputation Fact Sheet


12.  What about NIOSH? Do they offer machine guarding resources too?

Here’s the NIOSH Machine Safety website.


Machine Guarding Information

Hope that helped point you in the right direction on machine guarding. Don’t forget to check out the rest of our blog that covers other guarding topics. If you have any specific questions or guarding needs contact us!