Safety Guarding 101

Machine Guarding Safety Errors and How to Avoid Them


Raquel Stroher

Calendar icon

October 14, 2021

To stay compliant with current laws and OSHA safety regulations, you’re required to take certain steps to maintain a healthy and safe work environment. For example, if you have workers who operate machinery, you need to install machine safety guarding.

Of all OSHA violations, companies get penalized the most for inadequate machine guarding. While that can damage a business’s reputation, that’s not the worst part. Without having bulk material handling guarding in place, roughly 18,000 machine operators lose a limb, suffer a crushing injury, or sustain serious cuts every year. This also leads to approximately 800 deaths.

Understand and Avoid Common Mistakes

To prevent a tragedy from occurring in your company, take time to understand the most common mistakes so you can avoid making them.

Doesn’t Meet Current Guarding Safety Standards

Sometimes, a company will order a new piece of equipment only to assume the included machine safety guarding meets current OSHA standards. Although it should, that’s not always the case. So, the equipment gets unpacked, set up, and an operator begins using it without having a clue of the risks.

If you purchase new equipment for your business, always do a thorough inspection to make sure that everything is up to date. This applies to all types of guards, including rotating equipment guarding.

Failing to Reinstall Bulk Material Handling Guarding After Maintenance

You would think this is a given. However, if existing guarding is bulky and not user-friendly or an individual doing the maintenance doesn’t have the proper training, this can happen. According to OSHA, failing to reinstall bulk material handling guarding after maintenance is the second most common mistake made.

Even if this only occurs once, you need to remedy the problem immediately. That might consist of taking some type of disciplinary action against the machine operator, as well as their direct manager. When it comes to workplace safety, there’s no excuse for this error.

Installing Subpar Guarding Parts and Components

Regardless of the part or component, you want to use high-quality replacements. Otherwise, you risk something bending, breaking, or distorting. As a result, machine safety guarding can’t perform optimally. Becoming loose or repositioning incorrectly creates a risk for the operator. After all, guards serve as protective barriers so they must remain firmly in place at all times.

Not Updating Safety Practices to Align with New Technology

As machines become more technologically advanced, bulk material handling, rotating equipment guarding, and other types of guarding solutions can’t keep up. Instead of taking a “one-size-fits-all” approach when installing guards, it’s important to select the right product based on the machine.

Overlooking the Importance of Operator Training

It doesn’t matter how long someone’s operated a specific machine. You still want to provide them with frequent training. Again, today’s machines are incredibly advanced, which further enforces the need to ensure your workers are 100 percent up to speed. That, along with the proper installation of bulk material handling guarding will go a long way to keep your employees safe.

Turn to a Trusted Source for Guarding Products

For the best machine guarding products, contact us at Belt Conveyor Guarding today.