Machine Guards

Keep the whole facility and staff in mind when choosing machine guards

Machine GuardsGuarding can create a safer environment in more than one way. Machine guards can keep people from falling into a dangerous work space; they can keep a substance, such as coolant, from spraying all over the place. Safety barriers can create a safer environment within which maintenance employees can work.

Machine guards are protective barriers put up around industrial equipment to keep employees "free from recognized hazards that are causing or are likely to cause death or serious physical harm," as OSHA requires of employers.

Unlike some barricade products used simply to guide employees in an orderly flow, such as in the use of barricade tape, machine guards are critical devices installed on machinery that has the potential to injure or kill employees if misused.

Many companies make machine guarding for all types of machines - standardized products such as fencing or cowling, or custom-made safety barriers for your special projects.

Guarding can be as simple as the plastic guard used on table saws, or as complicated as light curtains with full computerized controls, such as you would find on a large machining center.

Machine guards for exposed wires, high-temp valves and moving parts

Machine guards are required for such hazards as exposed wires, moving machinery and high-temperature valves.

Machine guards should be purchased, or designed, with your entire facility in mind - from the janitorial staff that might bump into it, to the mechanics that must repeatedly disassemble the guards for scheduled maintenance.

Many machine guards are permanent items and are treated as part of the machine, even if they are not actually attached to the machine. An example of this would be the fencing you see around most robotics stations.

Even small machines can require a great deal of thought and money to ensure everyone is protected. For instance, welding only a small item can affect the safety of everyone in the room.

OSHA has a standard for machinery guarding in the United States.

Other groups publish training and safety barrier solutions, such as the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), although that body only offers guidelines, or as they call them, "voluntary consensus standards." That said, many industries have adopted ANSI standards as well as compliance with OSHA regulations when it comes to machine guards.

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