Crushed digits, lacerated body parts, fractured bones… this litany of horrors may bring images of grim worksites horrors to mind, but tragically such injuries are far from confined to the past. Employers should ensure that risks are eliminated where possible, or controlled as far as is reasonably practicable. So, what protection methods are available and how do they work?
Machine guarding is a precautionary safety feature on manufacturing or other engineering equipment. Specifically, it is a shield or device covering hazardous areas of a machine to prevent contact with body parts or to control hazards like chips and noise from exiting the machine. Machine guards provide protection from hazards by providing a covering. The covering creates a barrier, shielding workers and preventing them from touching, or getting caught in moving parts. They also protect from sparks, flying debris and splashing chemicals.
Machine Safety Devices
Safety devices don’t use physical barriers, instead protecting workers by either stopping a machine or restricting machine operators’ movements if they get too close to a hazardous area. They tend to be employed in situations where adjustable, or self-adjusting guards might get in the way. Most protect a worker’s entire body by quickly shutting down the machinery when tripped. Others only protect the hands, either by keeping a machine from starting if a hand is in the wrong place or restricting the machine operator’s hand and arm movements.