OSHA Most-Cited Violation: Machine Guarding

Machine Guarding is essentially protecting workers from injuries associated with a machine’s moving parts or other machine processes or functions. Although the explanation sounds simple, in reality this OSHA standard is consistently one of the most cited violations. It was cited 2,540 times in 2015 and 2,520 times in 2014. In fact, like Respirator Protection, Machine Guarding has been on OSHA’s most-cited violations list for the last 5+ years.

So how can employers implement a better Machine Guarding system? The first step is to understand their responsibility when it comes to machine guarding and protecting workers. OSHA regulation 1919.212, Machine Guarding, states:

Stonehouse Signs Machine Guarding Signs Caution Do Not Operate This Machine Without Guards In Place“One or more methods of machine guarding shall be provided to protect the operator and other employees in the machine area from hazards such as those created by point of operation, ingoing nip points, rotating parts, flying chips and sparks. Examples of guarding methods are-barrier guards, two-hand tripping devices, electronic safety devices, etc.” The standard also outlines specific types of machines and machine parts that typically require guarding, such as power saws, printing presses, revolving drums and blades.

Once employers understand the OSHA machine guarding standard, they should evaluate their workplace and identify machines that should be guarded and the best type of guarding for that machine. Machines can be guarded in different ways depending on their use, function, and other factors such as if other employees are working near the machines. Different types of guarding include fixed guards, presence-sensing devices, tripwire cables and gates.

In addition, machine guard training and other related safety topics (lockout procedures, PPE use, etc.) should be addressed with all workers and reinforced on a regular basis. Consistent training and reinforcement of the proper procedures may include formal safety training, routine check-ins or refresher training, spot checks of workers, consistent written or verbal reminders, such as Machine Guarding Signs, or a combination of all of the above.  Ensuring your work force is following safe Machine Guarding standards is just one step in becoming a safer workplace, but when enforced it will ensure all workers go home every night with their life and limbs intact. 

Since its founding in 1863, Stonehouse Signs has produced high-quality visual communications solutions for various industries and the government. The company specializes in custom products for safety, information and accident prevention, and manufactures a full line of safety signs and facility signssafety tags, vinyl safety decals, and custom magnetic whiteboards designed for extended outdoor life, harsh environments and demanding applications. For more information call 1-800-533-9914 or visit www.stonehousesigns.com.

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