Stay safe when operating machinery with these safeguard requirements!
You’d probably agree it’s easy to get caught up in the demands of work, especially if you work in the food or grocery industries. The next thing you know you’re operating bakery equipment such as mixers and slicers and you accidentally slice your fingers on the sharp blades because you’ve ignored the warning signs. Sounds terribly painful, right?
Machine-related injuries aren’t just funny scenarios cartoon artist use to create comic strips – when in fact, they’re nothing to joke about! When machines could cause harm, they shouldn’t be operated without a safeguard.
To protect workers, especially those using commercial food preparation machines, operators must follow OSHA regulations for machine guarding.
When companies fail to review their machines and provide safety procedures – such as machine guards – they put their workers in danger. Employers are responsible for placing guards on machinery to prevent hazards. Workers should never cut corners and remove or work around machine guarding.
When considering a safeguard, here are OSHA requirements:
The goal of safeguards is to protect workers against machine hazards, right? But according to OSHA standards, they must meet general requirements, as well:
- Prevent contact: The safeguard must prevent hands, arms, and any other part of a worker’s body from making contact with dangerous moving parts.
- Secure: Workers should not be able to remove or tamper with the safeguard because a safeguard that can become ineffective is no safeguard at all! Safeguards must be secured to the machines to protect others.
- Protect from falling objects: The safeguard should ensure that no objects can fall into moving parts. For instance, if a small tool is dropped into a cycling machine, it could easily become a projectile that could strike and injure someone.
- No new dangers: If a safeguard creates a new hazard such as a shear point, jagged edge, or an unfinished surface, the sharp edges need to be eliminated.
- Create no obstruction: Safeguards shouldn’t make workers feel uncomfortable because they’ll be overridden. Proper safeguards should actually enhance efficiency since dangers are eliminated.Allow safe lubrication: When possible, workers should be able to lubricate the machine without removing the safeguards.
Do employees need training on using machine guards?
Yes! With guards used on machinery, the operators need instructions on how and when guards can be removed and by whom. If an employee is using a guard the wrong way, they could become injured or create a new hazard.
A good rule to remember is any machine part, function, or process which may cause injury needs a safeguard.
If a worker can put their hand or fingers through the cover or reach around it, the guard is not effective or is being used the wrong way. A popular term used to judge how well the guard covers the exposed machinery is, “in, over, under, or around.”
Remember, safety first when operating machines that could cause harm.