Manufacturing Insurance: Ensuring Proper Use of Machine Guards
Working with machinery can create severe risks and hazards for employees. When proper precautions are not taken, workers can become entangled or trapped by equipment, resulting in serious injuries and even death. One essential aspect of keeping workers safe while they operate machinery is the use of machine guards.
Machine guards are components used to restrict and control access to potentially dangerous areas or parts of equipment. They also may help keep employees safe from flying debris, kickbacks, the splashing of metal or harmful liquids, and mechanical or electrical failures.
However, while these components are essential, they can also be rendered ineffective if not used properly. To make sure employees are as safe as possible, ensure the following:
- Guards are securely attached and of adequate strength.
- Guards require a tool to be opened or removed or are self-locking.
- Guards are made of suitable materials—plastic guards may be more susceptible to damage.
- Guards are regularly checked, and necessary maintenance is performed in a timely manner.
Interlocking guards, which can be readily removed, may be optimal when employees frequently or regularly need to access dangerous parts of equipment. When using this type of guard, ensure the following:
- The machine is not capable of being started until the guard is in position.
- Opening or removing the guard stops the machine automatically.
It’s imperative for employees to be properly educated and trained on the importance of machine guards. Make sure all workers, regardless of their level of experience, always take time to thoroughly inspect and correctly use guards.