Machine Guarding Checklist

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Heavy machinery is widely used in day-to-day operations, but it still poses unique risks to workers and anyone else on the site. Machine guards are used to protect against injury and ensure that any building project equipment operates as seamlessly as possible.

What Is Machine Guarding?

Simply put, machine guarding is the installation of safety devices and physical barriers that protect anyone from injury caused by the moving parts of a machine. Machine guards are also used to protect against hazardous chemicals or flying debris.

Protecting against injuries is the primary goal of having the proper machine guarding safety measures and equipment. However, it’s also essential in keeping site construction projects up to date on regulations.

Companies and individuals may receive a citation or a fine if regulating authorities find that machines are guarded improperly, and workers are unprotected from injury.

Each machine on a site has its own function that comes along with both nonmechanical and mechanical hazards. The machine guard is the first line of defense against any malfunction or misuse. It can prevent common injuries like broken fingers, burns, and concussions.

What are the Different Types of Machine Guarding?

Since every machine brings various dangers with its functions, choosing the right type of guard is mandatory. There are two classifications of machine guarding and seven types of machine guarding. They are categorized either by the hazards they protect from or the functionality of the guard itself.

When it comes to functionality, there are four types of guards:

  • Fixed guards: Often in the form of blade covers, barriers, fences, or gates, these guards have no moving parts and are permanently attached to the machine. They protect workers at points of operation with extreme hazards. They enclose any potential hazard areas where the operator may use the dangerous part of the machine, and they withstand heavy impact and vibrations. They are rigid but do not affect the machine’s operation.
  • Adjustable guards: While these are permanently attached to a machine, they can also shift as the machine’s task changes. The worker can temporarily move the guard if an engine needs adjustment or repair. Since the worker is vulnerable when the guard moves, using these guards requires regular training. Site managers must inform workers of the best practices in adjusting the machine and allow only experienced professionals or experts to move the guard.
  • Interlocked guards: To allow maintenance on dangerous equipment, these guards cut power to a machine if something tampers with the guard. Most often, these are when a worker would access the interior of a construction or engineering machine. This measure allows for repair or maintenance but does not require the worker to disassemble the entire machine. These also work as power buttons for some engines.
  • Self-adjusting guards: These guards turn off when a machine is off and adjust to allow the worker to access it. They automatically adjust or cut off power when a worker approaches any of the machine’s dangerous areas. Self-adjusting guards require more maintenance but less training compared to standard adjustable guards.

Machine guards designed to protect against hazards come in three different forms:

  • Point of operation guards: Once a technician accesses the machine, they may use a point of operation guard. These are often used on alligator shears, power saws, or power presses and protect the operator while using the machine right where they access it.
  • Flying sparks and chips guards: Machines that weld, shave or grind expel sparks or debris at a high velocity can often lead to injury. While operating dangerous machines, flying spark and chip guards protect workers from the specific hazards of the apparatus. One example is the protection from a blinding arc flash while welding. Workers must wear a protective cover as a guard.
  • In-running point guards: Used most often on machines where two parts rotate against each other or meet at a narrow point. In-running point guards protect against severe injuries like amputations.

What Is the Maintenance Required for Machine Guards?

As with many things in the industry, machine guards are only functional when you train workers regularly, and a professional performs regular maintenance and repair. Machine guards have no function if they break or the worker does not know how to use them.

As technology advances and efficiency rises, injury is the true barrier to productivity. A regular machine guarding assessment can cut costs, headaches, and tragedy.

The Occupational Health and Safety Administration provides an OSHA machine guarding checklist with easy guidelines to ensure all machines on site are adequately guarded and workers are carefully protected. The requirements divide into sections to keep you organized and up to date on maintenance and repair:

  • Mechanical hazards
  • Nonmechanical hazards
  • Electric hazards
  • Training
  • Protective equipment and proper clothing
  • Machinery maintenance and repair

Machine guarding is crucial for the entire industry. As a site inspector or project manager, you must balance and organize various tasks. A machine guarding checklist takes that pressure off your shoulders and gives you the reminders you need to protect your workers. Toolbox Talk machine guarding also provides tips on properly fitting and maintaining safety guards.

What Are the Benefits of a Machine Guarding Checklist?

A machine guarding checklist is beneficial for the longevity of machinery, the safety of employees, and the efficiency of the whole project. Some of the more important benefits include the following:

  • Machines and their guards get faster maintenance and repair when they need it.
  • You can be sure your site is compliant and has met all safety regulations related to machine guarding.
  • Consistent maintenance and repairs increase the lifespan of the machinery.
  • The task organization that may otherwise slip your mind means you can stop a problem before it is severe or noticeable.
  • Machine guards get a comprehensive, routine inspection rather than a glance when something goes wrong.

How Fluix Can Help

At Fluix, we commit to helping you improve the efficiency and safety of your job site. Our digital checklists with built-in automation features allow you to stay organized, up-to-date, and compliant with safety measures and government regulations.

With our workplace safety software, you can focus on the things you are good at while you know that the tasks of maintaining, repairing, and training machine guards are on schedule at the right time. Create your account at Fluix to see how it works.

Improve Machine Safety With Digital Checklists
Ensure machine guards are applied properly with easy-to-use checklists
Identify potential risks to take preventative measures
Increase your team’s productivity
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