Working with machinery and other heavy equipment is one of the top causes of workplace injuries. Machinery is necessary to create a level of efficiency that’s unreachable through manual labour. Although effective, this equipment comes with serious risks. However, your risk of accidental injury can be reduced through the use of machine guards.
Types of Machine Guards
Machine guards provide protection from machinery hazards by creating a covering that minimizes workplace injuries. This covering establishes a barrier, eliminating your ability to touch or get caught in moving parts. Any machine part, function or process that may cause injury should be guarded.
There are three different classifications of machine guards that you may encounter in the workplace:
- Fixed guards—These guards are stationary and difficult to remove. Plexiglass shields or wire barriers can be used when visibility is important.
- Adjustable guards—Moveable guards can be used when fixed guards would interfere with machine functionality. They must be manually positioned, which could leave room for human error and potential accidents.
- Self-adjusting guards—These guards move automatically to allow materials of different sizes to be processed without constant repositioning.
While machine guard use helps prevent potential risks, there are still some further protocols you should follow:
- Do not adjust or remove any guards without proper authorization.
- Do not start machinery without guards in place.
- If the guard is missing or not working, do not operate the machine.
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Employee injuries not only harm your employees but can also destroy your bottom line. When employees are injured, workers’ compensation premiums increase dramatically, especially if injuries are frequent and serious.
Download your own copy of our Safety Focus: Using Machine Guards reference guide for free so you can always know how to protect your company and manage risks: