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OSHA Standard 29 CFR 1910.212: General Requirements for All Machines

Ranking: #10

Machinery and Machine Guarding

Moving machine parts have the potential to cause severe workplace injuries, such as crushed fingers or hands, amputations, burns or blindness. Workers who operate and maintain machinery suffer approximately 18,000 amputations, lacerations, crushing injuries, abrasions, and over 800 deaths per year. Safeguards are essential for protecting workers from these preventable injuries. Any machine part, function, or process that may cause injury must be safeguarded. When the operation of a machine or accidental contact injure the operator or others in the vicinity, the hazards must be eliminated or controlled. Mitigating machine hazards requires a hazard analysis that includes identifying activities, mechanical components and mechanical motions that could pose a danger to machine operators.

Major Provisions of the Standard

  • 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.
  • Guards shall be affixed to the machine where possible and secured elsewhere if for any reason attachment to the machine is not possible. The guard shall be such that it does not offer an accident hazard in itself.
  • Point of operation is the area on a machine where work is actually performed upon the material being processed.
  • The point of operation of machines whose operation exposes an employee to injury, shall be guarded. The guarding device shall be in conformity with any appropriate standards therefore, or, in the absence of applicable specific standards, shall be so designed and constructed as to prevent the operator from having any part of his/her body in the danger zone during the operating cycle.
  • Special hand tools for placing and removing material shall be such as to permit easy handling of material without the operator placing a hand in the danger zone. Such tools shall not be in lieu of other guarding required by this section but can only be used to supplement protection provided.
  • The following are some of the machines which usually require point of operation guarding:
  • Guillotine cutters
  • Shears
  • Alligator shears
  • Power presses
  • Milling machines
  • Power saws
  • Jointers
  • Portable power tools
  • Forming rolls and calenders
  • Revolving drums, barrels, and containers shall be guarded by an enclosure which is interlocked with the drive mechanism, so that the barrel, drum, or container cannot revolve unless the guard enclosure is in place.
  • When the periphery of the blades of a fan is less than seven feet above the floor or working level, the blades shall be guarded. The guard shall have openings no larger than  1⁄2 inch.
  • Machines designed for a fixed location shall be securely anchored to prevent walking or moving.

Compliance Resources

OSHA has a Machine Guarding eTool that focuses on recognizing and controlling common amputation hazards associated with the operation and use of certain types of machines. You can access it at: www.osha.gov/etools/machine-guarding

Amputation is one of the most severe and crippling types of injuries in the occupational workplace, and often results in permanent disability. OSHA’s publication, Safeguarding Equipment and Protecting Employees from Amputations provides guidance on preventing amputations. It explains how to recognize and control common amputation hazards associated with the operation and use of certain types of machines, including saws, presses, and plastics machinery. You can find it at: https://tinyurl.com/2s3fck4e WMHS

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