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Top OSHA Workplace Violations – Machinery & Machine Guarding, General Industry – Regulation 29 CFR 1910.212

Machinery & Machine Guarding, General Industry

Regulation 29 CFR 1910.212

Enforcement from October 2018-September 2019

Total citations: 1,981

Total inspections: 1,803

Total proposed penalties: $13,392,337

Most Frequently Violated OSHA Standard Ranking–Number 9

Industries most often violating machine & machine guarding requirements in general industry:

Fabricated Metal Product Manufacturing $2,731,872

Food Manufacturing $1,755,562

Plastics and Rubber Products Manufacturing $1,311,936

Machinery Manufacturing $783,597

Transportation Equipment Manufacturing $565,516

Wood Product Manufacturing $516,015

Paper Manufacturing $502,798

Primary Metal Manufacturing $492,576

Nonmetallic Mineral Product Manufacturing $470,419

Merchant Wholesalers, Durable Goods $340,691


Moving machine parts have the potential to cause severe workplace injuries, such as crushed fingers or hands, amputations, burns or blindness. 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 injures the operator or others in the vicinity, the hazards must be eliminated or controlled. This page contains general information on the various hazards of mechanical motion and techniques for protecting workers.

Amputation Prevention

Amputations occur most often when workers operate unguarded or inadequately safeguarded mechanical power presses, power press brakes, powered and non-powered conveyors, printing presses, roll-forming and roll-bending machines, food slicers, meat grinders, meat-cutting band saws, drill presses and milling machines—as well as shears, grinders and slitters.

What types of machine components are hazardous?

The following types of mechanical components present amputation hazards:

  • Point of operation: the area of a machine where it performs work on material.
  • Power-transmission apparatuses: flywheels, pulleys, belts, chains, couplings, spindles, cams and gears, in addition to connecting rods and other machine components that transmit energy.
  • Other moving parts: machine components that move during machine operation, such as reciprocating, rotating and transverse moving parts, as well as auxiliary machine parts.

What kinds of mechanical motion are hazardous?

All mechanical motion is potentially hazardous. In addition to in-running nip points (“pinch points”)—which occur when two parts move together and at least one moves in a rotary or circular motion that gears, rollers, belt drives and pulleys generate—the following are the most common types of hazardous mechanical motion:

  • Rotating – circular movement of couplings, cams, clutches, flywheels and spindles, as well as shaft ends and rotating collars that may grip clothing or otherwise force a body part into a dangerous location.
  • Reciprocating – back-and-forth or up-and- down action that may strike or entrap a worker between a moving part and a fixed object.
  • Transversing – movement in a straight, continuous line that may strike or catch a worker in a pinch or shear point created between the moving part and a fixed object.
  • Cutting – action generated during sawing, boring, drilling, milling, slicing and slitting.
  • Punching – motion resulting when a machine moves a slide (ram) to stamp or blank metal or other material.
  • Shearing – movement of a powered slide or knife during metal trimming or shearing.
  • Bending – action occurring when power is applied to a slide to draw or form metal or other materials.

What can employers do to help protect workers from amputations?

You should be able to recognize, identify, manage and control amputation hazards commonly

found in the workplace, such as those caused by mechanical components of machinery; the mechanical motion that occurs in or near these components; and the activities that workers perform during mechanical operation.

Work practices, employee training and administrative controls can help prevent and control amputation hazards. Machine safeguarding with the following equipment is the best way to control amputations caused by stationary machinery:

  • Guards provide physical barriers that prevent access to hazardous areas. They should be secure and strong, and workers should not be able to bypass, remove or tamper with them. Guards should not obstruct the operator’s view or prevent employees from working.
  • Devices help prevent contact with points of operation and may replace or supplement guards. Devices can interrupt the normal cycle of the machine when the operator’s hands are at the point of operation; prevent the operator from reaching into the point of operation; or withdraw the operator’s hands if they approach the point of operation when the machine cycles. They must allow safe lubrication and maintenance and not create hazards or interfere with normal machine operation. In addition, they should be secure, tamper-resistant and durable.

You are responsible for safeguarding machines and should consider this need when purchasing machinery. New machinery is usually available with safeguards installed by the manufacturer. You can also purchase appropriate safeguards separately or build them in-house.


The following references aid in recognizing hazards from ineffective machine guarding:

  • Machine Guarding. OSHA eTool. Focuses on recognizing and controlling common amputation hazards associated with the operation and use of certain types of machines.
  • Machine Guarding: Horizontal Injection Molding Machines – Interactive Safety Tour. Allows user to take a virtual tour of an injection molding machine.
  • Amputations. OSHA Fact Sheet, (2002). Provides a general overview of amputations in the workplace.
  • Potential Hazards Associated with the Use of Replacement Materials for Machine Guarding (PDF). OSHA Hazard Information Bulletin (HIB). Clarifies that replacement machine guard windows must meet or exceed the manufacturer’s original design specifications.
  • 29 CFR 1910.217(g) Mechanical Power Press Point of Operation Injury Reports: 8/1994-12/2000. OSHA. Summarizes “point of operation” injuries from mechanical power presses.
  • Electrical. OSHA Safety and Health Topics Page.
  • ANSI B11 Subcommittees. Provides brief descriptions of the subcommittees and the hazards they are addressing. The American National Standards Institute’s (ANSI) B11 committee is responsible for developing machine tool safety standards. Additional information about ANSI standards is available on their website.
  • Injuries and Amputations Resulting from Work with Mechanical Power Presses. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Publication No. 87-107 (Current Intelligence Bulletin 49), (March 1987). Describes the hazards of mechanical power presses and provides safety recommendations.
  • Machine Safety. National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Workplace Safety & Health Topic. Links to several documents that discuss machinery safety for different types of agricultural equipment, and machine guarding in general.
  • Hazards of Operating Unguarded Stone Cutters and Splitters in Landscaping and Other Worksites. OSHA Safety and Health Information Bulletin (SHIB), (January 25, 2013).
  • Preventing Cuts and Amputations from Food Slicers and Meat Grinders. OSHA Fact Sheet (Publication 3794), (May 2015).

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