Having an understanding of how a machine works, and how the guards can protect you, will result in a reduced risk of injury. In order to be in compliance with Cal/OSHA requirements, all guards must:
- Prevent contact – machine guards must provide a physical barrier that prevents the operator from having any part of his/her body in the “danger zone” during the machine’s operating cycle;
- Be secured in place or otherwise be tamper proof – machine guards must be secure and strong so that workers are not able to bypass, remove, or tamper with them. They must be attached to the machine where possible. If the guard cannot be physically attached to the machine it must be attached elsewhere;
- Create no new hazard – A safeguard defeats its own purpose if it creates a hazard of its own such as a shear point, a jagged edge, or an unfinished surface which can cause a laceration. The edges of guards, for instance, should be rolled or bolted in such a way that they eliminate sharp edges. Machine guards should not obstruct the operator’s view;
- Allow for lubrication with the guard still in place - If possible, one should be able to lubricate the machine without removing safeguards. Locating oil reservoirs outside the guard, with a line leading to the lubrication point, will reduce the need for the operator or maintenance worker to enter the hazardous area.
- Not interfere with the machine operation - Any safeguard which impedes a worker from performing the job quickly and comfortably might soon be overridden or disregarded. Proper safeguarding can actually enhance efficiency since it can relieve the worker’s apprehensions about injury.
There are also non-mechanical hazards that can injure machine operators or personnel working in the vicinity of machinery. These hazards include flying splinters, chips or debris; splashes, sparks or sprays that are created when the machine is operating. These hazards can be prevented through the use of machine guarding and wearing/use of required personal protective equipment (PPE).
Roles and Responsibilities
The department owning the machinery must:
- Inspect machines annually and repair as necessary
- Render unusable when in disrepair
- Provide training to all personnel as required by the “training” section of this program
- Keep and maintain attendance records of all training for a minimum of 3 years
- Provide alternative methods or administrative controls for protection when if/when safeguards restrict access to the ‘point of operation’.
- Consult EH&S/Industrial Safety staff if there are any questions about safeguards or administrative controls prior to using or allowing the use of a machine.
The Department Chair or Director must:
- Ensure all machines/equipment are equipped with appropriate safeguards.
- Identify potential equipment hazards, request hazard assessment from EH&S/Industrial Safety, implement and fund any corrective actions identified in a timely manner.
- Provide personal protective equipment to operators.
- Ensure supervisors implement machine guarding and other safety program requirements.
Department Managers, PI’s and Supervisors must:
- Ensure operators do not remove or operate machine without machine safeguards.
- Ensure operators implement all safety program requirements.
- Provide machine/process specific hands-on training to all operators.
Every employee who operates machinery must:
- Be trained on and applies the use of machine safeguards
- Inspect the machines and safeguards prior to each use
- Always use safeguards as required
- Alert Owner Department Management when machines and/or safeguards need repair/replacement
- Assess work to determine if machine safeguards cannot be used and work with the supervisor to provide Administrative controls for safety
- Provide or assist in conducting machine safeguard assessments and audits for Departments.
- Assist in selection of personal protective equipment and/or appropriate safeguards.
- Develop and provide OSHA machine guard training for affected employees.