Moving parts of the machines have the potential to cause harm or injuries such as lacerations, limb amputations, crushed fingers, burns, blindness, and many more. Safeguards or Safety guarding procedures are set in place and are essential components to protect workers from preventable injuries. This minimizes the risks, if not eliminate, any possible harms and dangers caused by negligence of safety guidelines by workers, accidents, and machine malfunctions. This article focuses on the general information on the different methods of safeguarding.
These methods of safeguarding are:
1.) The Use of Guards – these are physical barriers that prevent contact of people to machines. It requires access points or opening of locks when getting inside the guards to reach the machine. Guards are one of the easiest safeguarding equipment that can be installed. They can be adjustable, fixed, interlocked, or self-adjusting depending on the safety requirements needed for the machine.
2.) Sensors and Devices – these are technologies that limit or prevent access to the hazardous areas. Examples of these are presence-sensing devise, pullback, restraint traps, safety trip controls, two-hand controls, gates, doorways, interlocking passageways, motion sensors, and many more. Unlike the guards, sensors and devices require batteries or sources of power to work. Broken or non-working sensors and devices may cause problems too. Make sure to always check these sensors and devices to work properly.
3.) Automated Feeding and Ejection Mechanism – these are not necessarily bulwark or enclosures around the machine, but machines themselves that eliminate the operators’ exposure to the point of operation or the danger zone. For example, a robotic arm can replace a worker’s intervention when feeding products to the machine for processing.
4.) Machine Location or Distance – these tools or equipment eliminates the operator’s exposure to the danger zone by providing safe distances from the point of operation to the operator’s position. Example of this or extendable arms, lifters, etc.
5.) Miscellaneous Equipment – these tools are used to protect both the workers and the people in the immediate vicinity of the machine, and the operating area where the machine is located. Examples of these equipment are shields or protections from flying debris, chips, sparks, sprays, and other chemical exposures. Also, this can be holding tools that operators can use to handle hazardous or toxic materials going to the point of operation. This can also be awareness barriers or cones that people use to identify hazards in the area.
Safety guarding is a process used to ensure the safe selection, and procurement of machineries. It is also used for safety work guidelines, inspection, and record keeping of all machineries, pieces of equipment, sensors, devices, and many more. Included in this process are the guidelines to properly identify and correct locations of machine guarding hazards that may endanger any worker in the factory or processing zone.