Machines make our work easier. After the Industrial revolution changed the mindset of people, factories and industries started using more machinery and keeping them upgraded from time to time. But sometimes, machinery can be dangerous. You must be aware of the size of those huge machines that are used in construction, factories, and industries. They are dangerous too. Have you heard about machine safeguarding requirements? What machine parts always require guards? What are the 5 types of machine safeguards? What are the three basic means of safeguarding machinery? Let’s begin and find it out.
1. What is Machinery Guard?
It is the part or system inbuilt into the machines to run themselves and act as a safeguard against hazards during machine operation. Each machine must have safeguards in the required amounts to protect the operators and other employees nearby from hazards that can take place by rotating parts, flying debris, sparks, and ingoing nip points. (See When is it Difficult to Reboard a PWC?)
2. What is Machine Safeguarding?
The staff of the Industrial safety department developed the Machine Guarding Safety Program. It was to manage the use, procurement, safe selection, safe work practices, record keeping, and inspection of all the machine guarding devices and equipment. It was to make sure safe working conditions and better machines in the industries. It is a written program that outlines the roles and responsibilities of the users of the machines.
3. Where is Machine Safeguarding Program Applicable?
Any place where there is the usage of machinery and there are activities that can lead to injuries from machine operation comes under this program. Campus, field stations, leased property, etc. any place with machinery operation is under this program. (See Who makes Predator Engines?)
4. What are Machine Safeguarding Requirements?
Certain requirements need to be fulfilled while safeguarding machines. Preventing contact, protection from falling objects, not creating interference, providing security, and avoiding new hazards are the requirements that need to be fulfilled. Here is a brief description of the machine safeguarding requirements:
- Preventing contact: This includes the elimination of any possibility in which the worker needs to place their hands or other body parts near the hazardous parts of the machine. The safeguard must make sure the safety of the arms, legs, clothing, etc. of the worker from getting caught in the machine.
- Protecting from Falling Objects: Safeguarding must ensure that nothing falls into the moving parts of the machine and causes damage that can cause a disturbance in its functioning and someone ends up being injured. Also, there should be protection by preventing anything from moving parts to fall off and injure someone.
- Not Creating Interference: Safeguards must be placed in such a manner that they do not hinder the working process of the machine. An activity like lubrication of the parts can be done without damaging the safeguards. Otherwise, workers will find this a burden to do the task.
- Providing Security: It must be ensured that workers cannot remove or tamper with the guards. The material of guards must be durable that can withstand the wear and tear of normal usage conditions and stay secured to the machine. It should not break off easily, which is one of the essential machine safeguarding requirements.
- Avoiding New Hazards: A safeguard has the main purpose of avoiding hazards. It is necessary for them to not become the cause of another hazard. A safeguard with jagged edges, shear points, or unfinished surfaces can harm the workers.
5. What are the Three Basic Means of Safeguarding Machinery?
Every management is required to follow the three basic means of safeguarding the machine to avoid accidents. These means are as follows:
- Installing safeguarding devices irrespective of the size of their industry to avoid any mishap or accidents.
- Educating workers about the safeguarding devices, ways to operate them safely, along with measures and means to react during an emergency.
- Keeping security checks up-to-date will help in changing the safeguarding devices on time and avoiding hazards.
6. What Machine Parts always require Guards?
The 3 basic areas that especially need machine safeguarding are places of operations, places with power transmission devices, and places with other moving parts.
- Place of Operation: The area where the operation of machinery takes place is known as the place or area of operation. The place where material or stock is fed into the machine is also counted in this category. For example, processes like cutting, boring, shaping, forming, etc. are all places where heavy machinery usage takes place.
- Places with Power Transmission Devices: Another one of the machine safeguarding requirements is handling certain devices that transmit energy to the machine part that is performing the task known as the power transmission devices. Without their proper functioning, machines will not work properly and can lead to hazardous situations if not attended to. Devices like belts, cams, chains, cranks, couplers, flywheels, gears, pulleys, rods, shafts, spindles, sprockets, etc. all require safeguarding.
- Places with Moving Parts: All the machine parts that move when the machine is working are referred to here. Different types of machines have different types of moving parts and their movement is depended on the type of work the machine is doing. Mostly the moving parts include parts that are rotating, reciprocating, feeding parts of the machine, and transverse.
7. What are the 5 Types of Machine Safeguards?
Machine guarding can be done by following the basic 5 types. These are guards, secondary safeguarding methods, safeguarding devices, location/distance, and awareness barriers (warnings). Here is a detailed description of all these 5 types of machine safeguards:
- Guards on the Machine: Barriers preventing access to the dangerous parts of the machines are known as guards. They are attached to the machines by clamps, brackets, or screws. They are usually made from wood, metal, or plastic depending upon the type of machine they are built for. Fence guards, door guards, gate guards, etc. are some common types of guards. You must have seen them placed around generators.
- Primary Safeguarding devices: As per machine safeguarding requirements, such devices are installed to prevent the planned access to the machine by the workers. These devices must be properly designed and installed. These devices do functions like pullback, safety controls, presence sensing, safety controls, and restraint.
- Secondary Safeguarding Methods: These methods include awareness devices, safeguarding methods, safe work procedures, and detection safeguarding devices. These methods are applicable when safeguarding devices or guards cannot be installed. We recommend installing primary guards because secondary methods are less effective in providing protection to the workers.
- Location/distance: Certain machines and machine parts need to be located at a distance or enclosed location where they are not accessible to avoid possible hazards. Particularly the moving parts of the machine must be positioned in such a location and distance that there are no chances of any hazards during the normal working of the machine.
- Awareness barriers (warnings): These barriers are installed to provide an extra margin of safety. It may not give physical protection because it is like a reminder to the workers that they are entering an area where there are dangerous machine parts.
8. What Functions are Performed by Primary Safeguarding Devices?
According to the machine safeguarding requirements, these devices are considered to be useful in certain ways and prevent hazards. Several functions performed by primary safeguarding devices are as follows:
- The operator’s hands are restrained from the operational area to avoid hazards during the operation of the machine.
- It provides a barrier to the operating cycle of the machine. This prevents the operator from entering a dangerous area when the hazardous part of the machine is in working mode.
- It has sensors that when they detect a hand or any other human part touching the dangerous area, will automatically shut down the machine.
- It may require the use of both hands while operating the machine and keeping them out of reach of the hazardous parts.
So, today you learned about the machine safeguarding requirements. What are the 5 types of machine safeguards? The answer to this lies in the way protection is provided. What are the three basic means of safeguarding machinery? What machine parts always require guards? Do you remember? Anyway, it is the responsibility of management to handle these means. (Also read How does a Sextant Work?)