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An Introduction to Machine Guarding Tool

Did you know that machines consist of 3 main areas? Such areas are the following?

  1. Point of operation – work is performed on the material like cutting, boring, shaping or forming of stock.
  2. Power transmission device – this is all components of the mechanical system that transmits energy to the area of the machine that will be performing work such as flywheels, pulleys, belts, couplings, connecting rods, spindles, chains, gears and cranks.
  3. Operating controls – refers to the rest of the moving parts of the machine that moves while the machine is at work. This can include but not limited to reciprocating, transverse moving sections, rotating, and feed mechanisms and auxiliary parts of the machine.

Even if the machines share the same basic components their safeguarding needs, however, differ variably based on the physical characteristics and the operator involvement for each machine. In some of the following articles later on, we’ll address the general requirements for machinery set forth by OSHA, as well as the motions and actions that contribute to the various machine hazards, and also any additional considerations that come along in the overall machine and operator safety.

The motions or actions of a machine can vary widely and such actions may come as a hazard to the worker or operator.

Rotating Motion: Even if the operation is smooth, the slow rotating shafts can still grip the hair or piece of clothing and with just a small contact force on the hand and arm can place the worker into a very dangerous position. Injuries acquired with these rotating parts can be severe and such hazardous parts can include cams, clutches, flywheels, collars, couplings, spindles, meshing gears and horizontal/vertical shafting.

Reciprocating Motions: This can also be dangerous especially during the back and forth as well as up and down motion and the worker may be caught in from a moving to a stationary section.

Transverse Motion: This is a movement in a continuous and straight line and can cause a danger to a worker in a way that the worker may be hit or caught in a pinch or shear point of the machine’s moving part.

Cutting: This can be rotating, traversing, or reciprocating motions. Hazard starts at the point of operation where the arm, finger and body injuries can take place and where there are flying scrap materials or chips of metal, wood or other materials being cut can hit the head, eyes or facial area.

Punching: The danger starts where a stock or material is inserted, held and withdrawn by hand of the worker. Such machines that uses a punching action are the power presses and iron workers.

Shearing: This is also the same with punching where danger starts at the point of action where the material gets inserted, held and withdrawn by hand.

There are so many types of action each machine performs and the danger it carries along with it if the operator is not careful and does not use any machine guarding tool for protection. So before starting any operation of these machines, it is highly recommended that the operator or worker takes any necessary precaution and protection to avoid such hazards.

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