One of OSHA’s most violated standards is machine safeguarding. If you work around any type of machinery, you must never take a shortcut; you must always take the time to safeguard your machine, which is the easiest way to prevent disabling injuries.
Three areas that must be safeguarded to minimize hazards are:
1. The point of operation. Where you cut, shape or bore lumber, is an example of the point where the work is done.
2. The power transmission apparatus: Any component that transmits energy to the part of the machine performing the work: flywheels, belts, gears, and pullies.
3. Moving parts: All moving parts of a machine, including feed mechanisms and auxiliary, reciprocating, rotating and moving parts.
Safeguards will keep your hands, arms, and other body parts from coming in contact with dangerous moving components. They must be firmly secured to the machine, so the safeguard device won’t hurt you. Remember, your safeguard apparatus is built to enable you to perform your job efficiently and comfortably. Another feature of the safeguard device is that is protects you from projectiles. If a small item is dropped into a cycling machine, the safeguard should prevent it from becoming airborne.
Safeguards should be securely placed on the equipment, where it cannot be removed easily, and they should be made of durable material. They should not create new hazards, i.e., sharp edges. Workers should be able to complete their work more easily, through not having to worry about being injured. Machine guards should be established where the equipment can be lubricated safely, without having to remove the safeguards.
Be sure you understand how to operate your equipment properly. Read your manual and understand the capabilities and hazards of the machine. Preventive maintenance guidelines should be followed. If you immediately report safety hazards, you could possibly save someone (maybe yourself) from unintentional injury. Talk to your supervisor if you suspect something is unsafe in your workplace.
Always use machine guards when you are working on or repairing equipment. Lock it out and tag it out, if you need to step away from the machine. If co-workers are doing something you feel is unsafe, let them know, and if they continue, report it to your supervisor. There is no need to put everyone in jeopardy. Accidents can happen too quickly. Don’t overlook the possibilities of an on-the-job mishap. Along with safeguarding your equipment, safeguard yourself by always wearing the correct personal protective equipment, such as gloves and goggles.