Why is machine guarding so important for employee safety? This is because most industrial establishments have many pieces of equipment that have hazardous motions. We must protect these hazardous motions from the reach of workers with the help of machine guarding.
So why not just guard everything? Cover it up! If we cover up machinery, it may be safe but it will be very difficult to use and very difficult for maintenance.
The strategy is simple in principle. We can break a machine down into 3 parts.
The first part is the drive mechanism or drive train. These are gears and sprockets and chain drives. These can be covered up with mechanical guarding. They only need to be removed during maintenance activities.
The second part is the infeed and the outfeed of the machine. The guarding here can be a bit more complex as it depends on the shape and size of the machine and the size and shape of products passing through it. Typically tunnel guards are utilized to keep limbs out of the machine.
The third part is the point of operation where the operator interacts with the machine and is potentially exposed to hazardous motions. This where we need to employ safety device that signal the machine to stop. These devices can be interlocks, light curtains, scanners, enabling devices etc. Typically, these safety systems are designed by original equipment manufacturers for new equipment or by licensed Professional Engineering on older existing equipment.
As we can see, Machine Guarding in Ontario for Employee Safety is a system of solutions that need to work together to ensure employee safety and machinery productivity. Machine guarding compliance is a solution for long term problems and helps ensure overall safety of the organization.