Machine guarding is one of the most important safety concepts in any manufacturing or industrial facility. When done properly, it can help keep those who are working on potentially dangerous machines safe from harm. In addition, it can keep other people working in the area away from flying sparks or other debris, so they don’t get injured. What many people don’t consider, however, is that this type of safety equipment can have a variety of other benefits as well.
Benefits of Machine Guarding
The most obvious benefit is the improved safety, and in reality, that is also the most important benefit. The following are a few other advantages of using proper machine guarding in any facility.
- Cleaning – Whether a machine is used for painting, welding, cutting materials or anything else, machine guarding often helps to contain sparks, sawdust, paint or other materials from flying toward other people. In addition to protecting others from this hazard, it also causes the flying debris to be collected in a smaller area, making it easier to clean. This helps to eliminate the wasted effort of cleaning a much larger area.
- Allows for Additional Access Areas – Depending on the type of machine guarding used, it can help reduce the hazard area related to a given machine. While this is a safety benefit, it also opens up additional usable area around the machine, eliminating wasted space. This is certainly a major benefit that goes well beyond the safety.
- Morale – Employees working in the area will be able to see that the facility clearly cares about protecting them from harm, which will have a positive overall effect on the morale of the employees.
- Reduced Downtime – Injuries cause downtime, so by improving the safety of a machine, you’re also going to enjoy more productive hours per day. There are many benefits like this, which are a result of improved safety in the facility.
- Compliance – There are many regulations surrounding the use of machine guarding for most industries. OSHA, for example, requires specific types of safety equipment to be used around some machines to ensure a minimum level of protection. Staying in compliance is important for every facility as it will help reduce the risk of fines or other problems if everything is not kept in line with the rules.
- Employee Knowledge– Training Dvd’s (similar to this machine guarding DVD) provides employees with essential tools and safety tactics when it comes to machine safety. The Dvd’s often outline different types of machine guarding, how to prevent injuries, and best practices.
These are some of the additional benefits of machine guarding, but in order to realize them all, it is important to make sure your facility is using the right types of guarding equipment. Evaluating the exact risks associated with a given machine, and adding the right guarding equipment based on that evaluation is the best way to ensure you get the maximum benefit for the effort.
Evaluating Your Machinery
All facilities should take time, at least annually, to evaluate their machine guarding situation and ensure they are getting all the benefits of this type of safety equipment. Checking to see if the existing equipment is still in good working order, and providing the right level of protection to everyone in the area is a great place to start. In addition to just checking the existing equipment, it is also a good idea to look for new places where this type of machine guarding can be used for added safety.
Working with the people who work with the machines, see if there are any areas where additional guarding could be beneficial. Even adding safety signage can help protect employees and warn them of possible injuries. This type of equipment is often fairly inexpensive to install, and can reap major benefits for years to come. Another time when it is smart to look for new areas where guarding can be installed is when machines are replaced or upgraded. This is the perfect time to look closely at all the potential risks, and see if adding some type of guarding could be the solution.