Machine Guarding Best Practices for Your Business

The most critical priority in any business is the safety and security of its employees. In a warehouse or manufacturing facility, the risks can be greater than in many other environments, as employees work with moving vehicles and heavy machinery.

Employees often work with machines at heights, so there could be a fall risk if they are not protected when operating heavy equipment. As some machinery requires chemicals or fuels to function, there could also be potentially dangerous substances in specific workspaces.

There are many solutions to workplace machinery risks, and they are often a legal requirement. Health and safety regulations are necessarily strict, so it is essential to invest in machine guarding equipment that protects your staff and your business. You must also ensure employees receive machine guarding training so they can follow best practices when working.

Best Practice Machine Guarding Behaviors

Staff must always receive adequate training before you allow them to operate machinery. While the correct safety equipment platforms can help keep employees safe, they must also know the dangers of working with machinery and protecting themselves and their colleagues.

Keep Body Parts Away from Moving Machinery

If something gets caught in a machine’s moving parts, sometimes staff may attempt to clear the blockage while the apparatus is still on. However, this can lead to tragic consequences, and staff must ensure they always turn the power off before touching any parts of a machine that could move and cause injury.

There should always be a trained staff member on-site to use the lockout tagout procedure, identifying machines that transmit energy that could be hazardous, and making the equipment inoperative before any employee engages with the moving parts.

Wear Personal Protection Equipment

Safety goggles can protect eyes from sparks or flying debris from a machine, and heavy-duty or chain link gloves can stop sharp objects from penetrating the skin. It may be necessary to wear a hard hat for protection from falling items, and heavy-duty work boots can protect feet from chemicals.

Stay Away from Loading Zones

Only authorized and appropriately trained personnel should be in an active loading zone. Objects could fall from heights, or a colleague operating a vehicle may not realize another staff member is in the area.

Machinery can also malfunction, surprising the team member who is working in the vicinity. All staff should be aware of the proper procedure for exiting a potentially dangerous area and how they can notify a supervisor.

Permissions and Authority to Use Machinery

Staff should only use machinery they are trained to operate. Perhaps a job is running late, and they want to help a colleague by working on an unfamiliar machine, but this could cause serious injury to themselves or other team members.

Staff should be aware of their authorizations, and supervisors should perform regular checks to ensure their team is only using the machines they are allowed to operate. It is also best practice to provide regular refresher safety training, so employees’ skills and knowledge remain current.

Best Practice Machine Guarding Equipment

Even thoroughly trained staff could make a mistake that results in injury or death. Warehouses and manufacturing facilities can be home to many dangerous machines, and it is essential to secure your apparatus with appropriate machine guarding equipment.

Wirecrafters Rapid Guard Wire HD

Wirecrafters Rapid Guard Wire system uses a modular design so you can protect equipment of any shape and size. The barriers are robust and protect workers from close contract with dangerous machinery.

You can increase workplace safety by only allowing the staff member who performs the work to have access to a machine. The barriers provide a safe working environment for the rest of the team outside the perimeter.

With the ability to integrate gates, access doors, and system controls into your machine guarding system, you can prevent injuries by identifying hazards and designing a bespoke system for each machine.

Potential hazards include equipment with rotating parts or sharp blades that could cause severe workplace injuries, and safety professionals can work with you to make sure you comply with all applicable standards.

GuardRails and HandRails

Shelving + Rack, Inc, supply heavy-duty guard rails that can withstand impact from a 10,000 -pound load traveling at up to 4 miles per hour. These rails can keep employees safe when working around moving vehicles, and you can add brightly colored hazard tape to ensure they are clearly visible.

It is essential to install handrails anywhere staff are working at height. Fall risks increase when employees are stretching to retrieve materials or carrying hefty packages. There is also the risk that goods could fall to lower floors, and employees can use a handrail to keep their balance and avoid tripping.

Safety Bollards

Safety bollards provide visual feedback that there are hazards inside the perimeter. You can install brightly-colored bollards into the factory floor around locking dock doors or areas where there is heavy machinery, or you can use portable bollards to fence off an area in temporary use.

Machine safety practices can include making a safe passageway when transporting equipment to a new location. Portable bollards are ideal for highlighting a path that staff should avoid while they move in progress.

Mesh Netting

If machines package goods, merchandise could fall from the bays, particularly if the machine is on an upper floor. Mesh netting can catch items before they reach lower floors and provide peace of mind for staff working on the factory floor.

machine guarding

Final Thoughts

There is a wide range of excellent machine safeguards to keep your employees and machinery safe. Investing in high-quality equipment that secures the area around machinery and provides warning signs to staff that a site is off-limits can significantly reduce the risk of workplace injuries.

Providing employees with adequate training is a legal requirement and ensuring compliance with the regulations is essential for creating a safe working environment.