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Safeguarding

Safeguarding measures protect workers against contact with hazardous moving parts or other harmful conditions when working around machinery and equipment. Safeguards include barrier guards, safety devices, shields, awareness barriers, and warning signs. These methods can be used on their own or in combination to protect workers from hazards.

Hazards

A safeguard is solution or a combination of solutions that eliminate or reduce the risk of exposure to hazardous moving parts or other harmful conditions. Things that put workers at risk of injury when working around machinery include:

  • Rotating parts found on shafts, couplings, feed rolls, and V-belts
  • Reciprocating or sliding parts such as dies in punch presses
  • Parts that fragment or rupture such as abrasive wheels
  • Toxic or corrosive chemicals
  • Heat, noise, and vibration
  • Non-ionizing radiation such as ultraviolet (UV) light

Risk

A safeguard is solution or a combination of solutions that eliminate or reduce the risk of exposure to hazardous moving parts or other harmful conditions.

"Risk" means "a chance of injury or occupational disease." The three most important factors that affect risk are severity, exposure, and probability:

  1. Severity — If an incident occurred, how serious would the injury be?
  2. Exposure — What is the extent of the workers' exposure to the hazard?
  3. Probability — How likely is it that an incident will occur?

Hierarchy of controls

When selecting a safeguard or a combination of safeguards, always start at the top of the hierarchy shown below to control the hazards. Choose a less effective safeguard only when the more effective solutions is impracticable.

  1. 1

    Elimination or substitution

    • Eliminate human interaction in the process.
    • Eliminate pinch points.
    • Automate materials handling.
  2. 2

    Engineering controls

    • Install mechanical hard stops.
    • Install barrier guards.
    • Install interlocked guards.
    • Install two-hand controls.
    • Install presence-sensing devices.
  3. 3

    Awareness controls

    • Install warning devices such as lights, beacons, strobes, beacons, horns, sirens, or computer warnings.
    • Paint restricted-space markings on floors or post warning signs and labels.
  4. 4

    Administrative controls

    • Develop and implement safe work procedures, including lockout procedures.
    • Carry out regular inspections of safety equipment.
    • Train workers.
  5. 5

    Personal protective equipment

    Make sure workers are equipped with and use appropriate PPE:

    • Safety eyewear
    • Face shields
    • Hearing protection
    • Gloves
    Note: Make sure workers are equipped with and use appropriate PPE, which should only be used as a last resort, when it’s not possible to reduce risk in any other way. Or, it can be used in addition to another control.