Machine Guarding

June 2017 Safety Topic

Moving machine parts have the potential to cause severe workplace injuries, such as crushed fingers or hands, amputations, burns, or blindness. Safeguards are essential for protecting workers from these injuries. Any machine part, function, or process that may cause injury must be safeguarded. To prevent injuries caused by machine moving parts, Columbia University Medical Center employees must first be able to recognize the contributing factors.

Contributing factors include the hazardous energy associated with the machinery that’s being operated and the specific employee activities performed with the mechanical operation. Understanding the mechanical components of machinery and the hazardous mechanical motion that occurs while operating the machinery will help employees avoid injury.

Three types of mechanical components present injury risks:

  • Point of Operation: the area of the machine where the machine performs work – i.e., mechanical actions that occur at the point of operation, such as cutting, shaping, boring, and forming.
  • Power-Transmission Apparatus: all components of the mechanical system that transmit energy, such as pulleys, belts, chains, cams, and gears.
  • Other Moving Parts: the parts of the machine that move while the machine is operating, such as rotating moving parts as well as lead mechanisms and auxiliary parts of the machine.

For more information or questions about machine guarding safety, please speak with your Supervisor or contact a member of the Facilities Compliance team.