Moving machine parts can cause minor injuries such as cuts and scrapes, major crushing and amputation injuries, and even death. Learn about machine guarding and the safe work practices you need to follow.

Get training before you use moving machinery. Understand how the machine works and what the potential hazards are. The main categories of machine hazards include point of operation, ingoing nip points, and rotating parts.

Point of operation hazards occur where the machine work is actually done on the material such as cutting, shearing, pressing, punching, or forming. These machines require a guard that prevents the operator’s hands or fingers from coming near the point of operation. The guards can include physical shields or barriers, laser sighted power controls, and even operator restraints that limit the movements of hands and arms.

The in-running side of rolling equipment can pull fingers, hands, and arms into machines. Guarding for roll type equipment is required by using a fixed or self-adjusting barrier that allows material through, but prevents body parts from entering. Machine braking and emergency shutoff bars also control rolling hazards.

Rotating machinery poses a threat of injury, amputation, scalping, and death. Rotating parts require guards or shields to prevent accidental contact. Never wear gloves, neckties, jewelry, lanyards, or loose fitting clothing that could become entangled. Tie back and secure long hair.

A machine guarding safety program includes inspecting machinery before each use and throughout work shifts. Do not remove guards or maneuver them so that the machine can function without them. Do not use machines if the guards are removed or damaged. Use lockout/tagout procedures when performing maintenance or clearing jams.

Many machine guarding details can apply to different industries and equipment types. Consult the Title 8 Safety Orders on the Cal/OSHA website for detailed guarding instructions.