When it comes to machine guarding, safety is the highest priority.
That’s why risk level is the top consideration when selecting a machine guard. Risk assessments are necessary to determine if a certain machine guard fits your needs and to prevent or reduce exposure to hazards. To select the type of guarding appropriate for your own facility, it is important to assess the risks of different hazards your employees could be subjected to.
These types of assessments can be scaled to your particular situation, whether you have a single hazard, multiple hazards from one machine, or hazards on complex systems. While zero risk cannot be attained, the goal of the risk assessment is to put measures into place to reduce risk to an acceptable level.
Considerations for your Machine Risk Assessment
To conduct this kind of survey, a risk assessment leader will often meet with a group or individuals on the shop floor level to gain insight into the potential hazards. Below is a list of things to be aware of when conducting a machine risk assessment survey for machine guarding.
Every aspect of the machine environment and operation should be considered to find areas of potential risk. Failing to consider every aspect could lead to unnecessarily hazardous situations for employees. Our goal – and the goal of a risk assessment leader or operational leader – is to avoid injury and keep the machines running effectively. Here are the primary considerations:
Access to hazard zones
The design of guards and machinery is crucial to minimize access to hazard zones. Maintenance, cleaning, and other adjustments should be carried out without having to open or remove guards. Guards that prevent access to hazard zones should be placed far enough from the machine to prevent parts of the body from reaching the hazard.
Containment of ejected parts and other impacts
Machine guarding should be placed so that it contains and withstands ejecting parts from the machine and other impacts from parts of machinery or from the operator.
If radiation is a foreseeable risk in your facility, machine guards should be designed to protect employees from the radiation. This could include using a darkened glazing.
Risk Assessment Key Terms
With how important risk assessments are to the safety of your facility, we thought providing you with a few definitions was worth including here.
- engineering controls: Guards, devices, and other parts of the control system used to reduce risk
- risk: The probability of a hazard causing harm and the severity of that harm
- risk assessment: A survey of the level of potential risk is determined for machines and other hazards
- risk assessment process: The process of identifying hazards, assessing risk, and reducing risk
- residual risk: The remaining risk after protective measures have been put in place
- risk reduction: The elimination of hazards or the reduction of the probability of harm by putting into place risk reduction measures
- risk reduction measure: Any action or means used to eliminate hazards and reduce risks.
- safeguarded space: The area surrounding a hazard zone where engineering controls are intended to protect individuals
- safety distance: The minimum distance an engineering control is installed from a hazard so individuals are not exposed
Machine Guarding and the Reduction of Risk
There are a lot of steps that go into the elimination of hazards and the reduction of risks in your facility. Putting into place proper engineering controls (guards, control functions, and devices) and administrative controls (awareness means, proper training, and personal protective equipment) are necessary measures to ensure safety in your facility. We’ve recommended and provided our machine guards to facilities across the county. However, determining what is necessary for your unique situation always requires a thorough risk assessment. **Not provided by WireCrafters**
Providing guards that are inherently safe by design is our commitment at WireCrafters and also why we engineered an entirely new model recently – the RapidGuard II.
We have safety specialists as well as business representatives ready to talk more in depth. Let us know if you’d like to connect!