Machine Safeguarding

Types of Machine Safeguards

Understanding the different types of machine safeguarding starts with a clear understanding of the definitions. Each type of machine safeguard has features, benefits, and drawbacks that are specifically suited for machinery based on a variety of factors including:

  • Access frequency
  • Potential risk/injury severity
  • Practicality
  • Location

While this list is not comprehensive, considering each of these factors for every machine or entire process in your facility can help guide the safeguarding decision process. These factors will make it easy to navigate common scenarios that we encounter: preventative maintenance access for maintenance personnel, maintaining maximum visibility for machinery operators, and other process requirements.

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Listen (or read the script) to Mike Plesnarski, the Engineering Services division manager, discuss the Safeguarding Process and things to look for on the latest “Get Sparked” podcast.

Interlocked Guards

Interlocked doors shut down machinery, such as this vertical machining center, upon door open.

When activated, this guard type disengages power to the machine, stops any moving parts, and prevents the machine from restarting until the guard is returned to the operational state.

Moveable Guards

A door provides a movable guard without the need for tooling remove the guard.

When access to the machine is frequently required, such as for maintenance and operations, movable guards with interlocking features protect operators and maintenance technicians.

Sensing Devices

Sensing devices, such as the light curtains shown, prevent machines from operating when triggered.

When physical guarding is not possible, the stop distance formula (summarized in the eBook) is used with sensing devices to cease hazardous motion before an injury occurs.

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Our Machine Safeguarding Process

Our Machine Safeguarding Process

The engineering service team’s goal in reviewing any safeguarding project is to maximize safety while maintaining machine, operator, and maintenance functionality in an economically viable way. To achieve these results, we follow a proven method for complete facility analysis:

  • Identify hazards by completing a team-based risk assessment
  • Based on the results, create a prioritized list of machines that require safeguards
  • Meet with safety team members to determine which type of guard to utilize for each hazard
  • Develop designs
  • Implement safeguarding on the machinery

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