Machine Safety: Where do I start?

“We are a medium sized business in manufacturing and our new owners are very interested in machine guarding and machine safety for our employees. Where do I start?” Eight tips follow for a machine safety and machine guarding.


J.B. Titus, CFSE“We are a medium-sized business in manufacturing and our new owners are very interested in machine guarding and machine safety for our employees. Where do I start?”


There are literally thousands of companies with this background asking – where do I start? I believe that this question is largely driven by the following:

1.)  New management realizing the importance of machine safety to their business.

2.)  An understanding that recent revisions to machine safety standards offer opportunities.

3.)  Hearing pier chatter about a (new) Risk Assessment requirement.

4.)  Suppliers offering machine safety seminars on the above.  


I realize that there are a lot of additional details that need to be considered, however, many machine safety experts generally recommend these basic steps for better machine safety and machine guarding:


1.  Management needs to assign one executive with machine safety oversight responsibility.

2.  A team needs to be identified for implementation and execution of company safety policy.

3.  Gather all your machine safety standards, OSHA regulations, drawings, manuals, accident and/or maintenance history, etc.

4.  Conduct a plant-wide high-level machine guarding/safety assessment to establish hazard level priorities.

5.  Immediately install any fixed/moveable guards as necessary based on the above.

6.  Conduct machine specific risk assessments based on the priorities established above.

7.  Mitigate all identified hazards to acceptable levels.

8.  And, document the entire process.


The above are some general steps I believe most manufacturers can consider and adapt into their business operations. These activities generally can occur over time supplemented with training programs, PPE (personal protective equipment), warning signs, and other administrative programs and controls. OSHA incidents, injuries and accidents will certainly impact these suggestions on – where do I start?


Your ideas, experiences, comments or suggestion are always welcome so please let us know your thoughts. Submit your ideas, experiences, and challenges on this subject in the comments section below. Click on the following text if you don't see a comments box, then scroll down: Machine Safety: Where do I start?



Related articles:

Machine Safety – without an injury, OSHA issues citations for $1M +

We’re Safe – We’ve Had No Machine Safety Accidents For A Long Time

Machine Safety – does OSHA reference consensus standards for compliance?


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