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Industrial Automation and Motion Control Blog | The Knotts Company

Machine Guarding (Aluminum Extrusion) is Serious for Plant Safety

Posted by Mark Howe on September 30, 2011 02:00 PM

Machine SafetyPlant managers and engineers know the importance of safety. OSHA regulations are always at the forefront of safety related decisions, but there are additional precautions that help not only with OSHA compliance but with overall plant and production line safety.

One of the safety features in particular is machine guarding made with 80/20 aluminum extrusions. With virtually any mechanical devices used in plants, machine guarding should be a mandatory part of the safety equipment considerations. For plant managers and engineers who are serious about safety, machine guarding has been a normal part of processing and production equipment accessories. When reviewing your plant equipment, there are some areas to evaluate for machine guarding:

  • Belt drives, shafts, gears, and any other rotating parts should be guarded. Even the most attentive workers could inadvertently fall victim to moving machine parts in assembly or production plants.As a general rule, any moving parts that are within 7 feet of ground level should be considered a safety hazard. Guarding and blocking access to these areas should be a top priority.

  • Machine guarding should not hinder or slow the production process.Workers need access to the line, and products or packaging should be able to flow without delay through the processing line.

  • Mounting of the guards must be highly secured with little to no possibility of coming loose or breaking. Also guards that rattle noisily could cause noise problems in plants that need to be aware of the impact of constant noise environments to worker auditory health.

  • While the primary goal of machine guarding is worker safety, the guards should also be considered in order to prevent debris from getting into the machinery, causing premature failure.

  • Guards should be made from a reliable material that is consistent with other plant machinery. Materials should be able to withstand normal wear and typical tolerances that the machinery would endure. Surface areas should be particularly compliant with food production and other sensitive production lines.

When safety is a top priority in your plant, machine guards should be routinely inspected and replaced when necessary. Review your guards, and if needed add more or replace faulty guards as soon as possible.

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Topics: manufacturing, industrial automation nj/ny, aluminum extrusion in nj, aluminum extrusion, machine guard, Machine Guarding