As an employer you have a legal requirement to adequately guard dangerous machinery. Non-compliance of these obligations can lead to significant fines, imposed restrictions and loss of staff productivity. Employers are responsible for providing all necessary machine guarding and safety equipment throughout their factory, workshop or other workplace. Workers are responsible for using the guards and other safety measures required by the employer.


Why you should treat machine guarding seriously


·        Employers have a ‘common law’ duty of care to the people who come into contact with their business.


·        The OSHA Act (1972) and the Machine guarding Regulations outline legal responsibilities which include the provision of guarding for machinery in the workplace. Non compliance can lead to significant fines and lawsuits.


Poor machine guarding practices are a major hazard confronted by people in the workplace everyday. Approximately 8 out of 10 workplace fatalities and 1 in 4 workplace injuries involve mechanical equipment. Many workplace injuries, caused through machinery are preventable.




Managing health and safety is an ongoing process that requires commitment by both management and employees in order to:


  • identify the hazard
  • assess the risk
  • control the risk
  • evaluate control measures



  1. Discussions with employees
  2. Safety assessments conducted by engineers and designers in the early stages of a new product and/or process design.
  3. Pre-purchase reviews of specifications for equipment and materials, conducted to ensure only the safest equipment come into the workplace. Once equipment and materials arrive, check for hazards and introduce controls before use.
  4. Incident, accident and injury data analysis, to identify any patterns of injury or near misses which have occurred in the workplace, or in other similar workplaces.
  5. Work process reviews. Informal hazard assessments can easily be conducted by experienced personnel. This requires workers to carefully think through the task and try to anticipate where hazards might arise.




·        activities they perform

·        where their face, hands and feet are placed

·        the body position they assume while they are performing a specific task

·        hazard exposure inherent in the equipment or generated by it

·        Regular workplace inspections (using a checklist) to help uncover obvious workplace hazards.





  • points of operation
  • contact or entanglement with machinery
  • being trapped between machine and material or fixed structure
  • contact with material in motion
  • being struck by ejected parts of machinery
  • being struck by material ejected from machine
  • release of potential energy




Our onsite consultant will determine the appropriate control measures that must be put in place to eliminate the risk, or where it is not reasonably practicable to do so, the risk must be minimized. The hierarchy of control (listed in order of priority) is:


  1. Elimination (means to completely remove the hazard, or the risk of hazard exposure. Removal of the hazard is the ideal control solution)


  1. Substitution (involves replacing a hazardous piece of machinery or a work process with a non-hazardous one)


  1. Engineering (If a hazard cannot be eliminated or replaced with a less hazardous option, the next preferred measure is to use an engineering control. ‘Engineering’ controls may include: machine guarding)


  1. Administration (Where ‘Engineering’ cannot fully control a health and safety risk, administration controls should be used. ‘Administration’ controls introduce work practices that reduce risk and limit employee exposure. They include:

·        training employees in correct and safe operation

·        developing Safe Operating Procedures (SOPs)

·        reducing the number of employees exposed to the hazard

·        reducing the period of employee exposure

·        developing and implementing Lock-out / Tag-out / Block-out procedures

·        displaying appropriate warning signs


  1. Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) (Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) should only be used when other higher order control measures are not possible, and only as a short term solution. Efforts to remove health and safety risks using ‘Elimination’, ‘Engineering’ and ‘Administration’ controls should be fully explored before PPE is implemented. Examples of PPE include:

·        safety glasses

·        face shields

·        gloves

·        hearing protection


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