Machine Guarding

Moving parts pose a hazard when operating machinery. Machine guards lower the risk of contact between the operator and the machine. Safeguards put in place must prevent contact with the hazard, be secure, protect from falling objects, create no new hazards, create no interference, and allow for the safe lubrication of parts. Because machine guards do not eliminate the risk of contact, it is always important to be mindful of your extremities, clothing, and hair when operating machinery.

Electrically powered equipment must have a lock-out control on the switch or an electrical switch, mechanical clutch or other positive shut-off device mounted directly on the equipment. Circuit interruption devices on an electric motor, such as circuit breakers or overload protection, must require manual reset to restart the motor. Lockout/ tagout procedures should be followed by a qualified technician when servicing or altering the machine. Contact CPFM customer service for assistance at 541-346-2319.

Hazards to machine operators that can't be designed around must be shielded to protect the operator from injury or death. Guards, decals and labels which identify the danger must be kept in place whenever the machine is operated. Guards or shields removed for maintenance must be properly replaced before use. Moving parts present the greatest hazard because of the swiftness of their action and unforgiving and relentless motion.

Common machine hazards occurring around moving parts include:


Where two parts move together and at least one of the parts moves in a circle, “pinch points” are a hazard. These are also called mesh points, run-on points, and entry points. Examples include belt drives, chain drives, gear drives, and feed rolls. When shields cannot be provided, operators must avoid contact with hands or clothing in pinch point areas. Never attempt to service or unclog a machine while it is operating or the engine is running.


Wrap points are any exposed component that rotates. Examples include: Rotating shafts such as a PTO shaft or shafts that protrude beyond bearings or sprockets. Watch components on rotating shafts, such as couplers, universal joints, keys, keyways, pins, or other fastening devices. Splined, square, and hexagon-shaped shafts are usually more dangerous than round shafts because the edges tend to grab fingers or clothing more easily than a round shaft, but round shafts may not be smooth and can also grab quickly. Once a finger, thread, article of clothing, or hair is caught it begins to wrap; pulling only causes the wrap to become tighter.


Shear points are present where the edges of two moving parts move across one another, or where a single sharp part moves with enough speed or force to cut soft material. Crop cutting devices cannot be totally guarded to keep hands and feet out and still perform their intended function. Recognize the potential hazards of cutting and shear points on implements and equipment that are not designed to cut or shear. Guarding may not be feasible for these hazards.


Crust points occur between two objects moving toward each other or one object moving toward a stationary object. Never stand between two objects moving toward one another. Use adequate blocking or lock-out devices when working under equipment.


These are points where objects are pulled into equipment, usually for some type of processing. Machines are faster and stronger than people. Never attempt to hand-feed materials into moving feed rollers. Always stop the equipment before attempting to remove an item that has plugged a roller or that has become wrapped around a rotating shaft. Remember that guards cannot be provided for all situations. Freewheeling parts, rotating or moving parts that continue to move after the power is shut off are particularly dangerous because time delays are necessary before service can begin. Allow sufficient time for freewheeling parts to stop moving. Stay alert! Listen and watch for motion!


Any object that can become airborne because of moving parts. Keep shields in place to reduce the potential for thrown objects. Wear protective gear such as goggles to reduce the risk of personal injury if you cannot prevent particles from being thrown. All guards, shields or access doors must be in place when equipment is operating.