Machine Safety Reviews and Guarding Evaluations

Our engineers have been providing Machine Safeguarding Reviews for machines and processes in Canada and the USA for over a decade. Even if a Pre Start Health & Safety Review is not required, or for machines outside of Ontario, both Canada and the U.S.A. legislation indicates that an employer has a general duty of care to ensure that workers will be protected when they use any machine or process in the workplace.

We have extensive experience developing engineered solutions pertaining to industrial regulations, Ministry of Labour orders, CSA requirements and OSHA requirements. We can perform safeguarding audits of your machines or processes. We can also provide safe distance calculations and machine stop time analysis to ensure that your safeguarding controls provide sufficient coverage.

What is Machine Safeguarding?

Machine safeguarding is a process intended to define the most appropriate measures to achieve the highest possible level of safety. The ultimate goal is to safeguard the machine to prevent or minimize the risk exposure, minimizing injury, while maintaining productivity. In many cases, the elimination of the hazards is not possible without a machine redesign, which may not be an option. Machine Safety Reviews will typically recommend safeguards, controls and barriers that eliminate risk of injury or, if not possible, reduce the scale of injury, using applicable standards, to reduce the level of risk to a low or negligible level.

Most jurisdictions, in both Canada and the United States, have a general duty clause for machine safety. Ontario legislation requires access to hazards be prevented as defined in the Occupational Health & Safety Act, specifically Regulation 851, Regulations for Industrial Establishments. In the United States, the general duty clause in Federal Regulations, Section 5a, requires a hazard free workplace. Specific requirements are contained in OSHA Regulations (Standards – 29 CFR), Part 1910, Occupational Safety and Health Standards.

Thus, unless a hazard is absolutely inaccessible by virtue of its location or position, machinery should be provided with additional safeguarding that eliminates access to the hazard(s) where potential injury is reasonably foreseeable.

Engineered controls or other safeguards that eliminate risk of injury are typically recommended to reduce the scale of injury using applicable CSA or other standards. For example, within CSA Z432-16, Clause 5 refers to identification of hazards and Clause 6 to measures to reduce and eliminate injury.
The Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) has a publication on Machine Safeguarding that outlines typical hazards and safeguarding.
ANSI B11/ISO 12100-2010 provides guidelines for choosing appropriate safeguards for machines. Fixed guards are the simplest method of safeguarding, provided access to the danger zone is not required by the operator during normal operation. Specific clauses list safeguards which can be used when access to the hazard zone is required either for normal or infrequent access.

Other ANSI or ISO standards address machine specific or general safeguarding standards.

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