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Above: Des Moines Municipal Service Center

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Safety Spotlight - Machine Guarding

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

By: Alec Schaufenbuel

Foremen and Superintendents hold weekly meetings with their crews to discuss various safety topics ranging from fall protection to crane signaling. These meetings provide everyone an opportunity to discuss safety in general and the issues that surround the work they will be completing that week, it also keeps safety a top priority. Every month we provide them all with an extra topic at our monthly superintendent meeting to share across all jobsites. This month we discussed machine and tool guarding.

One of OSHA’s 10 most frequently cited standards in construction involves improper machine guarding or tools that do not have the proper guards in place. Missing guards or guards placed incorrectly can be very dangerous to those working directly with the tool and those around them.

On our jobsites, the rule is to follow all manufacturers’ recommendations. As an added precaution we have also switched all of our saws to Saw Stops. Saw Stop is a brand that provides saws that stop when they come into contact with electrical conductive materials (such as a hand). Even with these saws in place, we still require a guard be used in order to recognize OSHA’s requirements for operating these tools.

Best practices for tool and machine guarding:
1) If it came with a guard – use it
2) If there is an exposed moving part (belt, blade, gear) – find the guard and put it back in place

All tools and machines must have proper guards in place

Above: Example of proper and improper machine guarding. Safety first!