J. J. Keller® Compliance Network Logo
Start Experiencing Compliance Network for Free!
Update to Professional Trial!

Be Part of the Ultimate Safety & Compliance Community

Trending news, knowledge-building content, and more – all personalized to you!

Already have an account?
FREE TRIAL UPGRADE!
Thank you for investing in EnvironmentalHazmat related content. Click 'UPGRADE' to continue.
CANCEL
YOU'RE ALL SET!
Enjoy your limited-time access to the Compliance Network!
A confirmation welcome email has been sent to your email address from ComplianceNetwork@t.jjkellercompliancenetwork.com. Please check your spam/junk folder if you can't find it in your inbox.
YOU'RE ALL SET!
Thank you for your interest in EnvironmentalHazmat related content.
WHOOPS!
You've reached your limit of free access, if you'd like more info, please contact us at 800-327-6868.
You'll also get exclusive access to:
TRY IT FREE TODAY
Already have an account? .
:
focus-area/safety-and-health/machine-guarding
555326397
['Machine Guarding']

Wherever there is machinery, there is also the risk of mechanical hazards. Any operation in which material is cut, shaped, bored, or formed creates the potential for injury to employees. To protect employees from mechanical hazards, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration requires employers to implement the safeguarding methods necessary to prevent exposure to injury.

Machine guarding

Wherever there is machinery, there is also the risk of mechanical hazards. Any operation in which material is cut, shaped, bored, or formed creates the potential for injury to employees. To protect employees from mechanical hazards, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration requires employers to implement the safeguarding methods necessary to prevent exposure to injury.

What are the general OSHA requirements for machine guarding?

  • Certain types of machinery have specific guarding requirements, but most equipment is covered by the general-purpose standard, 29 CFR 1910.212.
  • All mechanical components that could cause injury to employees must be effectively safeguarded.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has specific guarding requirements for certain types of machinery (i.e., woodworking; grinding; power presses; forging machines; and pulleys, belts, and shafting). For most equipment, such as balers, compactors, shears, and press brakes, OSHA relies on the “catch-all” standard for machine safeguarding, 29 CFR 1910.212, “General requirements for all machines.”

Safeguarding machinery involves taking the necessary steps to protect employees from hazardous mechanical components and processes. A central lesson of the catch-all standard is:

  • Any mechanical component or process that could injure employees must be safeguarded.

Mechanical hazards for which employers must provide proper safeguarding include:

  • The point of operation, where work is performed on the stock;
  • The power-transmission apparatus, which comprises all parts that transmit energy to the part performing the work;
  • Other parts of the machine that move during operation; and
  • Flying chips and sparks.

Protecting employees from these hazards is a matter of choosing effective safeguarding methods. Effective safeguarding methods must:

  • Prevent contact with hazardous components during machine operation;
  • Not create additional hazards, such as new nip points between guards and rotating parts;
  • Be secure, durable, and resistant to tampering;
  • Not interfere with normal machine operation unless necessary for protecting employees; and
  • Not interfere with servicing or maintenance.

What are the safeguarding requirements for conveyors?

  • Conveyors need guarding to protect against nip points, shear points, and dangerous moving parts.
  • Emergency stops, awareness devices, and safe work procedures are all important safeguarding methods for protecting against conveyor hazards.

Conveyors are used in many industries to transport materials horizontally, vertically, at an angle, and around curves. Because many conveyors have unique features and uses, the hazards that conveyors pose to employees will vary depending on the material conveyed, each conveyor’s location, and each conveyor’s proximity to employees.

Conveyors eliminate or reduce manual material handling tasks, but they also present amputation hazards associated with nip points, shear points, and mechanical motion. To protect employees from conveyor hazards, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires all employers with conveyors in the workplace to implement adequate safeguarding methods.

Safeguarding requirements for conveyors

OSHA requires all employers with conveyors to:

  • Evaluate each conveyor to determine which primary safeguarding methods and energy control (lockout/tagout) practices are required;
  • Provide guards for all nip points, shear points, and dangerous moving parts;
  • Provide an emergency stop switch or pull cord that is accessible from all operator locations;
  • Install guards or pans where materials could fall off conveyors and injure workers below;
  • Use prominent awareness devices, such as warning signs or lights, to alert employees to the conveyor operation where necessary;
  • Allow only trained individuals to operate conveyors and only trained, authorized staff to perform servicing and maintenance work;
  • Inspect the entire conveyor and immediate work area before startup to determine that actuation will not cause an employee hazard;
  • Inspect and test conveyor safety mechanisms before startup, such as its alarms, emergency stops, and safeguarding methods, to ensure that all are functional;
  • Forbid employees from riding on conveyors;
  • Prohibit employees working with or near conveyors from wearing loose clothing or jewelry and require them to secure long hair with a net or cap; and
  • Perform servicing and maintenance under an energy control program in accordance with 29 CFR 1910.147, ”The control of hazardous energy (lockout/tagout).”
    • For example, instruct employees to lubricate, align, service, and maintain conveyors when the conveyor is locked or tagged out if the task would expose them to an area of the conveyor or adjacent machinery where hazardous energy exists.

(These requirements are found at 29 CFR 1910.212 or are extensions of the “General Duty Clause” at 5(a)(1) of the OSH Act of 1970. Some industry-specific OSHA standards, such as those for bakeries, also cover conveyor safety to varying degrees.)

What should employers look for when inspecting conveyors?

  • Barrier guard installation, accessway placement, hazard warnings, emergency stops, and safe work practices are important safeguarding methods for conveyors.

General

Employers should check whether:

  • Guards are installed for all sprockets, chains, rollers, belts, and other moving parts that prevent contact with nip points and shear points;
  • Prominent warning signs or lights are installed to alert workers to the conveyor operation when installing guarding devices is not feasible;
  • All conveyor openings, such as wall openings, floor openings, chutes, and hoppers, have guards when the conveyor is not in use;
  • All start buttons have guards to prevent accidental operation;
  • All conveyor controls and power sources accept a lockout/tagout device to allow safe maintenance procedures; and
  • Each conveyor is equipped with audible start-up alarms.

(29 CFR 1910.212; Section 5(a)(1) of the OSH Act [General Duty Clause])

Crossovers, aisles, and passageways

Employers should check whether:

  • All accesses and aisles that cross over, cross under, or are adjacent to the conveyor have adequate clearance and handrails or other guards;
  • Crossovers are placed in areas where employees are most likely to use them;
  • All underpasses have protected ceilings;
  • Appropriate hazard warning signs are posted at all crossovers, aisles, and passageways; and
  • Emergency egress is considered when determining the placement of crossovers, aisles, and passageways.

(1910.212; General Duty Clause)

Emergency stops/shut-offs

Employers should check whether:

  • All conveyors are equipped with interlocking devices that shut the conveyors down in the case of an electrical or mechanical overload, such as a product jam or other stoppage;
  • All conveyors arranged in series will automatically stop whenever any single conveyor in the series stops;
  • All conveyors are equipped with emergency stop controls that must be manually reset before conveyors can resume operation;
  • Clearly marked, unobstructed emergency stop buttons or pull cords are installed within easy reach of workers; and
  • All continuously accessible conveyor belts are equipped with emergency stop cables that extend the entire belt length for workers’ easy access.

(1910.212; General Duty Clause)

Work practices and controls

Employers should check whether:

  • All required safe operating procedures for conveyors are implemented;
  • Periodic inspections are conducted to ensure compliance with applicable standards and regulations, such as 1910.212 and ANSI B20.1;
  • Only trained individuals operate conveyors and only trained, authorized staff perform maintenance;
  • Employees working with or near conveyors are trained on the location and use of emergency stop devices and the proper procedures for operating conveyors;
  • Employees are prohibited from riding on conveyors;
  • Employees are instructed to cross over or under conveyors only at properly designed and safeguarded passageways;
  • Employees lubricate, align, and maintain conveyors only when conveyors are stopped;
    • Note: If this is impractical, workers may perform this work at a safe distance from any ingoing nip points or pinch points, installing extended oiler tubes and adjusting screws when helpful.
  • Employees are prohibited from wearing loose clothing or jewelry while working with or near conveyors;
  • Employees secure long hair with nets or caps; and
  • All servicing and maintenance is performed under an energy control program in accordance with 1910.147, ”The control of hazardous energy (lockout/tagout).”

(1910.212; General Duty Clause)

What are the safeguarding requirements for drill presses?

  • Guards for electric drill presses must protect employees from the rotating bit, chuck, and swarf.
  • Employers must outfit each drill press with necessary guards and train employees to secure material properly and to follow other safe work procedures.

Electric drill presses use a rotating bit to drill or cut holes in wood or metal. These holes may be cut to preset depths or completely through the stock. Electric drill presses are highly useful across industry, but the ease with which these powerful tools can operate makes the hazards they pose very real.

Drill presses pose amputation hazards from employees making direct contact with the rotating drill bit during operation and from clothing or hair getting caught in rotating parts. To protect employees from these and other hazards, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires all employers with drill presses to establish adequate safeguards.

Safeguarding requirements for drill presses

OSHA requires all employers with drill presses to:

  • Protect employees from the rotating chuck and swarf with effective shielding, such as telescoping shielding that attaches to the quill and retracts as the bit contacts the stock;
  • Install guarding over the motor, belts, and pulleys;
  • Install an adjustable guard to cover the unused portion of the bit and chuck above the stock;
  • Develop and implement safe operating practices for drill press operations, such as removing the chuck immediately after each use, and conduct periodic inspections to ensure compliance with these practices;
  • Train and supervise all operators until they can work safely on their own;
  • Instruct employees to secure long hair in a net or cap and not to wear gloves, jewelry, or loose-fitting clothing while operating a drill press;
  • Ensure that operators secure stock to the drill press bed with clamps before drilling so the stock will not spin or strike the operator, and ensure that operators do not manually secure the stock to the bed while the drill bit is rotating;
  • Replace projecting chucks and set screws with non-projecting safety-bit chucks and set screws;
  • Ensure that all servicing and maintenance is performed under an energy control program in accordance with 29 CFR 1910.147, “The control of hazardous energy (lockout/tagout)”; and
  • Anchor the machinery so it will not “walk” or tip during operation.

(These requirements are found at 1910.212 and 1910.213.)

What should employers look for when inspecting drill presses?

  • Primary safeguarding methods for drill presses protect operators from point-of-operation hazards, loose material, and hazardous moving parts.

General

Employers should check whether:

  • Operators and other employees are protected from rotating parts, flying chips, and cuttings (29 CFR 1910.212(a)(1));
  • Specially designed shields are attached to the quill and used to guard the point of operation (1910.212(a)(3); 1910.213; OSHA Guidance Publication 3170);
  • For example, telescopic shielding that retracts as the drill bit contacts the stock or a more universal-type shield can be used;
  • All automatic machines and high-production machines have enclosures designed and installed to guard the employee from the entire drilling operation (OSHA Guidance Publication 3170);
  • Barrier guarding is provided over the motor, belts, and pulleys (1910.219; 1910.213(a)(9));
  • An adjustable guard is installed to cover the unused portion of the bit and chuck above the material being worked (1910.212; 1910.213); and
  • Provisions are made to prevent machines from automatically restarting and injuring operators when power is restored after power failures. (1910.213(b)(3))

Operation

Employers should check whether:

Maintenance

Employers should check whether:

  • Employees ever adjust drill presses while the drill bit is rotating (1910.147);
  • All drill presses are shut off when unused or unattended for any period (OSHA Guidance Publication 3170); and
  • Employees servicing and maintaining machinery and equipment always follow an energy control program in accordance with 1910.147, “The control of hazardous energy (lockout/tagout).”
    • Note: The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recognizes that some minor servicing may have to be performed during normal production operations, so a lockout/tagout exception is allowed for this requirement. For example, minor drill press tool changes and adjustments may be performed without lockout/tagout if the machine’s electrical disconnect or control (on/off) switches control all the hazardous energy and are: (1) properly designed and applied in accordance with good engineering practice, (2) placed in an off (open) position, and (3) under the exclusive control of the employee performing the minor servicing task. (Details are found at 1910.147(a)(2)(ii))

PPE

Employers should:

  • Assess the workplace to determine whether there are hazards or potential hazards that require the use of personal protection equipment (PPE) (1910.132(d));
  • Provide affected employees with the required PPE and enforce its proper use (1910.132(d));
  • Provide eye/face protection where there is a hazard of flying objects (1910.132; 1910.135; OSHA Guidance Publication 3170); and
  • Instruct employees to secure long hair in a net or cap and not to wear gloves, jewelry, or loose-fitting clothing while operating a drill press. (OSHA Guidance Publication 3170)

What are the OSHA requirements for emergency stop devices?

  • Emergency stop devices protect employees by halting hazardous mechanical motion.
  • Emergency stops must be clearly marked, easily accessible, and properly maintained.

Emergency stop devices, or “E-stops,” protect workers who become entangled in machinery. To protect workers effectively, these devices must be properly installed, identified, and maintained wherever workers are exposed to hazardous machinery. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) only addresses emergency stop controls in a few standards, and these standards do not provide a great deal of information. (For example, 29 CFR 1910.216, “Mills and calendars in the rubber and plastic industries”; 1910.217, “Mechanical power presses”; 1910.261, “Pulp, paper, and paperboard mills”; and 1910.144(a)(1)(iii), “Safety color code for marking physical hazards.”)

Absent a particular requirement, OSHA has used the General Duty Clause to cite for emergency stop issues, sometimes referencing NFPA 79, Electrical Standard for Industrial Machinery. In fact, the following is an excerpt from an actual General Duty Clause citation for lack of an e-stop:

  • Section 5(a)(1) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970: The employer did not furnish employment and a place of employment which were free from recognized hazards that were causing or likely to cause death or serious physical harm to employees in that employees were exposed to being struck-by and caught-in rotating parts ... the employer failed to provide an emergency stop at the operator control station ... that would stop all motions of the machine that cause a hazardous condition, e.g., rotating parts, belts, gears, and cutting heads. Among other methods, one feasible and acceptable method to correct this hazard is to ensure that the "stop" and "emergency stop" functions on this machine ... conform to the requirements of the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) standard 79; Electrical Standard for Industrial Machinery, 2007 edition; Section 9, "Control Circuits and Control Functions"; and Section 10, "Operator Interface and Control Devices" ...

E-stops cannot detect or prevent hazardous situations before they happen, but they are a vital last defense for employees exposed to mechanical hazards.

Safety requirements for emergency stop devices

In workplaces where employees are exposed to hazardous machinery, OSHA requires employers to:

  • Ensure E-stop devices have red buttons, switches, or handles, and ensure that the backings for these E-stop buttons, switches, or handles are colored yellow (NFPA 79, Electrical Standard for Industrial Machinery);
  • Install E-stops in such a way that they cannot be overridden from other locations;
  • Require E-stop controls to be manually reset after activation and before operations resume;
  • Ensure E-stops are easily accessible to operators, and ensure that for some equipment, such as continuously accessible conveyor belts, emergency stop cables extend the entire length of the equipment for employees’ easy access; and
  • Test and inspect E-stops according to the manufacturer's guidance.

What are the OSHA requirements for grinding machines?

  • On grinding machines, the point of operation, nip points, and other moving parts all require adequate safeguarding.
  • Employees must follow abrasive wheel guidelines and be trained in other safe work procedures.

Grinding machines primarily alter the size, shape, and surface finish of metal by placing a workpiece against a rotating abrasive surface or wheel. Grinding machines may also be used for grinding glass, ceramics, plastics, and rubber. Many of the hazards posed by grinders, such as flying fragments, sparks, and air contaminants, are the same hazards posed by cutting wheels, polishing wheels, and wire buffing wheels. But grinders also pose several unique hazards: abrasive wheels can shatter; a rotating wheel, flange, or spindle end may be exposed; and the convergence of a rotating wheel and a work rest creates a natural nip point.

Safety requirements for grinding machines

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires all employers with grinding machines to:

  • Ensure all abrasive wheel machines are adequately guarded;
  • Use abrasive discs and wheels that are correctly rated for each grinder’s maximum operating spindle speed (the rating is marked on the disc or wheel in surface feet per minute);
  • Ensure side guards cover the spindle, nut, and flange, as well as 75 percent of the wheel diameter;
  • Install guards over power belts and drives;
  • Develop and implement safe work procedures for grinding machine operations;
  • Ensure the work rest is used and kept adjusted to within one-eighth of an inch (0.3175 cm) of the wheel;
  • Ensure the adjustable tongue guard on the top side of the grinder is used and kept to within one-fourth of an inch (0.6350 cm) of the wheel;
  • Instruct workers to ring-test and visually inspect new abrasive wheels before the wheels are mounted;
  • Prohibit employees from wearing gloves, jewelry, or loose-fitting clothing while operating grinding machines and ensure employees secure long hair in a net or cap; and
  • Ensure that all servicing and maintenance is performed under an energy control program in accordance with 29 CFR 1910.147, “The control of hazardous energy (lockout/tagout).

(These requirements are found at 1910.212 & 1910.219.)

What are the OSHA requirements for mechanical power presses?

  • Mechanical power presses are extremely dangerous machines that can easily injure the hands of unwary operators.
  • Effective safeguarding methods, such as barrier guards and safe work procedures, are required to protect operators from point-of-operation hazards.

A mechanical power press shears, punches, forms, or assembles metal or other materials using an upper die attached to a movable slide and a lower die attached to a stationary bed. Metalworking occurs by placing stock on the lower die and striking it with the upper die. Connecting rods attach the movable slide to a crankshaft, and a clutch is used to connect this crankshaft to a motorized flywheel. When an operator engages the clutch, the crankshaft converts the rotational motion of the flywheel into the lowering and raising of the slide and upper die.

Typical mechanical power presses fall into two main categories based on their type of clutch system: full-revolution clutch and part revolution clutch. Which type of clutch a press uses determines the specific barrier guards and safeguarding methods required for protecting against its hazards.

Power presses are extremely dangerous because of their use in high-production manufacturing and integral operator involvement. Careful operation and strict adherence to safety precautions are essential for protecting operators from the hazards posed by these machines.

Safety requirements for mechanical power presses

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires all employers with mechanical power presses to:

  • Select the appropriate guarding methods for each individual power press;
  • Ensure power transmission components are guarded;
  • Ensure each press has a red emergency stop control that can immediately deactivate the clutch and apply the brake;
  • Protect foot pedals from accidental operation;
  • Keep guards appropriately adjusted;
  • Train operators on the safe operation of presses;
  • Provide and enforce the use of hand tools for removing stuck work and scrap pieces to minimize the time operators’ hands are near the die opening, even when hand feeding is allowed under 29 CFR 1910.217(d)(1)(ii);
  • Establish a system for regular inspection and maintenance to ensure all press components, auxiliary equipment, and safeguards are in safe operating condition and proper adjustment, and retain certification records of all inspections and maintenance (1910.217(e)(1)(i));
  • Inspect and test the condition of the clutch/brake control, antirepeat feature, and single-stroke mechanism at least weekly for presses without control reliability or brake system monitoring, and retail certification records of all inspections and maintenance (1910.217(e)(1)(ii));
  • Perform servicing and maintenance under an energy control program in accordance with 1910.147, “The control of hazardous energy (lockout/tagout)”;
  • Ensure each press has a proper disconnect switch, motor starter, air lockout valve, and transformer for reducing the voltage to 120 volts or less; and
  • Report any point of operation injuries to OSHA.

(These requirements are found at 1910.217 and do not apply to press brakes or hydraulic presses, which are instead covered by the general requirements for all machines at 1910.212.)

What are the primary safeguarding methods for mechanical power presses?

  • Barrier guards and point-of-operation safeguarding devices are essential for preventing hands and fingers from entering the die area.
  • The type of clutch a press uses is one of several considerations that affect which safeguards are appropriate for a specific press.

Primary safeguarding methods for mechanical power presses prevent or minimize employee exposure to a press’s hazard areas, in particular the point of operation. The most common injuries associated with mechanical power presses are amputations due to contact with the die area. Two primary safeguarding methods are used to protect employees from such point-of-operation hazards:

  • Point-of-operation guards are physical barriers that prevent parts of the body from entering the die area, and
  • Point-of-operation safeguarding devices are controls or attachments that prevent contact with the die area in various ways, such as withdrawing an operator’s hands and halting the stroke of the slide if they are detected in the die area.

Employers are required to provide and ensure the use of point-of-operation guards or properly installed point-of-operation safeguarding devices for every operation on presses where the die opening is greater than one-fourth of an inch. Barrier guards and safeguarding devices must be properly designed, installed, used, and maintained in good condition to ensure employee protection. (29 CFR 1910.217)

Because mechanical power presses are extremely versatile, the appropriate safeguarding methods for a particular press will depend on its specific design and use. When selecting appropriate safeguards, an employer must consider the type of clutch a press uses, the size of the stock, how the stock will be fed, and the length of production runs.

Mechanical power press safeguarding methods by clutch type
Full-revolution clutchPart-revolution clutch
Point-of-operation guardPoint-of-operation guard
PullbackPullback
RestraintRestraint
Type A gateType A gate, Type B gate*
Two-hand tripTwo-hand control*
Presence-sensing device*
*“Hands-in-die” operations require additional safeguarding measures: See 1910.217(c)(5).

Mechanical power press point-of-operation safeguards must accomplish at least one of the following:

  • Prevent or stop the normal press stroke if the operator’s hands are in the die area;
  • Prevent the operator from reaching into the die area at any time;
  • Prevent the operator from reaching into the die area as the die closes;
  • Prevent the operator from reaching into the die area by enclosing it both before a press stroke can be started and before the slide motion stops during the downward stroke;
  • Withdraw the operator’s hands if inadvertently placed in the die area as the die closes; or
  • Require the operator to use both hands on machine controls located at such a distance that the slide completes the downward travel or stops before the operator can reach into the die area.

Press barrier guards must prevent hands and fingers from entering the point of operation through, over, under, or around the guard. In addition, guards must conform to the maximum permissible openings listed in Table O-10 of 1910.217:

Table O-10 (Guard opening allowances in inches)
Distance of opening from point-of-operation hazardMaximum width of opening
This table shows the distances that guards shall be positioned from the danger line in accordance with the required opening.
1/2 to 11/21/4
11/2 to 21/23/8
21/2 to 31/21/2
31/2 to 51/25/8
51/2 to 61/23/4
61/2 to 71/27/8
71/2 to 121/211/4
121/2 to 151/211/2
151/2 to 171/217/8
171/2 to 311/221/8

What are some secondary safeguarding methods for mechanical power presses?

  • Secondary safeguarding methods give extra protection by supplementing primary safeguards.
  • Employers may never use secondary safeguarding methods alone unless primary safeguarding is impossible.

Safeguarding methods that offer some protection but do not prevent employees from reaching into the die area are considered secondary safeguarding methods. Examples of secondary safeguarding include:

  • Presence-sensing devices,
  • Awareness devices, and
  • Safe work procedures.

Employers may use secondary safeguarding methods to supplement primary safeguarding methods for protecting employees against the hazards of mechanical power presses. However, employers are prohibited from using secondary safeguarding methods alone unless they can show that it is impossible to use any of the primary safeguarding methods.

The following are some work practices, complementary equipment, and energy control procedures that should supplement primary safeguarding methods.

“No-hands-in-die” policy and hand-feeding tools

Employers need to enforce a “no-hands-in-die” policy that prohibits power press operators from placing hands in the die area during normal operations, unless a press is designed for “hands-in-die” work. Employers must also enforce the use of hand tools to feed and remove material from the die area to minimize the time operators’ hands spend near it, even when hand feeding is allowed according to 29 CFR 1910.217(d)(1)(ii).

However, hand-tool feeding alone does not ensure that the operator’s hands cannot reach the danger area. For this reason, employers must still use primary safeguarding methods to protect operators, such as secure barrier guards and a properly applied two-hand control or two-hand trip safeguarding device.

Integrating point-of-operation safeguarding with lockout/tagout

When guards are removed from the die area for press servicing and maintenance work such as die setting and repair, exposure to hazardous slide motion creates serious point-of-operation hazards. Employees performing this kind of servicing and maintenance must use energy control procedures that integrate point-of-operation safeguarding methods with lockout/tagout procedures.

One essential point-of-operation safeguarding method is the safe use of an inch or jog safety device. By operating a part-revolution press in the inch mode, using two-hand controls or a single control mounted at a safe distance from the die area, die setters and service personnel can control hazardous slide motion by gradually “inching” the press through small portions of a stroke.

However, an inch or jog safety device cannot prevent the slide from falling if there is a component or control system malfunction or if the press is activated by others. For this reason, additional energy control precautions (e.g., safety blocks; lockout/tagout of the press disconnect switch if re-energization presents a hazard) are necessary if employees must place hands or arms between a press’s bolster plate and slide for servicing and maintenance such as adjusting, cleaning, or repairing dies.

What are the OSHA requirements for mechanical power-transmission apparatuses?

  • A machine’s power-transmission apparatus comprises all components that transmit energy to the point of operation.
  • Moving components and nip points must be guarded to protect employees from amputation hazards.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) considers a mechanical power-transmission apparatus to be all components of the mechanical system that transmit energy to the part of the machine performing the work. These components include flywheels, pulleys, belts, connecting rods, couplings, cams, spindles, chains, cranks, and gears. These types of systems present rotating parts and nip points that can cause injury by catching employees’ hands, arms, clothing, or hair. In addition, power-transmission apparatuses installed above work areas can injure employees with flying and falling materials if the guards break.

OSHA requires guarding for most types of power-transmission apparatus. Generally, power-transmission components such as flywheels, shafting, belts, and pulleys must be guarded unless they are located more than seven feet above a floor or platform. (29 CFR 1910.219)

This section covers all types and shapes of power-transmission belts, except the following when operating at 250 feet per minute or less:

  • Flat belts 1-inch wide or less,
  • Flat belts 2-inches wide or less that are free from metal lacings and fasteners,
  • Round belts one-half of an inch or less in diameter, and
  • Single strand V-belts thirteen thirty-seconds of an inch wide or less.

Note: There are a few other exceptions to specific guarding requirements; see 1910.219.

Guard securement

Guards may be fastened by any secure method that prevents them from being inadvertently dislodged or removed, including but not limited to screws, bolts, wing nuts, and lock fasteners. OSHA allows the use of guards that can be easily removed for efficient maintenance or repair, so long as these guards can be securely reattached to protect employees once maintenance or repair is completed.

Shafting

All exposed parts of horizontal shafting seven feet or less from a floor or working platform, except for runways used exclusively for oiling or running adjustments, must be protected by a stationary casing that encloses the shafting completely or by a trough that encloses the sides and top or sides and bottom of the shafting as its location requires.

Shafting under bench machines must also be enclosed by a stationary casing or by a trough at the sides and top or sides and bottom as its location requires. The sides of the trough must come within at least six inches of the underside of the table, or if shafting is located near floor within six inches of floor. In every case the sides of trough shall extend at least two inches beyond the shafting or protuberance.

Vertical and inclined shafting seven feet or less from a floor or working platform, except for maintenance runways, must be enclosed with a stationary casing in accordance with the requirements of 1910.219(m) and (o).

Projecting shaft ends

Projecting shaft ends must have smooth edges and ends and may not project more than half the shaft diameter unless guarded by nonrotating caps or safety sleeves. Unused keyways must be filled up or covered.

What are the OSHA requirements for woodworking machinery?

  • Different saws call for different specific safeguarding methods, but all saws expose workers to point- of-operation hazards that must be properly guarded.

Machines used in woodworking are dangerous, particularly when used improperly or without proper safeguards. Operators of woodworking equipment commonly suffer laceration, amputation, severed fingers, and blindness. For this reason, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration requires employers to implement effective safeguards on all woodworking machines.

Safety requirements for woodworking machines

Employers must:

  • Ensure employees use appropriate equipment for each operation;
  • Ensure employees use each machine only for work within the rated capacity specified by the machine’s manufacturer;
  • Ensure employees use the correct tools on each machine, such as using only the correct blade for the cutting action of a circular saw, and mounting only blades, cutter heads, and collars onto machine arbors that are accurately sized and shaped to fit them;
  • Train employees on safe operating procedures and the proper use of machines;
  • Allow only trained and authorized employees to operate and maintain the equipment;
  • Frequently inspect equipment and guards to confirm they are in safe operating condition;
  • Ensure employees use equipment only when guards are in place and in working order;
  • Provide employees with push sticks or other hand tools so that their hands are away from the point of operation when they work on small pieces of stock;
  • Ensure employees use a brush or stick to clean sawdust and scrap from machines;
  • Provide regular preventive maintenance for all machinery;
  • Instruct employees never to leave a machine unattended in the “on” position;
  • Maintain proper housekeeping;
  • Prohibit employees from wearing loose clothing or long hair;
  • Prohibit employees from sawing freehand and ensure that they instead always hold stock against a gauge or fence;
  • Select and ensure workers use the appropriate PPE; and
  • Ensure all servicing and maintenance is performed under an energy control program in accordance with 29 CFR 1910.147, “The control of hazardous energy (lockout/tagout).”

(These guarding requirements for woodworking machinery are found in 29 CFR 1910.213, “Woodworking equipment,” and apply to all employers in General Industry who have workers using such equipment. Sections 1910.212 and 1910.219 can also apply.)

What are the hazards of woodworking machines?

  • Woodworking machines expose workers to safety hazards and health hazards that employers must control.

Safety hazards and health hazards

The main hazards woodworking poses to employees can be divided into safety hazards and health hazards. Safety hazards expose employees to the risk of immediate injury, such as electrocution from the energized metal framework of an improperly grounded circular saw or severed fingers from contact with a saw blade. Safety hazards include:

  • Machine hazards,
  • Point-of-operation hazards,
  • Rotary and reciprocating motions,
  • In-running nip points (pinch points),
  • Kickbacks,
  • Flying chips or other materials,
  • Tool projection,
  • Electrical hazards,
  • Fire and explosion hazards, and
  • Improper maintenance hazards.

Many health hazards are associated with long-term exposure to harmful substances and conditions, but health hazards can cause both immediate (acute) and long-term (chronic) health effects. Health hazards from woodworking machinery include the following.

  • Excessive noise: Employees exposed to excessive noise may suffer temporary or permanent hearing loss. The risk of hearing loss increases as noise volume increases and duration to that loud noise increases.
  • Excessive vibration: Frequent use of tools that transmit vibration to hands and arms can lead to Raynaud’s Syndrome or hand-arm vibration syndrome (HAVS).
  • Wood dust and carcinogens: Certain types of wood dust can cause acute allergic reactions, while saw dust is considered a Group A carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC).
  • Chemical hazards: Exposure to coatings, finishes, adhesives, solvent vapors can affect the central nervous system, causing headaches, nausea, and dizziness. For example, employee exposure to turpentine, a chemical in some furniture waxes and finishes, can result in a range of health effects, from temporary irritation of the eyes and skin to kidney and bladder damage.

Hazard controls

Using engineering controls together with work practice controls is the preferred way to control woodworking hazards. When these controls are not possible or provide inadequate protection, employees must be provided with the appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE). Employers must institute all feasible engineering and work practice controls to eliminate or reduce hazards before using PPE to protect employees.

  • Engineering controls involve physically changing the machine or work environment to prevent employee exposure to the potential hazard. Examples include using guards on a machine to protect employees from the point of operation and other moving components, and using local exhaust ventilation to remove dust and other contaminants at the source.
  • Work practice controls minimize exposure to potential hazards by changing how employees do their jobs. For example, workers should always use push sticks to guide short or narrow stock through saws to keep their hands at a safe distance from the saw blades.
  • Personal protective equipment encompasses a wide variety of devices and garments designed to protect workers from injuries. Examples include respirators, goggles, safety shields, hard hats, gloves, earmuffs, and earplugs.

What must an employer look for when inspecting saws?

  • All saws need effective guarding to prevent contact with the point of operation.
  • Employers must remember that each type of saw calls for specific safeguarding methods.

Hand-fed ripsaws

Employers must check whether:

  • Each circular hand-fed ripsaw is guarded by a hood that completely encloses all parts of the saw that are above the table and above the stock (29 CFR 1910.213(c)(1));
  • The hood on each circular hand-fed ripsaw is mounted in a way that guarantees the hood will operate positively, reliably, and in true alignment with the saw (1910.213(c)(1));
  • This mounting is strong enough to resist any reasonable side thrust or other force that could throw it out of line (1910.213(c)(1));
  • The hood and mounting for each circular hand-fed ripsaw are arranged so the hood will automatically adjust itself to the thickness of the stock (1910.213(c)(1));
  • This hood remains in contact with the stock (1910.213(c)(1));
  • The stock can be fed into this hood with little resistance;
  • Each circular hand-fed ripsaw is equipped with a spreader to prevent stock from squeezing the saw or being thrown back toward the operator (1910.213(c)(2));
  • This spreader is made of hard tempered steel or the equivalent (1910.213(c)(2));
  • This spreader is thinner than the saw kerf (1910.213(c)(2));
  • This spreader is stiff enough to resist any reasonable side-thrust or blow that could throw it out of position (1910.213(c)(2));
  • Each circular hand-fed ripsaw has non-kickback fingers or dogs located to oppose the thrust or tendency of the saw to pick up the material or throw it back toward the operator; and
  • These non-kickback fingers or dogs provide adequate holding power for all thicknesses of stock. (1910.213(c)(3))

Hand-fed crosscut table saws

Employers should check whether:

  • Each hand-fed crosscut table saw is guarded by a hood that completely encloses all parts of the saw that are above the table and above the stock;
  • The hood and mounting for each hand-fed crosscut table saw are arranged so the hood automatically adjusts to the thickness of the stock;
  • This hood remains in contact with the stock; and
  • The stock can be fed into this hood with little resistance. (1910.213(d)(1))

Circular resaws

Employers should check whether:

  • Each circular resaw is guarded by a metal hood or metal shield above the saw (1910.213 (e)(1));
  • This hood or shield guards against flying splinters and broken saw teeth (1910.213(e)(1));
  • A spreader is securely fastened behind each circular resaw (1910.213(e)(2)); and
  • This spreader is slightly thinner than the saw kerf and slightly thicker than the saw disk. (1910.213(e)(2))

Self-feed circular saws

Employers should check whether:

  • Each self-feed circular saw is equipped with a hood or guard that prevents operators’ hands from contacting in-running feed rolls (1910.213(f)(1));
  • This guard is constructed from heavy material, preferably metal (1910.213(f)(1));
  • The bottom of this guard extends down to within three-eighths of an inch of the plane formed by the bottom or working surfaces of the feed rolls (1910.213(f)(1));
    • (Note: This distance may be increased to three-fourths of an inch if the lead edge of the hood extends to at least 5 ½ inches in front of the nip point between the front roll and the work.)
  • Each self-feed circular saw has sectional non-kickback fingers for the full width of the feed rolls (1910.213(f)(2));
  • These non-kickback fingers are placed in front of the self-feed circular saw (1910.213(f)(2)); and
  • These non-kickback fingers continually contact the stock during operation. (1910.213(f)(2))

Swing cutoff saws and sliding cutoff saws

Employers should check whether:

  • Each swing cutoff saw and sliding cutoff saw has a hood that completely encloses the upper half of the saw, the arbor end, and the point of operation at all positions of the saw (1910.213(g)(1));
  • This hood protects operators from flying splinters and broken saw teeth (1910.213(g)(1));
  • This hood automatically covers the lower part of the saw blade, so the hood drops to and remains contacting the stock or table when the saw moves forward and rises atop the fence when the saw returns to the back of the table (1910.213(g)(1));
  • Each swing cutoff saw and sliding cutoff saw has an automatic return device (1910.213(g)(2));
  • Each swing cutoff saw and sliding cutoff saw has limit chains or other equally effective devices that prevent it from swinging past the edges of the table or beyond a forward position where the gullets of the lowest saw teeth rise above the tabletop (1910.213(g)(3));
  • Each inverted swing cutoff saw has a hood that covers the part of the saw that protrudes above the stock or table (1910.213(g)(4));
  • The hood on each inverted swing cutoff saw automatically adjusts to the thickness of the stock (1910.213(g)(4)); and
  • The hood on each inverted swing cutoff saw continually contacts the stock during operation. (1910.213(g)(4))

Radial saws

Employers should check whether:

  • The upper hood of each radial saw completely encloses the upper portion of the blade down to the point that includes the end of the saw arbor (1910.213(h)(1));
  • The sides of the lower, exposed portion of the blade on each radial saw are guarded to the full diameter of the blade by a device that automatically adjusts to the thickness of the stock (1910.213(h)(1));
  • The adjusting device on each radial saw remains in contact with the stock to give maximal protection for the operation performed (1910.213(h)(1));
  • Both sides of each radial saw used for ripping have non-kickback fingers or dogs to oppose the thrust or tendency of the saw to throw stock back at the operator (1910.213(h)(2));
  • Each radial saw is equipped with an adjustable stop that prevents the forward travel of the blade beyond the position necessary to complete the cut in repetitive operations (1910.213(h)(3));
  • Each radial saw is installed so that the front end of each unit is slightly higher than the rear (1910.213(h)(4));
  • The cutting head of each radial saw is fitted with an automatic return device;
  • The direction of saw rotation is conspicuously marked on the hood of each radial saw (1910.213(h)(5)); and
  • A permanent label, measuring at least 1 ½ inches by ¾ of an inch, is affixed to the rear of the guard on each radial saw at approximately arbor-level that reads: “Danger: Do not rip or plow from this end.” (1910.213(h)(5))

Bandsaws and band resaws

Employers should check whether:

  • All parts of the saw blade on each bandsaw and band resaw are enclosed or guarded, except for the working portion of the blade between the bottom of the guide rolls and the table (1910.213(i)(1));
  • A self-adjusting guard raises and lowers the guide on each bandsaw and band resaw (1910.213(i)(1));
  • Each bandsaw machine has a tension control device that indicates the proper tension for saw blades used on the machine (1910.213(i)(2));
  • Each bandsaw wheel is fully encased (1910.213(i)(1));
  • The outside periphery of each bandsaw’s enclosure is solid (1910.213(i)(1));
  • The front and back of the band wheels on each bandsaw and band resaw are enclosed by solid material, wire mesh, or perforated metal (1910.213(i)(1));
    • (Note: The mesh or perforated metal must not be less than 0.037 inches (U.S. Gage No. 20), and the openings must not be greater than three-eighths of an inch. If solid material is used instead, it must be of equivalent strength and firmness.)
  • Each band resaw is equipped with a suitable guard that prevents operators’ hands from contacting in-running feed rolls (1910.213(i)(3));
  • This guard is made of heavy material, preferably metal (1910.213(i)(3)); and
  • The edge of this guard extends to within three-eighths of an inch of the plane formed by the inside face of the feed roll in contact with the stock. (1910.213(i)(3))

What are the general OSHA requirements for machine guarding?

  • Certain types of machinery have specific guarding requirements, but most equipment is covered by the general-purpose standard, 29 CFR 1910.212.
  • All mechanical components that could cause injury to employees must be effectively safeguarded.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has specific guarding requirements for certain types of machinery (i.e., woodworking; grinding; power presses; forging machines; and pulleys, belts, and shafting). For most equipment, such as balers, compactors, shears, and press brakes, OSHA relies on the “catch-all” standard for machine safeguarding, 29 CFR 1910.212, “General requirements for all machines.”

Safeguarding machinery involves taking the necessary steps to protect employees from hazardous mechanical components and processes. A central lesson of the catch-all standard is:

  • Any mechanical component or process that could injure employees must be safeguarded.

Mechanical hazards for which employers must provide proper safeguarding include:

  • The point of operation, where work is performed on the stock;
  • The power-transmission apparatus, which comprises all parts that transmit energy to the part performing the work;
  • Other parts of the machine that move during operation; and
  • Flying chips and sparks.

Protecting employees from these hazards is a matter of choosing effective safeguarding methods. Effective safeguarding methods must:

  • Prevent contact with hazardous components during machine operation;
  • Not create additional hazards, such as new nip points between guards and rotating parts;
  • Be secure, durable, and resistant to tampering;
  • Not interfere with normal machine operation unless necessary for protecting employees; and
  • Not interfere with servicing or maintenance.

What are the safeguarding requirements for conveyors?

  • Conveyors need guarding to protect against nip points, shear points, and dangerous moving parts.
  • Emergency stops, awareness devices, and safe work procedures are all important safeguarding methods for protecting against conveyor hazards.

Conveyors are used in many industries to transport materials horizontally, vertically, at an angle, and around curves. Because many conveyors have unique features and uses, the hazards that conveyors pose to employees will vary depending on the material conveyed, each conveyor’s location, and each conveyor’s proximity to employees.

Conveyors eliminate or reduce manual material handling tasks, but they also present amputation hazards associated with nip points, shear points, and mechanical motion. To protect employees from conveyor hazards, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires all employers with conveyors in the workplace to implement adequate safeguarding methods.

Safeguarding requirements for conveyors

OSHA requires all employers with conveyors to:

  • Evaluate each conveyor to determine which primary safeguarding methods and energy control (lockout/tagout) practices are required;
  • Provide guards for all nip points, shear points, and dangerous moving parts;
  • Provide an emergency stop switch or pull cord that is accessible from all operator locations;
  • Install guards or pans where materials could fall off conveyors and injure workers below;
  • Use prominent awareness devices, such as warning signs or lights, to alert employees to the conveyor operation where necessary;
  • Allow only trained individuals to operate conveyors and only trained, authorized staff to perform servicing and maintenance work;
  • Inspect the entire conveyor and immediate work area before startup to determine that actuation will not cause an employee hazard;
  • Inspect and test conveyor safety mechanisms before startup, such as its alarms, emergency stops, and safeguarding methods, to ensure that all are functional;
  • Forbid employees from riding on conveyors;
  • Prohibit employees working with or near conveyors from wearing loose clothing or jewelry and require them to secure long hair with a net or cap; and
  • Perform servicing and maintenance under an energy control program in accordance with 29 CFR 1910.147, ”The control of hazardous energy (lockout/tagout).”
    • For example, instruct employees to lubricate, align, service, and maintain conveyors when the conveyor is locked or tagged out if the task would expose them to an area of the conveyor or adjacent machinery where hazardous energy exists.

(These requirements are found at 29 CFR 1910.212 or are extensions of the “General Duty Clause” at 5(a)(1) of the OSH Act of 1970. Some industry-specific OSHA standards, such as those for bakeries, also cover conveyor safety to varying degrees.)

What should employers look for when inspecting conveyors?

  • Barrier guard installation, accessway placement, hazard warnings, emergency stops, and safe work practices are important safeguarding methods for conveyors.

General

Employers should check whether:

  • Guards are installed for all sprockets, chains, rollers, belts, and other moving parts that prevent contact with nip points and shear points;
  • Prominent warning signs or lights are installed to alert workers to the conveyor operation when installing guarding devices is not feasible;
  • All conveyor openings, such as wall openings, floor openings, chutes, and hoppers, have guards when the conveyor is not in use;
  • All start buttons have guards to prevent accidental operation;
  • All conveyor controls and power sources accept a lockout/tagout device to allow safe maintenance procedures; and
  • Each conveyor is equipped with audible start-up alarms.

(29 CFR 1910.212; Section 5(a)(1) of the OSH Act [General Duty Clause])

Crossovers, aisles, and passageways

Employers should check whether:

  • All accesses and aisles that cross over, cross under, or are adjacent to the conveyor have adequate clearance and handrails or other guards;
  • Crossovers are placed in areas where employees are most likely to use them;
  • All underpasses have protected ceilings;
  • Appropriate hazard warning signs are posted at all crossovers, aisles, and passageways; and
  • Emergency egress is considered when determining the placement of crossovers, aisles, and passageways.

(1910.212; General Duty Clause)

Emergency stops/shut-offs

Employers should check whether:

  • All conveyors are equipped with interlocking devices that shut the conveyors down in the case of an electrical or mechanical overload, such as a product jam or other stoppage;
  • All conveyors arranged in series will automatically stop whenever any single conveyor in the series stops;
  • All conveyors are equipped with emergency stop controls that must be manually reset before conveyors can resume operation;
  • Clearly marked, unobstructed emergency stop buttons or pull cords are installed within easy reach of workers; and
  • All continuously accessible conveyor belts are equipped with emergency stop cables that extend the entire belt length for workers’ easy access.

(1910.212; General Duty Clause)

Work practices and controls

Employers should check whether:

  • All required safe operating procedures for conveyors are implemented;
  • Periodic inspections are conducted to ensure compliance with applicable standards and regulations, such as 1910.212 and ANSI B20.1;
  • Only trained individuals operate conveyors and only trained, authorized staff perform maintenance;
  • Employees working with or near conveyors are trained on the location and use of emergency stop devices and the proper procedures for operating conveyors;
  • Employees are prohibited from riding on conveyors;
  • Employees are instructed to cross over or under conveyors only at properly designed and safeguarded passageways;
  • Employees lubricate, align, and maintain conveyors only when conveyors are stopped;
    • Note: If this is impractical, workers may perform this work at a safe distance from any ingoing nip points or pinch points, installing extended oiler tubes and adjusting screws when helpful.
  • Employees are prohibited from wearing loose clothing or jewelry while working with or near conveyors;
  • Employees secure long hair with nets or caps; and
  • All servicing and maintenance is performed under an energy control program in accordance with 1910.147, ”The control of hazardous energy (lockout/tagout).”

(1910.212; General Duty Clause)

What should employers look for when inspecting conveyors?

  • Barrier guard installation, accessway placement, hazard warnings, emergency stops, and safe work practices are important safeguarding methods for conveyors.

General

Employers should check whether:

  • Guards are installed for all sprockets, chains, rollers, belts, and other moving parts that prevent contact with nip points and shear points;
  • Prominent warning signs or lights are installed to alert workers to the conveyor operation when installing guarding devices is not feasible;
  • All conveyor openings, such as wall openings, floor openings, chutes, and hoppers, have guards when the conveyor is not in use;
  • All start buttons have guards to prevent accidental operation;
  • All conveyor controls and power sources accept a lockout/tagout device to allow safe maintenance procedures; and
  • Each conveyor is equipped with audible start-up alarms.

(29 CFR 1910.212; Section 5(a)(1) of the OSH Act [General Duty Clause])

Crossovers, aisles, and passageways

Employers should check whether:

  • All accesses and aisles that cross over, cross under, or are adjacent to the conveyor have adequate clearance and handrails or other guards;
  • Crossovers are placed in areas where employees are most likely to use them;
  • All underpasses have protected ceilings;
  • Appropriate hazard warning signs are posted at all crossovers, aisles, and passageways; and
  • Emergency egress is considered when determining the placement of crossovers, aisles, and passageways.

(1910.212; General Duty Clause)

Emergency stops/shut-offs

Employers should check whether:

  • All conveyors are equipped with interlocking devices that shut the conveyors down in the case of an electrical or mechanical overload, such as a product jam or other stoppage;
  • All conveyors arranged in series will automatically stop whenever any single conveyor in the series stops;
  • All conveyors are equipped with emergency stop controls that must be manually reset before conveyors can resume operation;
  • Clearly marked, unobstructed emergency stop buttons or pull cords are installed within easy reach of workers; and
  • All continuously accessible conveyor belts are equipped with emergency stop cables that extend the entire belt length for workers’ easy access.

(1910.212; General Duty Clause)

Work practices and controls

Employers should check whether:

  • All required safe operating procedures for conveyors are implemented;
  • Periodic inspections are conducted to ensure compliance with applicable standards and regulations, such as 1910.212 and ANSI B20.1;
  • Only trained individuals operate conveyors and only trained, authorized staff perform maintenance;
  • Employees working with or near conveyors are trained on the location and use of emergency stop devices and the proper procedures for operating conveyors;
  • Employees are prohibited from riding on conveyors;
  • Employees are instructed to cross over or under conveyors only at properly designed and safeguarded passageways;
  • Employees lubricate, align, and maintain conveyors only when conveyors are stopped;
    • Note: If this is impractical, workers may perform this work at a safe distance from any ingoing nip points or pinch points, installing extended oiler tubes and adjusting screws when helpful.
  • Employees are prohibited from wearing loose clothing or jewelry while working with or near conveyors;
  • Employees secure long hair with nets or caps; and
  • All servicing and maintenance is performed under an energy control program in accordance with 1910.147, ”The control of hazardous energy (lockout/tagout).”

(1910.212; General Duty Clause)

What are the safeguarding requirements for drill presses?

  • Guards for electric drill presses must protect employees from the rotating bit, chuck, and swarf.
  • Employers must outfit each drill press with necessary guards and train employees to secure material properly and to follow other safe work procedures.

Electric drill presses use a rotating bit to drill or cut holes in wood or metal. These holes may be cut to preset depths or completely through the stock. Electric drill presses are highly useful across industry, but the ease with which these powerful tools can operate makes the hazards they pose very real.

Drill presses pose amputation hazards from employees making direct contact with the rotating drill bit during operation and from clothing or hair getting caught in rotating parts. To protect employees from these and other hazards, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires all employers with drill presses to establish adequate safeguards.

Safeguarding requirements for drill presses

OSHA requires all employers with drill presses to:

  • Protect employees from the rotating chuck and swarf with effective shielding, such as telescoping shielding that attaches to the quill and retracts as the bit contacts the stock;
  • Install guarding over the motor, belts, and pulleys;
  • Install an adjustable guard to cover the unused portion of the bit and chuck above the stock;
  • Develop and implement safe operating practices for drill press operations, such as removing the chuck immediately after each use, and conduct periodic inspections to ensure compliance with these practices;
  • Train and supervise all operators until they can work safely on their own;
  • Instruct employees to secure long hair in a net or cap and not to wear gloves, jewelry, or loose-fitting clothing while operating a drill press;
  • Ensure that operators secure stock to the drill press bed with clamps before drilling so the stock will not spin or strike the operator, and ensure that operators do not manually secure the stock to the bed while the drill bit is rotating;
  • Replace projecting chucks and set screws with non-projecting safety-bit chucks and set screws;
  • Ensure that all servicing and maintenance is performed under an energy control program in accordance with 29 CFR 1910.147, “The control of hazardous energy (lockout/tagout)”; and
  • Anchor the machinery so it will not “walk” or tip during operation.

(These requirements are found at 1910.212 and 1910.213.)

What should employers look for when inspecting drill presses?

  • Primary safeguarding methods for drill presses protect operators from point-of-operation hazards, loose material, and hazardous moving parts.

General

Employers should check whether:

  • Operators and other employees are protected from rotating parts, flying chips, and cuttings (29 CFR 1910.212(a)(1));
  • Specially designed shields are attached to the quill and used to guard the point of operation (1910.212(a)(3); 1910.213; OSHA Guidance Publication 3170);
  • For example, telescopic shielding that retracts as the drill bit contacts the stock or a more universal-type shield can be used;
  • All automatic machines and high-production machines have enclosures designed and installed to guard the employee from the entire drilling operation (OSHA Guidance Publication 3170);
  • Barrier guarding is provided over the motor, belts, and pulleys (1910.219; 1910.213(a)(9));
  • An adjustable guard is installed to cover the unused portion of the bit and chuck above the material being worked (1910.212; 1910.213); and
  • Provisions are made to prevent machines from automatically restarting and injuring operators when power is restored after power failures. (1910.213(b)(3))

Operation

Employers should check whether:

Maintenance

Employers should check whether:

  • Employees ever adjust drill presses while the drill bit is rotating (1910.147);
  • All drill presses are shut off when unused or unattended for any period (OSHA Guidance Publication 3170); and
  • Employees servicing and maintaining machinery and equipment always follow an energy control program in accordance with 1910.147, “The control of hazardous energy (lockout/tagout).”
    • Note: The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recognizes that some minor servicing may have to be performed during normal production operations, so a lockout/tagout exception is allowed for this requirement. For example, minor drill press tool changes and adjustments may be performed without lockout/tagout if the machine’s electrical disconnect or control (on/off) switches control all the hazardous energy and are: (1) properly designed and applied in accordance with good engineering practice, (2) placed in an off (open) position, and (3) under the exclusive control of the employee performing the minor servicing task. (Details are found at 1910.147(a)(2)(ii))

PPE

Employers should:

  • Assess the workplace to determine whether there are hazards or potential hazards that require the use of personal protection equipment (PPE) (1910.132(d));
  • Provide affected employees with the required PPE and enforce its proper use (1910.132(d));
  • Provide eye/face protection where there is a hazard of flying objects (1910.132; 1910.135; OSHA Guidance Publication 3170); and
  • Instruct employees to secure long hair in a net or cap and not to wear gloves, jewelry, or loose-fitting clothing while operating a drill press. (OSHA Guidance Publication 3170)

What should employers look for when inspecting drill presses?

  • Primary safeguarding methods for drill presses protect operators from point-of-operation hazards, loose material, and hazardous moving parts.

General

Employers should check whether:

  • Operators and other employees are protected from rotating parts, flying chips, and cuttings (29 CFR 1910.212(a)(1));
  • Specially designed shields are attached to the quill and used to guard the point of operation (1910.212(a)(3); 1910.213; OSHA Guidance Publication 3170);
  • For example, telescopic shielding that retracts as the drill bit contacts the stock or a more universal-type shield can be used;
  • All automatic machines and high-production machines have enclosures designed and installed to guard the employee from the entire drilling operation (OSHA Guidance Publication 3170);
  • Barrier guarding is provided over the motor, belts, and pulleys (1910.219; 1910.213(a)(9));
  • An adjustable guard is installed to cover the unused portion of the bit and chuck above the material being worked (1910.212; 1910.213); and
  • Provisions are made to prevent machines from automatically restarting and injuring operators when power is restored after power failures. (1910.213(b)(3))

Operation

Employers should check whether:

Maintenance

Employers should check whether:

  • Employees ever adjust drill presses while the drill bit is rotating (1910.147);
  • All drill presses are shut off when unused or unattended for any period (OSHA Guidance Publication 3170); and
  • Employees servicing and maintaining machinery and equipment always follow an energy control program in accordance with 1910.147, “The control of hazardous energy (lockout/tagout).”
    • Note: The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recognizes that some minor servicing may have to be performed during normal production operations, so a lockout/tagout exception is allowed for this requirement. For example, minor drill press tool changes and adjustments may be performed without lockout/tagout if the machine’s electrical disconnect or control (on/off) switches control all the hazardous energy and are: (1) properly designed and applied in accordance with good engineering practice, (2) placed in an off (open) position, and (3) under the exclusive control of the employee performing the minor servicing task. (Details are found at 1910.147(a)(2)(ii))

PPE

Employers should:

  • Assess the workplace to determine whether there are hazards or potential hazards that require the use of personal protection equipment (PPE) (1910.132(d));
  • Provide affected employees with the required PPE and enforce its proper use (1910.132(d));
  • Provide eye/face protection where there is a hazard of flying objects (1910.132; 1910.135; OSHA Guidance Publication 3170); and
  • Instruct employees to secure long hair in a net or cap and not to wear gloves, jewelry, or loose-fitting clothing while operating a drill press. (OSHA Guidance Publication 3170)

What are the OSHA requirements for emergency stop devices?

  • Emergency stop devices protect employees by halting hazardous mechanical motion.
  • Emergency stops must be clearly marked, easily accessible, and properly maintained.

Emergency stop devices, or “E-stops,” protect workers who become entangled in machinery. To protect workers effectively, these devices must be properly installed, identified, and maintained wherever workers are exposed to hazardous machinery. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) only addresses emergency stop controls in a few standards, and these standards do not provide a great deal of information. (For example, 29 CFR 1910.216, “Mills and calendars in the rubber and plastic industries”; 1910.217, “Mechanical power presses”; 1910.261, “Pulp, paper, and paperboard mills”; and 1910.144(a)(1)(iii), “Safety color code for marking physical hazards.”)

Absent a particular requirement, OSHA has used the General Duty Clause to cite for emergency stop issues, sometimes referencing NFPA 79, Electrical Standard for Industrial Machinery. In fact, the following is an excerpt from an actual General Duty Clause citation for lack of an e-stop:

  • Section 5(a)(1) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970: The employer did not furnish employment and a place of employment which were free from recognized hazards that were causing or likely to cause death or serious physical harm to employees in that employees were exposed to being struck-by and caught-in rotating parts ... the employer failed to provide an emergency stop at the operator control station ... that would stop all motions of the machine that cause a hazardous condition, e.g., rotating parts, belts, gears, and cutting heads. Among other methods, one feasible and acceptable method to correct this hazard is to ensure that the "stop" and "emergency stop" functions on this machine ... conform to the requirements of the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) standard 79; Electrical Standard for Industrial Machinery, 2007 edition; Section 9, "Control Circuits and Control Functions"; and Section 10, "Operator Interface and Control Devices" ...

E-stops cannot detect or prevent hazardous situations before they happen, but they are a vital last defense for employees exposed to mechanical hazards.

Safety requirements for emergency stop devices

In workplaces where employees are exposed to hazardous machinery, OSHA requires employers to:

  • Ensure E-stop devices have red buttons, switches, or handles, and ensure that the backings for these E-stop buttons, switches, or handles are colored yellow (NFPA 79, Electrical Standard for Industrial Machinery);
  • Install E-stops in such a way that they cannot be overridden from other locations;
  • Require E-stop controls to be manually reset after activation and before operations resume;
  • Ensure E-stops are easily accessible to operators, and ensure that for some equipment, such as continuously accessible conveyor belts, emergency stop cables extend the entire length of the equipment for employees’ easy access; and
  • Test and inspect E-stops according to the manufacturer's guidance.

What are the OSHA requirements for grinding machines?

  • On grinding machines, the point of operation, nip points, and other moving parts all require adequate safeguarding.
  • Employees must follow abrasive wheel guidelines and be trained in other safe work procedures.

Grinding machines primarily alter the size, shape, and surface finish of metal by placing a workpiece against a rotating abrasive surface or wheel. Grinding machines may also be used for grinding glass, ceramics, plastics, and rubber. Many of the hazards posed by grinders, such as flying fragments, sparks, and air contaminants, are the same hazards posed by cutting wheels, polishing wheels, and wire buffing wheels. But grinders also pose several unique hazards: abrasive wheels can shatter; a rotating wheel, flange, or spindle end may be exposed; and the convergence of a rotating wheel and a work rest creates a natural nip point.

Safety requirements for grinding machines

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires all employers with grinding machines to:

  • Ensure all abrasive wheel machines are adequately guarded;
  • Use abrasive discs and wheels that are correctly rated for each grinder’s maximum operating spindle speed (the rating is marked on the disc or wheel in surface feet per minute);
  • Ensure side guards cover the spindle, nut, and flange, as well as 75 percent of the wheel diameter;
  • Install guards over power belts and drives;
  • Develop and implement safe work procedures for grinding machine operations;
  • Ensure the work rest is used and kept adjusted to within one-eighth of an inch (0.3175 cm) of the wheel;
  • Ensure the adjustable tongue guard on the top side of the grinder is used and kept to within one-fourth of an inch (0.6350 cm) of the wheel;
  • Instruct workers to ring-test and visually inspect new abrasive wheels before the wheels are mounted;
  • Prohibit employees from wearing gloves, jewelry, or loose-fitting clothing while operating grinding machines and ensure employees secure long hair in a net or cap; and
  • Ensure that all servicing and maintenance is performed under an energy control program in accordance with 29 CFR 1910.147, “The control of hazardous energy (lockout/tagout).

(These requirements are found at 1910.212 & 1910.219.)

What are the OSHA requirements for mechanical power presses?

  • Mechanical power presses are extremely dangerous machines that can easily injure the hands of unwary operators.
  • Effective safeguarding methods, such as barrier guards and safe work procedures, are required to protect operators from point-of-operation hazards.

A mechanical power press shears, punches, forms, or assembles metal or other materials using an upper die attached to a movable slide and a lower die attached to a stationary bed. Metalworking occurs by placing stock on the lower die and striking it with the upper die. Connecting rods attach the movable slide to a crankshaft, and a clutch is used to connect this crankshaft to a motorized flywheel. When an operator engages the clutch, the crankshaft converts the rotational motion of the flywheel into the lowering and raising of the slide and upper die.

Typical mechanical power presses fall into two main categories based on their type of clutch system: full-revolution clutch and part revolution clutch. Which type of clutch a press uses determines the specific barrier guards and safeguarding methods required for protecting against its hazards.

Power presses are extremely dangerous because of their use in high-production manufacturing and integral operator involvement. Careful operation and strict adherence to safety precautions are essential for protecting operators from the hazards posed by these machines.

Safety requirements for mechanical power presses

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires all employers with mechanical power presses to:

  • Select the appropriate guarding methods for each individual power press;
  • Ensure power transmission components are guarded;
  • Ensure each press has a red emergency stop control that can immediately deactivate the clutch and apply the brake;
  • Protect foot pedals from accidental operation;
  • Keep guards appropriately adjusted;
  • Train operators on the safe operation of presses;
  • Provide and enforce the use of hand tools for removing stuck work and scrap pieces to minimize the time operators’ hands are near the die opening, even when hand feeding is allowed under 29 CFR 1910.217(d)(1)(ii);
  • Establish a system for regular inspection and maintenance to ensure all press components, auxiliary equipment, and safeguards are in safe operating condition and proper adjustment, and retain certification records of all inspections and maintenance (1910.217(e)(1)(i));
  • Inspect and test the condition of the clutch/brake control, antirepeat feature, and single-stroke mechanism at least weekly for presses without control reliability or brake system monitoring, and retail certification records of all inspections and maintenance (1910.217(e)(1)(ii));
  • Perform servicing and maintenance under an energy control program in accordance with 1910.147, “The control of hazardous energy (lockout/tagout)”;
  • Ensure each press has a proper disconnect switch, motor starter, air lockout valve, and transformer for reducing the voltage to 120 volts or less; and
  • Report any point of operation injuries to OSHA.

(These requirements are found at 1910.217 and do not apply to press brakes or hydraulic presses, which are instead covered by the general requirements for all machines at 1910.212.)

What are the primary safeguarding methods for mechanical power presses?

  • Barrier guards and point-of-operation safeguarding devices are essential for preventing hands and fingers from entering the die area.
  • The type of clutch a press uses is one of several considerations that affect which safeguards are appropriate for a specific press.

Primary safeguarding methods for mechanical power presses prevent or minimize employee exposure to a press’s hazard areas, in particular the point of operation. The most common injuries associated with mechanical power presses are amputations due to contact with the die area. Two primary safeguarding methods are used to protect employees from such point-of-operation hazards:

  • Point-of-operation guards are physical barriers that prevent parts of the body from entering the die area, and
  • Point-of-operation safeguarding devices are controls or attachments that prevent contact with the die area in various ways, such as withdrawing an operator’s hands and halting the stroke of the slide if they are detected in the die area.

Employers are required to provide and ensure the use of point-of-operation guards or properly installed point-of-operation safeguarding devices for every operation on presses where the die opening is greater than one-fourth of an inch. Barrier guards and safeguarding devices must be properly designed, installed, used, and maintained in good condition to ensure employee protection. (29 CFR 1910.217)

Because mechanical power presses are extremely versatile, the appropriate safeguarding methods for a particular press will depend on its specific design and use. When selecting appropriate safeguards, an employer must consider the type of clutch a press uses, the size of the stock, how the stock will be fed, and the length of production runs.

Mechanical power press safeguarding methods by clutch type
Full-revolution clutchPart-revolution clutch
Point-of-operation guardPoint-of-operation guard
PullbackPullback
RestraintRestraint
Type A gateType A gate, Type B gate*
Two-hand tripTwo-hand control*
Presence-sensing device*
*“Hands-in-die” operations require additional safeguarding measures: See 1910.217(c)(5).

Mechanical power press point-of-operation safeguards must accomplish at least one of the following:

  • Prevent or stop the normal press stroke if the operator’s hands are in the die area;
  • Prevent the operator from reaching into the die area at any time;
  • Prevent the operator from reaching into the die area as the die closes;
  • Prevent the operator from reaching into the die area by enclosing it both before a press stroke can be started and before the slide motion stops during the downward stroke;
  • Withdraw the operator’s hands if inadvertently placed in the die area as the die closes; or
  • Require the operator to use both hands on machine controls located at such a distance that the slide completes the downward travel or stops before the operator can reach into the die area.

Press barrier guards must prevent hands and fingers from entering the point of operation through, over, under, or around the guard. In addition, guards must conform to the maximum permissible openings listed in Table O-10 of 1910.217:

Table O-10 (Guard opening allowances in inches)
Distance of opening from point-of-operation hazardMaximum width of opening
This table shows the distances that guards shall be positioned from the danger line in accordance with the required opening.
1/2 to 11/21/4
11/2 to 21/23/8
21/2 to 31/21/2
31/2 to 51/25/8
51/2 to 61/23/4
61/2 to 71/27/8
71/2 to 121/211/4
121/2 to 151/211/2
151/2 to 171/217/8
171/2 to 311/221/8

What are some secondary safeguarding methods for mechanical power presses?

  • Secondary safeguarding methods give extra protection by supplementing primary safeguards.
  • Employers may never use secondary safeguarding methods alone unless primary safeguarding is impossible.

Safeguarding methods that offer some protection but do not prevent employees from reaching into the die area are considered secondary safeguarding methods. Examples of secondary safeguarding include:

  • Presence-sensing devices,
  • Awareness devices, and
  • Safe work procedures.

Employers may use secondary safeguarding methods to supplement primary safeguarding methods for protecting employees against the hazards of mechanical power presses. However, employers are prohibited from using secondary safeguarding methods alone unless they can show that it is impossible to use any of the primary safeguarding methods.

The following are some work practices, complementary equipment, and energy control procedures that should supplement primary safeguarding methods.

“No-hands-in-die” policy and hand-feeding tools

Employers need to enforce a “no-hands-in-die” policy that prohibits power press operators from placing hands in the die area during normal operations, unless a press is designed for “hands-in-die” work. Employers must also enforce the use of hand tools to feed and remove material from the die area to minimize the time operators’ hands spend near it, even when hand feeding is allowed according to 29 CFR 1910.217(d)(1)(ii).

However, hand-tool feeding alone does not ensure that the operator’s hands cannot reach the danger area. For this reason, employers must still use primary safeguarding methods to protect operators, such as secure barrier guards and a properly applied two-hand control or two-hand trip safeguarding device.

Integrating point-of-operation safeguarding with lockout/tagout

When guards are removed from the die area for press servicing and maintenance work such as die setting and repair, exposure to hazardous slide motion creates serious point-of-operation hazards. Employees performing this kind of servicing and maintenance must use energy control procedures that integrate point-of-operation safeguarding methods with lockout/tagout procedures.

One essential point-of-operation safeguarding method is the safe use of an inch or jog safety device. By operating a part-revolution press in the inch mode, using two-hand controls or a single control mounted at a safe distance from the die area, die setters and service personnel can control hazardous slide motion by gradually “inching” the press through small portions of a stroke.

However, an inch or jog safety device cannot prevent the slide from falling if there is a component or control system malfunction or if the press is activated by others. For this reason, additional energy control precautions (e.g., safety blocks; lockout/tagout of the press disconnect switch if re-energization presents a hazard) are necessary if employees must place hands or arms between a press’s bolster plate and slide for servicing and maintenance such as adjusting, cleaning, or repairing dies.

What are the primary safeguarding methods for mechanical power presses?

  • Barrier guards and point-of-operation safeguarding devices are essential for preventing hands and fingers from entering the die area.
  • The type of clutch a press uses is one of several considerations that affect which safeguards are appropriate for a specific press.

Primary safeguarding methods for mechanical power presses prevent or minimize employee exposure to a press’s hazard areas, in particular the point of operation. The most common injuries associated with mechanical power presses are amputations due to contact with the die area. Two primary safeguarding methods are used to protect employees from such point-of-operation hazards:

  • Point-of-operation guards are physical barriers that prevent parts of the body from entering the die area, and
  • Point-of-operation safeguarding devices are controls or attachments that prevent contact with the die area in various ways, such as withdrawing an operator’s hands and halting the stroke of the slide if they are detected in the die area.

Employers are required to provide and ensure the use of point-of-operation guards or properly installed point-of-operation safeguarding devices for every operation on presses where the die opening is greater than one-fourth of an inch. Barrier guards and safeguarding devices must be properly designed, installed, used, and maintained in good condition to ensure employee protection. (29 CFR 1910.217)

Because mechanical power presses are extremely versatile, the appropriate safeguarding methods for a particular press will depend on its specific design and use. When selecting appropriate safeguards, an employer must consider the type of clutch a press uses, the size of the stock, how the stock will be fed, and the length of production runs.

Mechanical power press safeguarding methods by clutch type
Full-revolution clutchPart-revolution clutch
Point-of-operation guardPoint-of-operation guard
PullbackPullback
RestraintRestraint
Type A gateType A gate, Type B gate*
Two-hand tripTwo-hand control*
Presence-sensing device*
*“Hands-in-die” operations require additional safeguarding measures: See 1910.217(c)(5).

Mechanical power press point-of-operation safeguards must accomplish at least one of the following:

  • Prevent or stop the normal press stroke if the operator’s hands are in the die area;
  • Prevent the operator from reaching into the die area at any time;
  • Prevent the operator from reaching into the die area as the die closes;
  • Prevent the operator from reaching into the die area by enclosing it both before a press stroke can be started and before the slide motion stops during the downward stroke;
  • Withdraw the operator’s hands if inadvertently placed in the die area as the die closes; or
  • Require the operator to use both hands on machine controls located at such a distance that the slide completes the downward travel or stops before the operator can reach into the die area.

Press barrier guards must prevent hands and fingers from entering the point of operation through, over, under, or around the guard. In addition, guards must conform to the maximum permissible openings listed in Table O-10 of 1910.217:

Table O-10 (Guard opening allowances in inches)
Distance of opening from point-of-operation hazardMaximum width of opening
This table shows the distances that guards shall be positioned from the danger line in accordance with the required opening.
1/2 to 11/21/4
11/2 to 21/23/8
21/2 to 31/21/2
31/2 to 51/25/8
51/2 to 61/23/4
61/2 to 71/27/8
71/2 to 121/211/4
121/2 to 151/211/2
151/2 to 171/217/8
171/2 to 311/221/8

What are some secondary safeguarding methods for mechanical power presses?

  • Secondary safeguarding methods give extra protection by supplementing primary safeguards.
  • Employers may never use secondary safeguarding methods alone unless primary safeguarding is impossible.

Safeguarding methods that offer some protection but do not prevent employees from reaching into the die area are considered secondary safeguarding methods. Examples of secondary safeguarding include:

  • Presence-sensing devices,
  • Awareness devices, and
  • Safe work procedures.

Employers may use secondary safeguarding methods to supplement primary safeguarding methods for protecting employees against the hazards of mechanical power presses. However, employers are prohibited from using secondary safeguarding methods alone unless they can show that it is impossible to use any of the primary safeguarding methods.

The following are some work practices, complementary equipment, and energy control procedures that should supplement primary safeguarding methods.

“No-hands-in-die” policy and hand-feeding tools

Employers need to enforce a “no-hands-in-die” policy that prohibits power press operators from placing hands in the die area during normal operations, unless a press is designed for “hands-in-die” work. Employers must also enforce the use of hand tools to feed and remove material from the die area to minimize the time operators’ hands spend near it, even when hand feeding is allowed according to 29 CFR 1910.217(d)(1)(ii).

However, hand-tool feeding alone does not ensure that the operator’s hands cannot reach the danger area. For this reason, employers must still use primary safeguarding methods to protect operators, such as secure barrier guards and a properly applied two-hand control or two-hand trip safeguarding device.

Integrating point-of-operation safeguarding with lockout/tagout

When guards are removed from the die area for press servicing and maintenance work such as die setting and repair, exposure to hazardous slide motion creates serious point-of-operation hazards. Employees performing this kind of servicing and maintenance must use energy control procedures that integrate point-of-operation safeguarding methods with lockout/tagout procedures.

One essential point-of-operation safeguarding method is the safe use of an inch or jog safety device. By operating a part-revolution press in the inch mode, using two-hand controls or a single control mounted at a safe distance from the die area, die setters and service personnel can control hazardous slide motion by gradually “inching” the press through small portions of a stroke.

However, an inch or jog safety device cannot prevent the slide from falling if there is a component or control system malfunction or if the press is activated by others. For this reason, additional energy control precautions (e.g., safety blocks; lockout/tagout of the press disconnect switch if re-energization presents a hazard) are necessary if employees must place hands or arms between a press’s bolster plate and slide for servicing and maintenance such as adjusting, cleaning, or repairing dies.

What are the OSHA requirements for mechanical power-transmission apparatuses?

  • A machine’s power-transmission apparatus comprises all components that transmit energy to the point of operation.
  • Moving components and nip points must be guarded to protect employees from amputation hazards.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) considers a mechanical power-transmission apparatus to be all components of the mechanical system that transmit energy to the part of the machine performing the work. These components include flywheels, pulleys, belts, connecting rods, couplings, cams, spindles, chains, cranks, and gears. These types of systems present rotating parts and nip points that can cause injury by catching employees’ hands, arms, clothing, or hair. In addition, power-transmission apparatuses installed above work areas can injure employees with flying and falling materials if the guards break.

OSHA requires guarding for most types of power-transmission apparatus. Generally, power-transmission components such as flywheels, shafting, belts, and pulleys must be guarded unless they are located more than seven feet above a floor or platform. (29 CFR 1910.219)

This section covers all types and shapes of power-transmission belts, except the following when operating at 250 feet per minute or less:

  • Flat belts 1-inch wide or less,
  • Flat belts 2-inches wide or less that are free from metal lacings and fasteners,
  • Round belts one-half of an inch or less in diameter, and
  • Single strand V-belts thirteen thirty-seconds of an inch wide or less.

Note: There are a few other exceptions to specific guarding requirements; see 1910.219.

Guard securement

Guards may be fastened by any secure method that prevents them from being inadvertently dislodged or removed, including but not limited to screws, bolts, wing nuts, and lock fasteners. OSHA allows the use of guards that can be easily removed for efficient maintenance or repair, so long as these guards can be securely reattached to protect employees once maintenance or repair is completed.

Shafting

All exposed parts of horizontal shafting seven feet or less from a floor or working platform, except for runways used exclusively for oiling or running adjustments, must be protected by a stationary casing that encloses the shafting completely or by a trough that encloses the sides and top or sides and bottom of the shafting as its location requires.

Shafting under bench machines must also be enclosed by a stationary casing or by a trough at the sides and top or sides and bottom as its location requires. The sides of the trough must come within at least six inches of the underside of the table, or if shafting is located near floor within six inches of floor. In every case the sides of trough shall extend at least two inches beyond the shafting or protuberance.

Vertical and inclined shafting seven feet or less from a floor or working platform, except for maintenance runways, must be enclosed with a stationary casing in accordance with the requirements of 1910.219(m) and (o).

Projecting shaft ends

Projecting shaft ends must have smooth edges and ends and may not project more than half the shaft diameter unless guarded by nonrotating caps or safety sleeves. Unused keyways must be filled up or covered.

What are the OSHA requirements for woodworking machinery?

  • Different saws call for different specific safeguarding methods, but all saws expose workers to point- of-operation hazards that must be properly guarded.

Machines used in woodworking are dangerous, particularly when used improperly or without proper safeguards. Operators of woodworking equipment commonly suffer laceration, amputation, severed fingers, and blindness. For this reason, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration requires employers to implement effective safeguards on all woodworking machines.

Safety requirements for woodworking machines

Employers must:

  • Ensure employees use appropriate equipment for each operation;
  • Ensure employees use each machine only for work within the rated capacity specified by the machine’s manufacturer;
  • Ensure employees use the correct tools on each machine, such as using only the correct blade for the cutting action of a circular saw, and mounting only blades, cutter heads, and collars onto machine arbors that are accurately sized and shaped to fit them;
  • Train employees on safe operating procedures and the proper use of machines;
  • Allow only trained and authorized employees to operate and maintain the equipment;
  • Frequently inspect equipment and guards to confirm they are in safe operating condition;
  • Ensure employees use equipment only when guards are in place and in working order;
  • Provide employees with push sticks or other hand tools so that their hands are away from the point of operation when they work on small pieces of stock;
  • Ensure employees use a brush or stick to clean sawdust and scrap from machines;
  • Provide regular preventive maintenance for all machinery;
  • Instruct employees never to leave a machine unattended in the “on” position;
  • Maintain proper housekeeping;
  • Prohibit employees from wearing loose clothing or long hair;
  • Prohibit employees from sawing freehand and ensure that they instead always hold stock against a gauge or fence;
  • Select and ensure workers use the appropriate PPE; and
  • Ensure all servicing and maintenance is performed under an energy control program in accordance with 29 CFR 1910.147, “The control of hazardous energy (lockout/tagout).”

(These guarding requirements for woodworking machinery are found in 29 CFR 1910.213, “Woodworking equipment,” and apply to all employers in General Industry who have workers using such equipment. Sections 1910.212 and 1910.219 can also apply.)

What are the hazards of woodworking machines?

  • Woodworking machines expose workers to safety hazards and health hazards that employers must control.

Safety hazards and health hazards

The main hazards woodworking poses to employees can be divided into safety hazards and health hazards. Safety hazards expose employees to the risk of immediate injury, such as electrocution from the energized metal framework of an improperly grounded circular saw or severed fingers from contact with a saw blade. Safety hazards include:

  • Machine hazards,
  • Point-of-operation hazards,
  • Rotary and reciprocating motions,
  • In-running nip points (pinch points),
  • Kickbacks,
  • Flying chips or other materials,
  • Tool projection,
  • Electrical hazards,
  • Fire and explosion hazards, and
  • Improper maintenance hazards.

Many health hazards are associated with long-term exposure to harmful substances and conditions, but health hazards can cause both immediate (acute) and long-term (chronic) health effects. Health hazards from woodworking machinery include the following.

  • Excessive noise: Employees exposed to excessive noise may suffer temporary or permanent hearing loss. The risk of hearing loss increases as noise volume increases and duration to that loud noise increases.
  • Excessive vibration: Frequent use of tools that transmit vibration to hands and arms can lead to Raynaud’s Syndrome or hand-arm vibration syndrome (HAVS).
  • Wood dust and carcinogens: Certain types of wood dust can cause acute allergic reactions, while saw dust is considered a Group A carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC).
  • Chemical hazards: Exposure to coatings, finishes, adhesives, solvent vapors can affect the central nervous system, causing headaches, nausea, and dizziness. For example, employee exposure to turpentine, a chemical in some furniture waxes and finishes, can result in a range of health effects, from temporary irritation of the eyes and skin to kidney and bladder damage.

Hazard controls

Using engineering controls together with work practice controls is the preferred way to control woodworking hazards. When these controls are not possible or provide inadequate protection, employees must be provided with the appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE). Employers must institute all feasible engineering and work practice controls to eliminate or reduce hazards before using PPE to protect employees.

  • Engineering controls involve physically changing the machine or work environment to prevent employee exposure to the potential hazard. Examples include using guards on a machine to protect employees from the point of operation and other moving components, and using local exhaust ventilation to remove dust and other contaminants at the source.
  • Work practice controls minimize exposure to potential hazards by changing how employees do their jobs. For example, workers should always use push sticks to guide short or narrow stock through saws to keep their hands at a safe distance from the saw blades.
  • Personal protective equipment encompasses a wide variety of devices and garments designed to protect workers from injuries. Examples include respirators, goggles, safety shields, hard hats, gloves, earmuffs, and earplugs.

What must an employer look for when inspecting saws?

  • All saws need effective guarding to prevent contact with the point of operation.
  • Employers must remember that each type of saw calls for specific safeguarding methods.

Hand-fed ripsaws

Employers must check whether:

  • Each circular hand-fed ripsaw is guarded by a hood that completely encloses all parts of the saw that are above the table and above the stock (29 CFR 1910.213(c)(1));
  • The hood on each circular hand-fed ripsaw is mounted in a way that guarantees the hood will operate positively, reliably, and in true alignment with the saw (1910.213(c)(1));
  • This mounting is strong enough to resist any reasonable side thrust or other force that could throw it out of line (1910.213(c)(1));
  • The hood and mounting for each circular hand-fed ripsaw are arranged so the hood will automatically adjust itself to the thickness of the stock (1910.213(c)(1));
  • This hood remains in contact with the stock (1910.213(c)(1));
  • The stock can be fed into this hood with little resistance;
  • Each circular hand-fed ripsaw is equipped with a spreader to prevent stock from squeezing the saw or being thrown back toward the operator (1910.213(c)(2));
  • This spreader is made of hard tempered steel or the equivalent (1910.213(c)(2));
  • This spreader is thinner than the saw kerf (1910.213(c)(2));
  • This spreader is stiff enough to resist any reasonable side-thrust or blow that could throw it out of position (1910.213(c)(2));
  • Each circular hand-fed ripsaw has non-kickback fingers or dogs located to oppose the thrust or tendency of the saw to pick up the material or throw it back toward the operator; and
  • These non-kickback fingers or dogs provide adequate holding power for all thicknesses of stock. (1910.213(c)(3))

Hand-fed crosscut table saws

Employers should check whether:

  • Each hand-fed crosscut table saw is guarded by a hood that completely encloses all parts of the saw that are above the table and above the stock;
  • The hood and mounting for each hand-fed crosscut table saw are arranged so the hood automatically adjusts to the thickness of the stock;
  • This hood remains in contact with the stock; and
  • The stock can be fed into this hood with little resistance. (1910.213(d)(1))

Circular resaws

Employers should check whether:

  • Each circular resaw is guarded by a metal hood or metal shield above the saw (1910.213 (e)(1));
  • This hood or shield guards against flying splinters and broken saw teeth (1910.213(e)(1));
  • A spreader is securely fastened behind each circular resaw (1910.213(e)(2)); and
  • This spreader is slightly thinner than the saw kerf and slightly thicker than the saw disk. (1910.213(e)(2))

Self-feed circular saws

Employers should check whether:

  • Each self-feed circular saw is equipped with a hood or guard that prevents operators’ hands from contacting in-running feed rolls (1910.213(f)(1));
  • This guard is constructed from heavy material, preferably metal (1910.213(f)(1));
  • The bottom of this guard extends down to within three-eighths of an inch of the plane formed by the bottom or working surfaces of the feed rolls (1910.213(f)(1));
    • (Note: This distance may be increased to three-fourths of an inch if the lead edge of the hood extends to at least 5 ½ inches in front of the nip point between the front roll and the work.)
  • Each self-feed circular saw has sectional non-kickback fingers for the full width of the feed rolls (1910.213(f)(2));
  • These non-kickback fingers are placed in front of the self-feed circular saw (1910.213(f)(2)); and
  • These non-kickback fingers continually contact the stock during operation. (1910.213(f)(2))

Swing cutoff saws and sliding cutoff saws

Employers should check whether:

  • Each swing cutoff saw and sliding cutoff saw has a hood that completely encloses the upper half of the saw, the arbor end, and the point of operation at all positions of the saw (1910.213(g)(1));
  • This hood protects operators from flying splinters and broken saw teeth (1910.213(g)(1));
  • This hood automatically covers the lower part of the saw blade, so the hood drops to and remains contacting the stock or table when the saw moves forward and rises atop the fence when the saw returns to the back of the table (1910.213(g)(1));
  • Each swing cutoff saw and sliding cutoff saw has an automatic return device (1910.213(g)(2));
  • Each swing cutoff saw and sliding cutoff saw has limit chains or other equally effective devices that prevent it from swinging past the edges of the table or beyond a forward position where the gullets of the lowest saw teeth rise above the tabletop (1910.213(g)(3));
  • Each inverted swing cutoff saw has a hood that covers the part of the saw that protrudes above the stock or table (1910.213(g)(4));
  • The hood on each inverted swing cutoff saw automatically adjusts to the thickness of the stock (1910.213(g)(4)); and
  • The hood on each inverted swing cutoff saw continually contacts the stock during operation. (1910.213(g)(4))

Radial saws

Employers should check whether:

  • The upper hood of each radial saw completely encloses the upper portion of the blade down to the point that includes the end of the saw arbor (1910.213(h)(1));
  • The sides of the lower, exposed portion of the blade on each radial saw are guarded to the full diameter of the blade by a device that automatically adjusts to the thickness of the stock (1910.213(h)(1));
  • The adjusting device on each radial saw remains in contact with the stock to give maximal protection for the operation performed (1910.213(h)(1));
  • Both sides of each radial saw used for ripping have non-kickback fingers or dogs to oppose the thrust or tendency of the saw to throw stock back at the operator (1910.213(h)(2));
  • Each radial saw is equipped with an adjustable stop that prevents the forward travel of the blade beyond the position necessary to complete the cut in repetitive operations (1910.213(h)(3));
  • Each radial saw is installed so that the front end of each unit is slightly higher than the rear (1910.213(h)(4));
  • The cutting head of each radial saw is fitted with an automatic return device;
  • The direction of saw rotation is conspicuously marked on the hood of each radial saw (1910.213(h)(5)); and
  • A permanent label, measuring at least 1 ½ inches by ¾ of an inch, is affixed to the rear of the guard on each radial saw at approximately arbor-level that reads: “Danger: Do not rip or plow from this end.” (1910.213(h)(5))

Bandsaws and band resaws

Employers should check whether:

  • All parts of the saw blade on each bandsaw and band resaw are enclosed or guarded, except for the working portion of the blade between the bottom of the guide rolls and the table (1910.213(i)(1));
  • A self-adjusting guard raises and lowers the guide on each bandsaw and band resaw (1910.213(i)(1));
  • Each bandsaw machine has a tension control device that indicates the proper tension for saw blades used on the machine (1910.213(i)(2));
  • Each bandsaw wheel is fully encased (1910.213(i)(1));
  • The outside periphery of each bandsaw’s enclosure is solid (1910.213(i)(1));
  • The front and back of the band wheels on each bandsaw and band resaw are enclosed by solid material, wire mesh, or perforated metal (1910.213(i)(1));
    • (Note: The mesh or perforated metal must not be less than 0.037 inches (U.S. Gage No. 20), and the openings must not be greater than three-eighths of an inch. If solid material is used instead, it must be of equivalent strength and firmness.)
  • Each band resaw is equipped with a suitable guard that prevents operators’ hands from contacting in-running feed rolls (1910.213(i)(3));
  • This guard is made of heavy material, preferably metal (1910.213(i)(3)); and
  • The edge of this guard extends to within three-eighths of an inch of the plane formed by the inside face of the feed roll in contact with the stock. (1910.213(i)(3))

What are the hazards of woodworking machines?

  • Woodworking machines expose workers to safety hazards and health hazards that employers must control.

Safety hazards and health hazards

The main hazards woodworking poses to employees can be divided into safety hazards and health hazards. Safety hazards expose employees to the risk of immediate injury, such as electrocution from the energized metal framework of an improperly grounded circular saw or severed fingers from contact with a saw blade. Safety hazards include:

  • Machine hazards,
  • Point-of-operation hazards,
  • Rotary and reciprocating motions,
  • In-running nip points (pinch points),
  • Kickbacks,
  • Flying chips or other materials,
  • Tool projection,
  • Electrical hazards,
  • Fire and explosion hazards, and
  • Improper maintenance hazards.

Many health hazards are associated with long-term exposure to harmful substances and conditions, but health hazards can cause both immediate (acute) and long-term (chronic) health effects. Health hazards from woodworking machinery include the following.

  • Excessive noise: Employees exposed to excessive noise may suffer temporary or permanent hearing loss. The risk of hearing loss increases as noise volume increases and duration to that loud noise increases.
  • Excessive vibration: Frequent use of tools that transmit vibration to hands and arms can lead to Raynaud’s Syndrome or hand-arm vibration syndrome (HAVS).
  • Wood dust and carcinogens: Certain types of wood dust can cause acute allergic reactions, while saw dust is considered a Group A carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC).
  • Chemical hazards: Exposure to coatings, finishes, adhesives, solvent vapors can affect the central nervous system, causing headaches, nausea, and dizziness. For example, employee exposure to turpentine, a chemical in some furniture waxes and finishes, can result in a range of health effects, from temporary irritation of the eyes and skin to kidney and bladder damage.

Hazard controls

Using engineering controls together with work practice controls is the preferred way to control woodworking hazards. When these controls are not possible or provide inadequate protection, employees must be provided with the appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE). Employers must institute all feasible engineering and work practice controls to eliminate or reduce hazards before using PPE to protect employees.

  • Engineering controls involve physically changing the machine or work environment to prevent employee exposure to the potential hazard. Examples include using guards on a machine to protect employees from the point of operation and other moving components, and using local exhaust ventilation to remove dust and other contaminants at the source.
  • Work practice controls minimize exposure to potential hazards by changing how employees do their jobs. For example, workers should always use push sticks to guide short or narrow stock through saws to keep their hands at a safe distance from the saw blades.
  • Personal protective equipment encompasses a wide variety of devices and garments designed to protect workers from injuries. Examples include respirators, goggles, safety shields, hard hats, gloves, earmuffs, and earplugs.

What must an employer look for when inspecting saws?

  • All saws need effective guarding to prevent contact with the point of operation.
  • Employers must remember that each type of saw calls for specific safeguarding methods.

Hand-fed ripsaws

Employers must check whether:

  • Each circular hand-fed ripsaw is guarded by a hood that completely encloses all parts of the saw that are above the table and above the stock (29 CFR 1910.213(c)(1));
  • The hood on each circular hand-fed ripsaw is mounted in a way that guarantees the hood will operate positively, reliably, and in true alignment with the saw (1910.213(c)(1));
  • This mounting is strong enough to resist any reasonable side thrust or other force that could throw it out of line (1910.213(c)(1));
  • The hood and mounting for each circular hand-fed ripsaw are arranged so the hood will automatically adjust itself to the thickness of the stock (1910.213(c)(1));
  • This hood remains in contact with the stock (1910.213(c)(1));
  • The stock can be fed into this hood with little resistance;
  • Each circular hand-fed ripsaw is equipped with a spreader to prevent stock from squeezing the saw or being thrown back toward the operator (1910.213(c)(2));
  • This spreader is made of hard tempered steel or the equivalent (1910.213(c)(2));
  • This spreader is thinner than the saw kerf (1910.213(c)(2));
  • This spreader is stiff enough to resist any reasonable side-thrust or blow that could throw it out of position (1910.213(c)(2));
  • Each circular hand-fed ripsaw has non-kickback fingers or dogs located to oppose the thrust or tendency of the saw to pick up the material or throw it back toward the operator; and
  • These non-kickback fingers or dogs provide adequate holding power for all thicknesses of stock. (1910.213(c)(3))

Hand-fed crosscut table saws

Employers should check whether:

  • Each hand-fed crosscut table saw is guarded by a hood that completely encloses all parts of the saw that are above the table and above the stock;
  • The hood and mounting for each hand-fed crosscut table saw are arranged so the hood automatically adjusts to the thickness of the stock;
  • This hood remains in contact with the stock; and
  • The stock can be fed into this hood with little resistance. (1910.213(d)(1))

Circular resaws

Employers should check whether:

  • Each circular resaw is guarded by a metal hood or metal shield above the saw (1910.213 (e)(1));
  • This hood or shield guards against flying splinters and broken saw teeth (1910.213(e)(1));
  • A spreader is securely fastened behind each circular resaw (1910.213(e)(2)); and
  • This spreader is slightly thinner than the saw kerf and slightly thicker than the saw disk. (1910.213(e)(2))

Self-feed circular saws

Employers should check whether:

  • Each self-feed circular saw is equipped with a hood or guard that prevents operators’ hands from contacting in-running feed rolls (1910.213(f)(1));
  • This guard is constructed from heavy material, preferably metal (1910.213(f)(1));
  • The bottom of this guard extends down to within three-eighths of an inch of the plane formed by the bottom or working surfaces of the feed rolls (1910.213(f)(1));
    • (Note: This distance may be increased to three-fourths of an inch if the lead edge of the hood extends to at least 5 ½ inches in front of the nip point between the front roll and the work.)
  • Each self-feed circular saw has sectional non-kickback fingers for the full width of the feed rolls (1910.213(f)(2));
  • These non-kickback fingers are placed in front of the self-feed circular saw (1910.213(f)(2)); and
  • These non-kickback fingers continually contact the stock during operation. (1910.213(f)(2))

Swing cutoff saws and sliding cutoff saws

Employers should check whether:

  • Each swing cutoff saw and sliding cutoff saw has a hood that completely encloses the upper half of the saw, the arbor end, and the point of operation at all positions of the saw (1910.213(g)(1));
  • This hood protects operators from flying splinters and broken saw teeth (1910.213(g)(1));
  • This hood automatically covers the lower part of the saw blade, so the hood drops to and remains contacting the stock or table when the saw moves forward and rises atop the fence when the saw returns to the back of the table (1910.213(g)(1));
  • Each swing cutoff saw and sliding cutoff saw has an automatic return device (1910.213(g)(2));
  • Each swing cutoff saw and sliding cutoff saw has limit chains or other equally effective devices that prevent it from swinging past the edges of the table or beyond a forward position where the gullets of the lowest saw teeth rise above the tabletop (1910.213(g)(3));
  • Each inverted swing cutoff saw has a hood that covers the part of the saw that protrudes above the stock or table (1910.213(g)(4));
  • The hood on each inverted swing cutoff saw automatically adjusts to the thickness of the stock (1910.213(g)(4)); and
  • The hood on each inverted swing cutoff saw continually contacts the stock during operation. (1910.213(g)(4))

Radial saws

Employers should check whether:

  • The upper hood of each radial saw completely encloses the upper portion of the blade down to the point that includes the end of the saw arbor (1910.213(h)(1));
  • The sides of the lower, exposed portion of the blade on each radial saw are guarded to the full diameter of the blade by a device that automatically adjusts to the thickness of the stock (1910.213(h)(1));
  • The adjusting device on each radial saw remains in contact with the stock to give maximal protection for the operation performed (1910.213(h)(1));
  • Both sides of each radial saw used for ripping have non-kickback fingers or dogs to oppose the thrust or tendency of the saw to throw stock back at the operator (1910.213(h)(2));
  • Each radial saw is equipped with an adjustable stop that prevents the forward travel of the blade beyond the position necessary to complete the cut in repetitive operations (1910.213(h)(3));
  • Each radial saw is installed so that the front end of each unit is slightly higher than the rear (1910.213(h)(4));
  • The cutting head of each radial saw is fitted with an automatic return device;
  • The direction of saw rotation is conspicuously marked on the hood of each radial saw (1910.213(h)(5)); and
  • A permanent label, measuring at least 1 ½ inches by ¾ of an inch, is affixed to the rear of the guard on each radial saw at approximately arbor-level that reads: “Danger: Do not rip or plow from this end.” (1910.213(h)(5))

Bandsaws and band resaws

Employers should check whether:

  • All parts of the saw blade on each bandsaw and band resaw are enclosed or guarded, except for the working portion of the blade between the bottom of the guide rolls and the table (1910.213(i)(1));
  • A self-adjusting guard raises and lowers the guide on each bandsaw and band resaw (1910.213(i)(1));
  • Each bandsaw machine has a tension control device that indicates the proper tension for saw blades used on the machine (1910.213(i)(2));
  • Each bandsaw wheel is fully encased (1910.213(i)(1));
  • The outside periphery of each bandsaw’s enclosure is solid (1910.213(i)(1));
  • The front and back of the band wheels on each bandsaw and band resaw are enclosed by solid material, wire mesh, or perforated metal (1910.213(i)(1));
    • (Note: The mesh or perforated metal must not be less than 0.037 inches (U.S. Gage No. 20), and the openings must not be greater than three-eighths of an inch. If solid material is used instead, it must be of equivalent strength and firmness.)
  • Each band resaw is equipped with a suitable guard that prevents operators’ hands from contacting in-running feed rolls (1910.213(i)(3));
  • This guard is made of heavy material, preferably metal (1910.213(i)(3)); and
  • The edge of this guard extends to within three-eighths of an inch of the plane formed by the inside face of the feed roll in contact with the stock. (1910.213(i)(3))
Load More