GuardSmart 131 – Standardizing Your Safety Guarding
Standardizing Your Safety Guarding
Put at its simplest, a standard is an agreed, repeatable way of doing something. Standards are intended to be a summary or benchmark of best practices rather than general practice.
Quite often Machine Safety Guarding is an after-thought, something that is installed as a result of an injury or has been mandated by safety regulators. Furthermore, in many cases guarding is fabricated and installed by people who know little about guarding best practices and do not follow any form of standardization.
Standardizing guarding allows companies to:
- Create safe working policies and procedures that can be used and recognized company-wide.
- Implement training programs for workers and maintenance personnel that are simple and effective.
- Streamline safety guarding requirements and procurement.
- Obtain cost-effective solutions to guarding situations.
- Allows for an effective audit of guarding policies and procedures to a given standard.
Standardization maximizes compatibility, recognition, quality, repeatability and most importantly, safety.
Here are 5 simple steps to get you started in the process of standardizing your Safety Guarding:
- Paint safety guards a consistent, identifiable colour, which all employees recognize as safety guarding.
- Establish a maximum weight for removable guard panels.
- Use common mounting hardware so workers know what tools are required when installing and removing guarding.
- Use standard mesh sizes so guard installers know how far the guard needs to be away from the hazard.
- Where possible, make guards that are the same size and compatible for interchangeability.
The STOP sign is one of the most universally recognized standards. Its design is consistent throughout North America and many European countries. Imagine for one moment what driving would be like if every city or town were allowed to design their own stop signs.
It is never too late to standardize your Machine Safety Guarding.
When you Guard, GuardSmart!
A 24-year-old factory worker suffered serious injuries to her neck and throat, which almost resulted in her death. Her hair and scarf became entangled in an inadequately guarded conveyor. The victim was in a state of great distress as she tried to free herself with her left hand to no avail. As a result, her injuries included a crushed and twisted larynx, scarring of the oesophagus, trachea, and epiglottis, loss of hair, fractures fingers and other major injuries. During the trial, it was determined that the manufacturer provided some training. However, they failed to cover the dangers of working with conveyors. In addition, the company failed to provide proper procedures and instructions as well as failed to prevent access to dangerous machinery parts and provide an emergency stop button. 
Helpful Links, Sources & References
Nov 2012 | Mark Duell | Mail Online |Retrieved from https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2237050/Factory-worker-24-suffered-injuries-neck-throat-pulled-conveyor.html