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Safety Success Stories: Protecting Worker Safety With Machine Guarding

Feb 16, 2024
Closeup of a piece of equipment with machine guarding

Machine guarding is a valuable tool for reducing risks in industrial and manufacturing environments. These measures put controls in place to remove potential hazards or place workers further from them.

Paul Zoubek, CSP, CIH, CESCP, president of Zoubek Consulting, LLC, assisted an adhesive manufacturer in implementing machine guarding to reduce the risks associated with a piece of equipment after a worker suffered an injury.

The Problem

An adhesive company that manufactures products for electronics experienced an incident when a worker reached into a piece of equipment during operation. The equipment contained converging rollers, which were used to feed paper through a process. The rollers created a pinch point of less than three-eighths of an inch. The worker became caught in the pinch point, resulting in an injury.

The Solution

The company used ANSI B11.0 to assess risk levels before and after they implemented controls. The standard offered direction through the risk assessment sequence to identify hazards, the current risk level, possible methods of risk reduction and the residual risk after implementation.

“What ANSI B11.0 does is give us risk reduction guidance as a result of the implementation of these engineering controls,” says Zoubek.

Zoubek used a machine guarding stick to measure the distance from the worker to the point of operation and determine which guarding height would be necessary to restrict access. Based on the exposure frequency and potential injury severity, further action was needed to reduce risk.

The Outcome

The company implemented fixed machine guarding, which enclosed the equipment and prevented workers from reaching the point of operation while allowing paper to feed through the rollers. Based on the risk reduction methods in ANSI B11.0, the company achieved an acceptable level of risk with minimal cost, minimal interruption, no changes in process or throughput, and significant injury risk reduction.

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