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Machine Safeguarding Basics

Where the operation of a machine can injure the operator or other workers, the hazard must be controlled or eliminated.

Causes of Machine Accidents:

  • Reaching into the equipment to “clear” a jam
  • Not following Lockout/Tagout procedures
  • Unauthorized employees doing maintenance or operating machinery
  • Missing or loose machine guards

Where Machine Hazards Occur:

  • Point of operation
  • Power transmission device
  • Nip Points


The Point of Operation is that point where work is performed on the material, such as cutting, shaping, boring or forming of stock.


Hazards created by industrial equipment can cause death or severe injury including amputations, fractures, cuts, crushing injuries, burns and electric shock. Machine safeguarding is critical to keeping employees safe from dangerous equipment. Never operate a machine that is not properly guarded.

Power Transmission Apparatus are all components of the machine which transmits 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. This hazard typically involves rotating equipment. The hazard can be compounded by projecting burrs, set screws and bolts.


In Running Nip Points are caused by the rotating parts. Parts rotate in opposite directions while their axes are parallel to each other.

In running nip points are particularly hazardous because the equipment actually pulls the employee into the machinery. Hair, loose clothing and gloves are notorious for getting caught by in running nip points causing severe injury.

Never operate a machine that is not properly guarded.