Machine Guarding Policy

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This policy document is designed to ensure that UA Little Rock employees and students follow procedures which assure that equipment or machines are operated safely and meet state, federal, and industry machine guarding standards.


This policy applies to all employees and students who may work with, or adjacent to, equipment or machines that may pose a safety hazard. “Machines” include, but are not limited to, fans, compressors, bench grinders, fuel pumps, dumpsters, trash compactors, and table saws. Any machine part, function, or process that may cause injury must be safeguarded. When the operation of a machine or accidental contact with it can injure the operator or others in the vicinity, the hazards must be either controlled or eliminated. A “machine hazard” occurs at the point of operation where the actual work is performed and can be created by: components which transmit energy, such as pulleys, belts, chains, gears, couplings, or flywheels; or other parts which move while the machine is working, including reciprocating, rotating, and transverse parts.

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Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) is responsible for:

  1. Developing policies for ensuring that guards are on facility equipment and machines operated by Facilities Management
  2. Preparing and updating the written Machine Guarding Policy
  3. Responding to any employee or student machine guarding concern or question

Personnel are responsible for:

  1. Knowing, understanding, and applying these policies to ensure that safeguards are kept in place and used as originally designed by the manufacturer

Lab and Shop Supervisors are responsible for:

  1. Overseeing daily activity and ensuring that all equipment meets operational safety standards
  2. Ensuring guards on machines operated by personnel or students under their supervision are kept in place and used as originally designed

Operators of Machines and Equipment are responsible for:

  1. Inspecting safety guards and the general safe operating condition of all machines, tools, and equipment prior to each use

All Affected Employees and Students are responsible for:

  1. Reporting any unguarded machine hazard to their supervisor immediately
  2. Forwarding any student concerns or observations regarding the lack of machine guarding to their supervisor

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Hierarchy of Guarding

Machine guarding decisions should be made in the following order of preference:

  1. Design out or eliminate the hazard.
  2. Physically “engineer out” the exposure to the hazard.
  3. Guard the hazard – Require personal protective equipment.
  4. Use warning devices, or make the danger “manifest”.
  5. Use warning signs.
  6. Use safe working practices and procedures.

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Inspections & Audits

Machines that require guarding will be inspected regularly by Environmental Health & Safety (EHS). Based on the results of these inspections, maintenance or replacement of guards will be conducted as necessary. EHS will audit the program annually and recommend appropriate corrective actions.

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Any person who works near or adjacent to any sort of machine will receive necessary training before he or she can begin operating machinery. Affected employees receive machine guarding training specific to the hazards being controlled on the piece of equipment. The shop supervisor must train students in using machines. Employees performing maintenance related activities will receive machine guarding training on an annual basis.

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Record Keeping

EHS maintains records of machine guarding training and copies of the annual inspection checklists.

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Key References

The following references may be obtained from Environmental Health & Safety or online:

  1. OSHA Machine Guarding Standard — 29 CFR 1910.212
  2. UA Little Rock Lockout / Tagout Policy

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