Machine Hazards & Guards

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.

At Boston University, Facilities Management and Planning and at Boston Medical Center Facilities and Energy Management is responsible for ensuring guards on facility equipment and machines operated by facilities personnel are kept in place and used as originally designed. In academic areas, the Principal Investigator, Lab Director, or Department Head is responsible for ensuring guards on machines operated by personnel or students under their supervision are kept in place and used as originally designed.

Machine guarding decisions should be made in the following order:
  • Design out or eliminate the hazard
  • Physically “engineer out” the exposure to the hazard
  • Guard the hazard
  • Require personal protective equipment
  • Use warning devices, or make the danger “manifest”
  • Use warning signs
  • Use safe working practices and procedures

Any person who works near, or adjacent to, any sort of machine will receive “affected employee” training during initial orientation and every two years thereafter. Affected employees receive machine guarding training specific to the hazards being controlled on the piece of equipment. Students using machines must be trained by the shop supervisor. Employees performing maintenance related activities will receive machine guarding training on an annual basis.