Machine Guarding

Machine guarding is the use of barriers that are designed to prevent the contact of an employee's hands or fingers with a hazard created by a moving machinery part. Examples of such hazards are those created by the nip points of an unguarded moving belt, shaft, chain or gears.

Machine Guarding

Tab/Accordion Items

What are the hazards associated with machine guarding?

Lack of machine guarding can result in serious physical injury (e.g., broken bones and amputation of fingers), and even death, to employees.

What can I do to protect myself?

Never reach into the pinch points of a moving belt, chain or gears to retrieve an item. Be sure to follow lockout/tagout procedures when it becomes necessary to clear a jam or to remove machine guards to perform repair or maintenance. Be sure not to wear loose clothing when working in close proximity to moving machinery parts.

What resources are available to assist employers?

Training and Outreach Services

The presentations on machinery and machine guarding and struck by/caught between can be used to assist employers to train their employees about machine guarding and related hazards. The presentations should be customized to suit the workplace hazards and conditions. This pre-recorded webinar on machinery and machine guarding can also be accessed at any time.

In addition, the education, training and technical assistance bureau provides free online safety and health training and outreach services (i.e., speaker's bureau requests, safety booths) upon request. 

Lastly, the NCDOL Library offers free safety and health videos (including streaming video services) and related research assistance on consensus standards (i.e., ANSI, NFPA, NEC).

Safety and Health Programs

The following example programs are available for employers to download and adapt to their specific conditions: hazard communication program, respiratory protection programlockout/tagout program and hearing conservation program.  

An example PPE hazard assessment is also available for customization to fit workplace conditions. Employers are required to perform a workplace hazard analysis to determine what personal protective equipment is necessary to protect employees from continued exposure to identified hazards. 

A-Z Safety and Health Topics

Additional related resource information can be found on the A-Z topics pages for amputationsPPElockout/tagout, noise, medical services and first aidabrasive wheels and respiratory protection and hand and portable powered tools

Consultation Services

The consultative services bureau provides free and confidential onsite consultation regarding worksite safety and health hazards.

Which standards apply?

OSH has adopted the following standards for machine guarding in North Carolina. Note: Please also check the standards information and activity webpage to see if there has been any recent or upcoming regulatory activity on this topic. 

General Industry

29 CFR 1910 Subpart O - machinery and machine guarding

Maritime, Shipyard Employment

29 CFR 1915 Subpart H - tools and related equipment

29 CFR 1915 Subpart J - ship's machinery and piping systems

29 CFR 1915 Subpart L - electrical machinery

Maritime, Marine Terminals

29 CFR 1917 Subpart G - related terminal operations and equipment


29 CFR 1926 Subpart I - tools, hand and power


29 CFR 1928 Subpart D - safety for agricultural equipment

Other general industry standards that may be applicable include:

Other Applicable Standards

The Which OSHA Standards Apply webpage can also help identify other standards that may be applicable to your worksite.

Where can I learn more about this topic?

Compliance Documents

Industry Guides

Technical Assistance

If you would like to receive interpretive guidance on this or any other OSH standard or topic, you can submit your questions using the Ask OSH web form, by e-mail to or by calling 919-707-7876