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Machine Guarding

Machine Guarding

Hazard Overview

Hazard Overview

What is 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.

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?

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.

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

In addition, the NCDOL Library offers free safety and health videos and related research assistance on consensus standards (i.e., ANSI, NFPA, NEC). 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 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:

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:

Learn More

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Where can I learn more about this topic?

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