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Machine Guarding – Point of Operation Hazards

worker mindful of point of operation hazards

Machine Guarding – Point of Operation Hazards

The point of operation is the part of the machine at which the equipment’s work is actually being done, whether it be cutting, punching, shearing, or bending. Employees in close proximity to points of operation are often at risk for serious injury.   

Hazardous Motions

The exact hazards for any given piece of machinery will vary depending on what type of equipment is being used and what kind of work is being done. Here are some of the more common examples of points of operation hazards that you are likely to encounter:

  • Cutting: Cutting motions can be reciprocating, rotating, or transverse using potentially dangerous equipment such as saw blades, drill heads, lathes, or mills. Cutting action hazards exist at the point of operation where body parts may come into contact with the blade, as well as from flying chips or scrap material.
  • Punching: Used by machines such as power presses and iron workers, punching action occurs when a slide or ram is used for stamping, drawing, or blanking a material, such as metal. Punching action hazards at the point of operation occur when the material is inserted, held, or withdrawn by hand.
  • Shearing: Shearing action involves powering a slide or knife in order to trim or shear material. Point of operation hazards occurs when the aforementioned material is inserted, held, and withdrawn.
  • Bending: Somewhat similar to punching, bending action occurs when power is applied to a slide to draw or stamp metal or another material. Possible hazards occur at the point of operation where stock is inserted, held, and withdrawn.

There are many risks that come with operating machinery in the workplace, so it is important to be aware of the hazards that exist with different types of tasks. Make sure to never operate a machine without the proper guards and safety devices in place.

If you have any concerns or questions about equipment in the workplace and whether it is being used properly, talk to your supervisor immediately.



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