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Guarding Considerations: Power Transmission Apparatus

machine safety use

Guarding Considerations: Power Transmission Apparatus

A power transmission apparatus refers to the mechanical components of a machine that transmit energy to the part of the tool performing the work. These components are vital for the smooth operation of a machine and can include flywheels, couplings, belts, pulleys, spindles, cranks, chains, shafts, and gears. Because these components are designed to drive powerful tools and are constantly in motion, they pose a number of significant risks. In fact, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), workers who operate and maintain machinery suffer approximately 18,000 amputations, lacerations, crushing injuries, and abrasions each year. Even a slowly rotating component can grasp clothing or hair, and force body parts into dangerous areas of a machine, causing potentially deadly injuries. Guarding considerations need to be factored in while creating work plans for the day.

To protect yourself on the job, it’s important to understand basic safety considerations related to the guarding of power transmission apparatuses.

Guarding Considerations

Many of the risks related to power transmission apparatuses can be controlled using the proper guards. Per OSHA, these guards must:

  • Prevent machine operators from coming into contact with moving parts.
  • Be secured to the machine or equipment. That way, operators are unable to remove or tamper with them.
  • Protect components of the machine from falling objects. This ensures items do not interrupt a moving machine, which can damage the tool or create dangerous projectiles.
  • Not create any new hazards, such as sharp edges that could cause lacerations.
  • Not create the potential for interference. In general, guards that make it difficult for an operator to complete a job effectively or comfortably are more likely to be removed or tampered with.
  • Allow for safe lubrication without needing to remove the guard itself.

As an employee, it’s important to understand these guarding requirements and report any missing, damaged, or noncompliant guards immediately. The proper lockout/tagout procedures must be used if you have to remove or bypass a guard or other safety device.

If you are unsure of safety procedures related to power transmission apparatuses, speak with your supervisor.

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