Case Study: Machine Guarding Improves Safety

| Tom Hopkins

Case Study Machine Guarding

Automation integrated with machine guarding safety solutions helps reduce workplace injuries. Manufacturing machine safeguards are essential when it comes to protecting workers from preventable injuries. The purpose of machine guarding is to protect the machine operator and other workers from hazards created during a machine’s normal operation.

Safeguards Protect Workers

According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) “Moving machine parts have the potential to cause severe workplace injuries, such as crushed fingers or hands, amputations, burns, or blindness. Safeguards are essential for protecting workers from these preventable injuries. Any machine part, function, or process that may cause injury must be safeguarded. When the operation of a machine or accidental contact injuries the operator or others in the vicinity, the hazards must be eliminated or controlled.” Read more from OSHA.

Machine Guarding  — Case In Point

A customer of ours in the valve and hydrant manufacturing industry has complex machinery used for a variety of metalworking processes. They work with ductile iron pipe materials and typical foundry work which includes pouring molten metals, as well as sand molded casting. Other downstream processes include drilling, tapping, and milling.


OSHA requires manufacturing facilities to complete machine safety risk assessments. These risk assessments are intended to proactively discover potential hazards and to develop proposed recommendations to manage the hazards. The customer had internally stated goals and standards to improve machine safety and compliance but had minimal internal capabilities to complete this requirement. The initial opportunity included a review of three machines.


Our Safety Specialists developed a detailed machine safety risk assessment that identified potential hazards, along with references to the applicable safety standards documentation. It was determined the three machines in question were deemed to be the highest priority. The documented assessment provided a clear plan for immediate action to improve safety at and around each machine, as well as recommendations for further improvements including mechanical changes, electrical safety devices changes, and machine signage. The documented assessment included pictures of the physical plant and machinery, as well as a list of each machine operator and other involved personnel. This deliverable was presented to the customer’s internal safety team with clear instructions on risk, costs, hazards, options, and steps to move forward. Our Safety Specialists continue to provide ongoing guidance that augments the customer’s safety division, facilities team, and overall safety program.


The customer was able to improve safety by working with our team of vertical Safety Specialists to cover many aspects of the safety hazards involved in their processes, including raw-material movement, high-temperature foundry processes, and downstream machining operations. The safety improvements and upgrades provided had no impact on production and made the manufacturing environment safer. The customer was able to reduce personal injury risks and realize savings on workers’ compensation insurance.

Do You Have Safeguards in Place?

Machine guarding is good for your business and better for your employees. Our Automation Specialists are here to help you keep your workers safe. Contact us today!

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