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Machinery guarding

This film is about selecting and fitting the right type of guards on machinery to protect workers operating, cleaning or servicing machines.

It details the use and benefits of a range of different guards including permanently fixed, fixed,  interlocking and presence-sensing.

The process for machine isolation should be part of an organisation's comprehensive safety management system. The process should include:

  • identifying and assessing risk
  • implementing suitable risk controls and reviewing them
  • developing safe work method statements
  • consulting with workers during the development of (and changes to) the safe work method
  • ensuring only trained and competent workers undertake the task.

Share the film with your workplace.

Download a copy of this film (ZIP/MP4, 58MB)

Machinery guarding

Narrator: A worker lost two fingers and his hand was crushed when it was caught in an unguarded power press.

The worker was punching drainage holes in aluminum door frames and placed his hand between the top of the die plate and below the press machine. The press was unguarded and his hand was crushed.

To stop this happening at your workplace, fit a guard to eliminate or minimise the risk of anything injuring a worker who is operating, cleaning or servicing a machine.

A guard is anything which prevents contact between a moving machine part and a person or their clothing.

There are four main types of machinery guards:

  • permanently fixed
  • fixed
  • interlocking, and
  • presence-sensing.

Some machines use a single type, while others use a combination.

A permanently fixed guard completely encloses a machine's dangerous areas.

It can't be removed because it's built into the body of the machine, and the risk of contact is eliminated.

Fixed guards are attached to machines and can only be removed with a specialised tool.

Fixed guards can be adjustable on some machines – for example an adjustable guard on a press and shear will allow the operator to cut different sized material while covering most of the notching blade and eliminating access to dangerous areas.

Interlocking guards are connected to either the power or control system of a machine.

The interlock prevents the machine from operating unless the guard is in the correct position - eliminating contact with dangerous moving parts.

This type of guard is ideal where intermittent access to the guarded area is required during operation, such as clearing a jam.

A presence-sensing system uses light curtains, lasers or pressure mats that shut down a machine when it senses a person or object within a certain area.

This type of guarding is effective when a machine cannot be physically guarded – for example open areas at the back of machines.

Selecting the right type of guarding on your machinery is essential.

Guards should:

  • be designed to protect the user, but still allow access when needed
  • prevent access to dangerous parts of machinery by operators and bystanders
  • be strong and durable, and
  • not be able to be removed until the machine has stopped, is isolated and all sources of energy neutralised.

For more information visit or call 1300 362 128.

Work safe. Home safe.