Using IoT Sensors and Real-Time Monitoring for Machinery and Machine Guarding Compliance

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Operating a machine or accidentally encountering moving machine parts pose risks, including severe injuries and death. Compliance with U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standards is crucial for avoiding accidents and preventing avoidable injuries. OSHA's Machinery and Machine Guarding Standard protects operators and other personnel in machine areas from such operational risks as ignoring nip points, rotating parts, flying chips, and sparks. However, this standard consistently ranks in the top ten most frequently cited violations every year. Digital IoT sensors and real-time monitoring offer cost-effective and convenient methods for safeguarding workers and improving OSHA compliance with the Machinery and Machine Guarding Standard.

In this post, we will explore the OSHA Machinery and Machine Guarding Standard and the high number of violations every year. We will also explain how real-time monitoring of strategically located IoT sensors improves OSHA compliance and offers superior protection for workers and machinery in the workplace.

The OSHA Machinery and Machine Guarding Standard

The OSHA Machinery and Machine Guarding Standard (1910.212) requires the safeguarding of any machine part, process, or function that may cause injuries. Safeguards are particularly important for protecting personnel from preventable injuries. Moving machine parts can be extremely dangerous, causing severe injuries, such as crushed hands or fingers, amputations, burns, eye injuries, or even blindness.

The primary concern of OSHA's Machinery and Machine Guarding Standard is eliminating or controlling risks associated with operating a machine or accidentally encountering moving machine parts by the operator or others in the workplace. Unfortunately, the Machinery and Machine Guarding Standard typically ranks in OSHA's annual list of top 10 most frequently violated standards. In 2021, there were 1,113 violations of OSHA's Machinery and Machine Guarding Standard.

If any machine operation exposes a worker to injury, the point of operation requires the prevention of injuries. Some machines that typically need guarding include:

  • Alligator shears
  • Forming rolls and calendars
  • Guillotine cutters
  • Jointers
  • Milling machines
  • Portable power tools
  • Power presses
  • Power saws
  • Shears

Revolving drums, barrels, and containers also require guarding by an enclosure interlocking with the drive mechanism to prevent them from revolving unless the guard enclosure is in place. The design and construction of guarding devices must prevent any part of the operator's body from coming into the danger zone. Types of acceptable guarding include such methods as barrier guards, two-hand tripping devices, and electronic safety devices.

IoT Sensors and Real-Time Monitoring Reduce Safety Risks

Digital technologies connecting electronic safety devices with the Internet of Things (IoT) offer cost-effective and convenient means of reducing machine operator safety risks and injuries. Configurable IoT sensors strategically fitted to machines can provide real-time monitoring of equipment operating conditions, real-time alerts, and execution of safeguarding functions. IoT sensors connected to mobile smart devices also offer remote control of machinery.

Embracing digitization enhances every aspect of industrial operations, but not just workplace safety and OSHA compliance. In industries with potentially combustible environments, regular smartphones and other internet-connected devices are not legal for use in these Zone 1 workplaces. Only purpose-built, spark-free electronic devices certified in accordance with standards for ATEX/IECEx Zone 1 or Class I Division 1 are acceptable as "intrinsically safe" for such environments.

Aegex Technologies Offer Intrinsically Safe Solutions

Offering certified intrinsically safe solutions for Zone 1 environments, Aegex Technologies is a world-class digital design and engineering firm you can turn to for digitizing industrial operations. Aegex digitization tools like the NexVu intrinsically safe wireless IoT sensors provide real-time monitoring by communicating directly with Windows-based aegex10 Intrinsically Safe Tablets. With these cost-effective and convenient solutions, machine operators and other Zone 1 workplace personnel can safely interact with each other and with real-time data-driven support systems, even in the most volatile environments.

Rely on Aegex Technologies for intrinsically safe IoT sensors and real-time monitoring to safeguard workplace personnel and improve compliance with OSHA standards. For more information about cost-effective enterprise-class Aegex digitization tools, please contact us here