Metal machinery guarding - frequently asked questions

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This page contains frequently asked questions on metal machinery guarding.

What are the guarding requirements for press brakes?

Press brakes and Power presses are to be guarded in accordance with Regulation 4.29 of the Occupational Safety and Health Regulations 1996. Regulation 4.29(i) introduces a hierarchy of safeguards in respect to guarding plant guarding; requiring consideration of a permanently fixed physical barrier where practicable. 

Where access to hazardous area is required, an interlocking physical barrier is to be provided.  Where neither a permanently fixed barrier nor an interlocking physical barrier is practicable, a physical barrier securely fixed by fasteners that require a tool to remove, must be considered.

Only where none of the physical barriers are practicable options can a 'presences sensing' safeguard system be used. In many cases physical barriers will be practicable. The Code of practice - Managing risks of plant in the workplace provide good information on the selection and use of machinery safeguards. 

When I purchase a second hand machine who should supply the guards?

Whether the machine is new or second-hand, it is the supplier’s responsibility to provide the guards. The supplier is also required provide any relevant information and documentation relating the guards and the machine at the time of the sale. It is also the responsibility of the supplier to ensure the guards are functional when sold.

Are bench grinders required to have eye shields?

Yes. Bench grinders are required to have eye shields. These guards protect the operator from the potential ejected debris from the grinding process. These must be fitted and adjusted in accordance with the manufacturers instructions.

Can I remove the rotating guard on a hand held grinder when I fit a cutting disc? 

No. The fitting of cutting discs to grinders must be done in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions. Some manufacturers have specific guards manufactured for the various types of discs that can be fitted to hand held grinders. This requirement also includes ensuring the disc collet size and revolutions per minute are suitable for the grinder. Cutting discs should not be fitted to large grinders, as the potential for the disc to become unstable and disintegrate is extremely high. 

Do I have to guard the back of a guillotine?

Yes. Guards must be fitted to the rear of the guillotine. Guards are to be fitted to any part of the machine where there is the potential for a person to make contact with any moving parts or where there are any other hazards present. 

Where can I get information about guarding machines?

The Code of practice - Managing risks of plant in the workplace is a source of information for the guarding of machinery; also  Australian Standards provide information on machine guarding.

Is 'pulsing' an approved form of guarding press brakes?

No. Pulsing is a series of controlled movements of the press tool. Each of these short movements or pulses is pre-set, and requires the actuation of the stroke initiating control for each successive pulse.  

As pulsing is a method of controlling the descent of the tool or dangerous part, it is not a recognised form of guarding. Pulsing can be used as control measure in conjunction with other forms of guarding. 

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