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Point of Operation Safeguarding Requirements You Should Follow


Point of operation safeguarding requirements ensure the safety of workers and employees during the use of power tools. Safeguards such as ROPS and FOPS are designed to prevent amputations or other injuries that could occur if the tools were improperly used or misused. Here’s what you need to know about point of operation safeguarding requirements and how to follow them to prevent workplace injuries and accidents in your facility.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) defines Point of Operation Safeguard Requirements as follows, An effective safeguard must be in place to protect employees from all machine hazards and areas of operation within the reach of their hands or other body parts during normal operating conditions, startup, shut down, and malfunctioning of the machinery.

Here are some of the Point of Operation Safeguarding Requirements you should always follow which using machine guard:


Prevent Contact

Point of operation guards are one part of machine safeguarding, which also includes guarding electrical cords and control buttons. These safety precautions all aim to prevent contact with dangerous machinery parts—such as saw blades, spinning shafts, or heavy gears—that could cause injury if accidentally touched.

Once you have installed point of operation guards, lock them in place. Some guards are fixed to prevent contact with dangerous machinery parts, but others can be lifted or slid aside for normal machine use. Lock your device in place when it’s not in use to ensure it will not shift during machine operation.

READ: Metatarsal Guard (MET Guard); Everything you need to know

This will prevent anyone from accidentally bumping it and being injured. In addition, check regularly to ensure that any locks are still working properly so you don’t lose track of your machine safety precautions. If a lock is not functioning as intended, replace it before allowing anyone else to operate your machine.



Point of operation guards prevent employees from contacting certain moving machine parts, including gears, cams, belts and chains. Injuries can occur if an employee’s hands come into contact with these parts while they are in motion. If employers do not provide point of operation guards to protect their workers, they may be subject to fines or penalties if an injury occurs as a result.

Machine guard should be secures so that operators cannot easily remove or tamper with the safeguard, because a safeguard that can easily be made ineffective is no safeguard at all. Guards and safety devices should be made of durable material that will withstand the conditions of normal use.

The guard must be firmly secured to the machine.


Protect From Falling Objects

At the point of operation, machine guarding must protect the operator from falling objects. This can be accomplished by installing a machine guard that encloses or shields all sides of a machine’s opening at least 4 inches above and below any operating part. The guard should also extend outward beyond any part that could cause injury if it were to fall into an opening.

For example, if a machine is equipped with a tool holder on its left side, then the machine guard would need to cover both sides of that opening. If it does not have such protection for every side of every opening in its enclosure or shield, then you need to install additional guards.


Create No New Hazards

A safeguard must have defeated its own purpose if it creates additional hazard. For example, a machine safeguarding device that is used to protect against amputation hazards becoming a source of amputation injury.

In some cases, an employee’s hand can get caught in a pinch point created by the machine safeguarding device. Therefore, machine safeguarding devices should be inspected before each use and adjusted as necessary to ensure that they are not creating new hazards for employees.


Create No Interference

The safeguard must not interfere with operation; this is an important requirement for a point of operation guarding. If you try to put a guard on and it interferes with how you work, it’s no good. So, make sure that your guards are installed correctly and that they do not interfere with your work in any way. If they do, then they are not doing their job right!

Be aware of non-intrusive guarding: Non-intrusive guarding is when a guard sits on top or to one side of your machine, instead of being part of it. Sometimes these guards can come in handy because they are cheaper and easier to put in place, but it’s also important to remember that if you have an accident and fall into your machine, you are more likely to be seriously injured with a non-intrusive guard.


Allow Safe Lubrication

To ensure that your equipment continues to run efficiently, you should follow machine safeguarding requirements. These point-of-operation safeguarding requirements include allowing safe lubrication. Do not let lubricants like oil and grease get into your machine’s system. Keep these lubricants in a separate container and pour them into your machine with a funnel, after stopping it first, naturally.

If possible, workers should be able to lubricate the machine without removing the safeguards.

In some cases, it may be impossible to lubricate machines without removing guards. As long as you have a trained operator and a safe place to work, you can continue using your machine. Remember to follow all other point-of-operation safeguarding requirements, including those related to routine maintenance.


The following are some of the machines which usually require point of operation guarding:

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

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