Customized Guarding Boosts Safety and the Bottom Line 

In an industrial facility, protective guarding shields people from harm and equipment from damage. As a bonus, protective guarding can also prevent Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) fines and help minimize downtime, maintenance costs and insurance premiums. But did you know that when customized for a specific application, protective guarding can provide even higher levels of safety and greater cost savings? 

The Importance of Safety Guarding 

aluminum and steel framing system by 80/20 Inc.

Before discussing how custom guarding solutions can better protect employees and assets, it’s important to understand the importance of safety guarding. Industrial facilities can be dangerous places. Hazards include fast-moving equipment and vehicles, slips and falls, electrical equipment, on-site chemical use and storage and other risks that can result in serious workplace injuries or death.

Even if injuries do not occur in a facility, a lack of guarding can result in OSHA fines, increased worker compensation costs and higher insurance premiums. However, by providing adequate protective measures, a company can expect to: 

  • Reduce Workplace Injuries: By cordoning off hazardous areas and equipment, it reduces the likelihood of accidents, injuries and fatalities. 
  • Comply with Regulatory Mandates: OSHA has many regulations regarding employee safety and several that deal directly with machine guarding. If these are not properly addressed and followed, even without the occurrence of a workplace injury, OSHA violations can occur and result in fines, legal actions and potential shutdowns. Installing proper protective guarding can help prevent these costly OSHA violations. 
  • Improve Productivity: By creating safe spaces in which employees can work free from hazards and danger, they will be able to concentrate on and complete tasks with more efficiency, resulting in an increase in productivity and employee satisfaction. 
  • Minimize Costs: Protective guarding will not only keep employees safe, but by doing so, it can cut costs associated with medical care, worker compensation claims, insurance claims, OSHA fines and penalties and insurance premiums. 

Get More Benefits with Custom Guarding Solutions 

While off-the-rack safety guarding will indeed keep employees safer than neglecting to provide any protective measures, custom safety solutions can have significant advantages when compared to one-size-fits-all guards. 

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) reports that the majority of guarding-related injuries are due to ill-fitting protective guarding designs, with the majority of injuries (45%) occurring when workers handle oversized and heavy guards. According to DOL statistics, guards that are too heavy, improperly installed or oversized create their own category of workplace hazards. In other words, in order to properly protect employees from workplace hazards as well as risks associated with heavy or improperly sized or installed guarding, custom solutions that are designed for the specific needs of the application, equipment, facility and process, as well as those that are sturdy, yet light in weight, will minimize more risks and ensure a safer environment. While many off-the-shelf guards need modifications in order to achieve minimal requirements, aluminum T-slot profiles and panels from 80/20 solutions are modular and lightweight so they can be tailored to the application to bolster safety initiatives and provide better protection for employees, while also limiting risks, damage and associated expenses. 

80/20 solutions offers a range of customizable, lightweight aluminum T-slot profiles, panels, fasteners and accessories to create proper safety guarding and enclosures needed for a specific application. The T-slot system enables simple, custom integration in the application, as well as the ability to mount machine mechanics to the frame or attach additional safety components such as sensors, user interfaces, switches, security cameras, light relays or locks. 

In addition to keeping workers safer and preventing injuries related to the guarding itself, lightweight, customizable solutions can be integrated in such a way that they are firmly attached to machinery so that operators cannot easily remove or reach over it, further bolstering safety and preventing a common cause of injury. 

Custom-tailored protective guarding will also ensure that maintenance, repairs and proper lubrication can be easily accommodated by providing proper access to equipment in convenient locations, which will help improve equipment uptime. Further, since tailored solutions can be crafted in such a way that it will not create interference with the operation of equipment, the speed and efficiency of the process will likely be better than it would be with an off-the-shelf solution that is so oversized that it prevents employees from efficiently operating equipment. Customized guarding can also be designed to protect equipment from falling objects, which will help protect the facility’s assets, as well. 

To learn how customizable safety guarding from 80/20 solutions can help keep your employees and workplace safer and more productive, please contact JHFOSTER today. You’ll be glad you did when you see how tailored machine guarding solutions save time and money by allowing workers to perform their duties with fewer risks and higher levels of efficiency on equipment that offers more uptime, so your facility can continue running safely and smoothly.