A Guide to Innovations in Safety Shields

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Milling raw materials, there are always inherent risks. Thankfully, proper and up-to-date safeguarding equipment drastically minimizes the risks that machines pose. In this article, we look at one of the most basic and most critical components in machine safeguarding: the safety shield. Before we start, we need to clarify the terms “guard” and “shield”. These are often used interchangeably when referring to safeguarding equipment, yet the two categories are very different. OSHA 29 CFR 1910.217 defines a guard as an enclosure that prevents anyone from reaching over, under, around, or through to a hazard. Guards are used whenever a machine risk assessment shows a high level of exposure to recognized hazards. Shields, on the other hand, are designed for lower levels of exposure to hazards, while providing visibility into the point of operation. That’s the key difference: Shields typically have a transparent plastic panel with rugged framing, while a guard is solid metal. It should be noted that not all shields have a framework and that many industrial guards use aluminum for the framework.

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