Last year, the machine guarding standard – 29 C.F.R. § 1910.212 – was among OSHA’s top 10 most frequently cited standards, moving up one spot from where it was the previous year. In fact, it earned a place in OSHA’s top 4 highest penalties assessed for 2012. In light of its increasing regularity and formidable penalties, employers should be prepared to consider 3 primary questions when facing the prospect of a machine guarding citation:
- Have the moving part hazards been designed out of the machine at issue?
- Is there employee exposure to any hazard associated with the moving parts?
- Have any administrative controls been implemented to limit exposure?
These questions will provide a meaningful starting point for employers to evaluate their defenses if OSHA ever shows up at the door.