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Point of Operation

What Does Point of Operation Mean?

A machine's point of operation is the area where its work is performed. These points can include moving parts that have the potential to cause severe injuries.

Safeopedia Explains Point of Operation

Machine operators often need to come into close proximity to points of operation in the course of their work. In those cases, machine guards can be installed to prevent hands or other body parts from accidentally getting caught in those moving parts.

When a solid guard would impede the operator's productivity or cannot be installed, optical sensing technologies such as safety light curtains can act as a safeguard at the point of operation.

Machine Guarding Requirements

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA) 1910.212 standard requires the installation of guards on all machines whose operation is likely to expose a worker to injury. It also requires one or more methods of machine guarding to be provided in the machine area from hazards created by points of operation, ingoing pinch points, rotating parts, and flying chips.

Some machines that require point-of-operation guarding include:

  • Guillotine cutters
  • Shears
  • Power presses
  • Milling machines
  • Power saws
  • Forming rolls

Selecting an Adequate Machine Guard

The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and OSHA provide some recommendations for choosing a point-of-operation guard:

  • Make sure that hands and fingers can't reach past the guard
  • Use a guard that will not introduce additional hazards
  • Select a guard that does not compromise the operator's visibility
  • Guards should be made of strong, durable material
  • Install guards that cannot be adjusted or removed easily (i.e. without the use of tools)

Types of Point-of-Operation Machine Guards

Some ways in which workers can be protected against machine and point-of-operation hazards include:

  • Fixed guards that are bolted, welded, or locked in place to provide stable protection
  • Adjustable guards that are either manually adjustable or self-adjusting
  • Sensors that instantly shut off the machine's power when an invisible barrier is broken
  • Safety light curtains that use an emitter to send beams of light to the receiving, creating a sensing screen that halts operation when it is breached
  • Trips, such as floor mats or steel cables, that shut off power to the machine if the worker touches them or enters a specified area
  • Restraints, such as wrist straps or safety ropes, that keep a worker from hazardous areas

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