Machine Guards Information

Machine guardMachine guards provide a physical barrier between an operator and the hazardous points on a machine. They prevent accidental injury and protect operators from flying debris, contaminants, and noise. Machine guard configurations, such as lathe guards, include a visor to protect operators from flying debris. Drill machine guards and boring guards may include telescoping cages, barriers, and bollards to prevent personnel from contacting machinery or entering dangerous areas. Consequently, the selection of a drill machine guard or boring guard is an important safety consideration.


There are four main types of machine guards:

  • fixed
  • interlocked
  • adjustable
  • self-adjusting

Fixed machine guards are a permanent part of the machine. Interlocked machine guards are built into the moving parts or power system of a machine and automatically shut off the machine if the guard is opened or removed. Adjustable machine guard and self-adjusting machine guards can accommodate various kinds of manufacturing by adjusting to the size of the stock produced. Machine guard barriers help guide operators in the safe use of all kinds of industrial equipment. Typically, a machine guard barrier consists of safety trip controls, presence-sensing devices, and electromechanical sensing devices, which initiate a machine’s operating cycle only when it is safe to do so.


Machine guards are made from materials such as metal, plastic, and wood. Lexan machine guards are used in visor, lathe, and other cutting tool guards. A Lexan machine guard is highly durable and chip-resistant. Metal is often the material of choice for machine safety guards, except in some woodworking or chemical applications where the presence of gases may corrode metal. In this instance, wood is a suitable material for a machine safety guard. Machine guard systems are composed of individual machine guards as well as modular doors and windows, panels made of wire, stainless steel, or aluminum, and other accessories such as safety switches and locks.

Related Information

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Image credit:

Peter Craven / CC BY-SA 2.0

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