Mining Publication: Experimental Training to Reduce Variability in the Interpretation and Application of Machine Guarding Requirements
The use of machine guards for industrial equipment is commonly accepted as a primary means of injury prevention. Often the interpretations of rules pertaining to machine guarding lead to a variety of guarding applications at the worksite. The consequences of this variability between regulatory intent and practice are evidenced by the frequency of guarding citations by inspectors, litigation seeking to ameliorate judgment of the inspectors, injuries that may be sustained because of workers' misunderstanding of safe guarding practices, misinterpretations of guarding requirements, or failure to comply with guarding mandates. Training is a common method used for reducing this variability. This paper describes a U.S. Bureau of Mines-developed training intervention that might begin to define and identify this variability within the inspectorate, work force, or management. The fidelity of the training is enhanced through the use of three-dimensional slides and the structure of the classroom exercise. The classroom simulation moves beyond traditional safety training by offering an opportunity to apply general guarding rules and regulations to a specific situation. It is suggested that this type of training may be useful in defining and seeking solutions to the apparent variability in both the interpretation and application of guarding requirements.