Hazards of Moving Parts: Protecting Your Employees from Injuries

In any business, there are always going to be moving parts. This is especially true in factories and other industrial settings. While these moving parts are essential to the operation of a business, they can also be dangerous for employees. Injuries sustained from moving parts can be severe and life-altering. In this blog post, we will discuss the hazards of moving parts and how you can protect your employees from injuries.

There are a few things to keep in mind when it comes to the hazards of moving parts. First, always make sure that employees are properly trained on how to use and operate machinery. Second, always provide employees with the proper safety equipment. This may include gloves, goggles, or other protective gear. Finally, be sure to regularly inspect machinery to ensure that it is in good working order. By following these simple tips, you can help to keep your employees safe from harm.

If an employee does sustain an injury from a moving part, it is important to seek medical attention immediately. In some cases, the injury may be minor and require only first aid treatment. However, more serious injuries may require surgery or other medical treatment. If an employee is unable to work, you may be required to provide them with workers’ compensation benefits. By taking the proper precautions, you can help to prevent injuries in your workplace and keep your employees safe.

Hazards of Moving Parts

One of the biggest hazards for those workers in meatpacking, poultry, and food processing is unguarded machines and equipment.  Workers’ fingers, arms, hair, and other body parts can be caught or entangled in unguarded machine parts or equipment.  Protective clothing worn by most meatpacking, poultry, and food processing workers, such as gloves, frocks, aprons, and rain gear, can be caught and pulled the worker into the machine.  Finally, sanitation workers in the meatpacking, poultry, and food processing industries are also at risk when they use hoses that can be caught and pull their arms into a moving, unguarded machine.

Moving parts can pose a serious hazard to workers who are not properly trained in how to safely handle and operate them. Moving parts can cause amputations, lacerations, crush injuries, and even death if they are not used correctly. Workers who are not properly trained in how to safely work with moving parts are at an increased risk of being injured by them.

There are a variety of ways that workers can be injured by moving parts. Some of the most common include:

  • Amputations: Moving parts can cause amputations if they come into contact with a worker’s body.
  • Lacerations: Moving parts can cause lacerations if they come into contact with a worker’s skin.
  • Crush injuries: Moving parts can cause crush injuries if they collide with a worker’s body.
  • Death: Moving parts can cause death if they come into contact with a worker’s body in a fatal way.
  • Burns: Moving parts can cause burns if they come into contact with a worker’s skin.
  • Shock: Moving parts can cause a shock if they come into contact with a worker’s body.
  • Fractures: Moving parts can cause fractures if they come into contact with a worker’s body.
  • Dislocations: Moving parts can cause dislocation of joints if they come into contact with a worker’s body.
  • Sprains: Moving parts can cause sprains if they come into contact with a worker’s body.
  • Strains: Moving parts can cause strains if they come into contact with a worker’s body.

Machine guards are used to prevent any possible contact between moving parts of a machine and the worker.  They are also used to contain fragments and particles released by a machine.

The OSHA law states the following:

“One or more methods of  machine guarding shall be provided to protect the operator and other employees in the machine area from hazards such as those created by point of operation, ingoing nip points, rotating parts, flying chips, and sparks.”  (29 CFR 1910.212) 

Crushed hands and arms, severed fingers, blindness — the list of possible machinery-related injuries is as long as it is horrifying. There seem to be as many hazards created by moving machine parts as there are types of machines. Machine guards are essential for protecting workers from needless and preventable injuries.

A good rule to remember is Any machine part, function, or process which may cause injury must be machine guarded. When the operation of a machine or accidental contact with it can injure the operator or others in the vicinity, the hazards must be either controlled or eliminated.

Hazards of Moving Parts

Where Mechanical Hazards Occur

Dangerous moving parts in three basic areas require machine safeguarding:

  • The point of operation: the point where work is performed on the material, such as cutting, shaping, boring, or forming of stock.
  • Power transmission apparatus: all components of the mechanical system which transmit energy to the part of the machine performing the work. These components include flywheels, pulleys, belts, connecting rods, couplings, cams, spindles, chains, cranks, and gears. Other moving parts: all parts of the machine which move while the machine is working. These can include reciprocating, rotating, and transverse moving parts, as well as feed mechanisms and auxiliary parts of the machine.

Hazardous Mechanical Motions and Actions

A wide variety of mechanical motions and actions may present hazards to the worker. These can include the movement of rotating members, reciprocating arms, moving belts, meshing gears, cutting teeth, and any parts that impact or shear. These different types of hazardous mechanical motions and actions are basic in varying combinations to nearly all machines, and recognizing them is the first step toward protecting workers from the danger they present.

The basic types of hazardous mechanical motions and actions are:


  • Rotating (including in-running nip points)
  • Reciprocating
  • Transversing


  • Cutting
  • Punching
  • Sharing
  • Bending

There are also some general characteristics of these motions and actions that present hazards, even if the machines themselves do not have any of the specific hazardous motions and actions listed above. For example, all moving parts can be a hazard if they are not properly guarded. Another general characteristic is that the speed of the motion can increase the hazard. For example, a fast-moving belt can cause more serious injuries than a slow-moving belt.

Protecting Your Employees from Injuries

Most people think of safety in terms of moving parts on machinery and other equipment, but there are many other potential hazards in the workplace that can pose a serious threat to your employees. Here are some tips on how to keep your employees safe from moving parts:

  • Educate your employees on the dangers of moving parts. Make sure they are aware of the potential hazards and know how to stay safe.
  • Inspect all equipment regularly. Look for any potential hazards and address them immediately.
  • Keep moving parts well-lubricated. This will help reduce friction and prevent injuries.
  • Use caution when working with moving parts. Make sure to follow all safety procedures to avoid accidents.
  • Never try to repair or adjust moving parts yourself. Always contact a qualified technician to do this work for you.

By following these tips, you can help keep your employees safe from moving parts and other potential hazards in the workplace. Safety is always a top priority, so make sure you are doing everything you can to protect your employees.


To protect workers from the hazards presented by mechanical motions and actions, it is important to first be aware of the different types of hazardous motions and actions. Once these are identified, appropriate guards can be put in place to help mitigate the hazard. Additionally, it is important to keep in mind that the speed of the motion can also increase the hazard, and take steps to control the speed of the moving parts.

About Mohsin Wochoo

I'm Mohsin, a dedicated health and safety manager with over 7 years of experience in the industry. Currently, I work with AECOM USA and take pride in being a part of this globally renowned company that specializes in engineering, design, and infrastructure development. Throughout my career, I have been deeply committed to promoting and maintaining a safe and healthy work environment for employees and stakeholders alike.

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