Machine Guarding & Industrial Safety Audits in Ontario

Machine Guarding

Machines, prime mover or transmission equipment having an exposed moving part that may endanger the safety of a worker must be equipped with and guarded by a safety guard or other device that prevents access to the moving part.

Ontario takes a very conservative approach when it comes to machine guarding safety. In the Occupational Health & Safety Act and Regulations, the underlying theme is: ‘If it can hurt a worker it must be guarded.’

Machine guarding safety audits are very important and definitely worth every penny spent! Where a PSR is required under Trigger #2 of the Table in S.7 Of Ontario Regulation 851, HITE Engineering is renowned for its detailed, practical reports.

We provide more than just a report – we provide a practical safeguarding solution.

HITE’s reports identify specific issues and detailed measures to achieve compliance.

Competitors too often provide generic reports that only recite the legislation without giving specific, practical solutions to the problems.

Cost-Effective Machine Safeguarding Solutions

Our company has performed industrial safety reviews since 1997, while employing highly experienced engineers, allowing them to quickly understand the issues and cite multiple options that are practiced in the client’s specific industry. The results of this vast experience in machine guarding safety are materialized in the machine safeguarding solutions that we are offering to our clients. We understand the need for effective guarding that does not interfere with the operation of the machine. On the other hand, the cost of the upgrades might be a deciding factor in the economic feasibility of the project, and we will aim towards offering the least expensive solution. Customer satisfaction with the end product while ensuring employee safety is always our primary concern. In addition, HITE’s engineers take the time to educate our clients on the requirements of a Pre-Start Health and Safety Review and where applicable, we are able to demonstrate to the client that a review is not necessary under the legislation.

If you are looking for more than just a Pre-Start Health and Safety Review report, but rather a solution for your guarding needs then please call us for a complimentary consultation.

Design Of Custom Machine Guards

There are machine guarding safety situations where a conventional fence barrier guard is highly impractical. In the majority of these circumstances HITE can offer its customers a tailored guarding design that gives the desired access to the machine while complying with CSA Z432-04 for permissible gap sizes. This approach to machine safeguarding maintains the desired production efficiency and satisfies OHSA requirements.

Photogrammetry & LIDAR

Our standard practice in the main scope of work is to provide basic sketches for the machine guarding. However, when the guard design is complex and difficult to specify with markups on photos, HITE has a method of taking digital pictures, modeling the machine on 3D cad using specialized software, designing the guards in 3D and supplying fabrication drawings. This technique is known as photogrammetry.


In accordance with TSSA – Director’s Order 226-07-r1 section*2 “Addition of Machine Guarding” all elevator machines must be guarded in accordance with the requirements set out within the “Elevator Machine Room Equipment Guarding” guideline. These requirements are based on Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) requirements and other supporting standards like the CSA Z432-04 Machine Guarding Standard.

In collaboration with TSSA approved elevator contractors, HITE Engineering is offering turn key integration services for elevator machine room equipment guarding. The guarding options include “Global” guarding solutions as well as individual component guarding. The installation includes the required Minor “B” change submissions to the TSSA and a letter from a professional engineer confirming that the installed guarding is in compliance with the respective regulations.

For example, after taking pictures of the area shown in “Figure A”, we were able to model that area in 3D and come up with the design of a form-fitting guard (on Solidworks) as shown in “Figure B”. The guard fit perfectly on the first try.

Turnkey Machine Integration Services

HITE Engineering Corporation has investigated well over a hundred workplace accidents and provided successful litigation support. This gives us unparalleled experience in identifying hazards and recommending effective and economical solutions. This raises the level of safety to meet or exceed current applicable standards. HITE Engineering conducts Pre Start Health and Safety Reviews on the same basis, with the objective of bringing your equipment into full safety compliance in a cost effective manner. Our Reports of Findings always include suggested solutions. With our experience in a wide variety of industries and our in-house design capability, we can resolve any machine guarding and safety issues while minimizing the effect on production. At the same time we can review any additional items such as upgrading your fluid power components, drives and electrical control systems. We can prepare a detailed specification for bidding with your choice of contractor, or have our team provide a turnkey solution.

Importance of Compliance With OSHA Regulations

The importance of complying with the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) in Ontario is to follow the internal policies, procedures, and governmental laws that help protect yourself, your employees, and contractors working with intricate machinery. Following the OSHA procedures also protects your company’s reputation and demonstrates your company’s values to employees.

Overview of OSHA Penalties for Non-compliance

Once a person is convicted of a non-compliance offence under the OSHA in Ontario, these are the following penalties that the individual may be subject to:
  • Pay a fine of up to 1,500,000 CAD for a corporation.
  • Pay a fine of up to $1,500,000 CAD for officers and directors of corporations, along with the possibility of up to 12 months imprisonment.
  • Pay a fine of up to $500,000 for all other persons, along with the possibility of serving up to 12 months in jail.

What Are Machine-Guarding Safety Audits, and Why Are They Important?

A machine guarding audit is a general safety review conducted to check for safety hazards and to see where improvements can be made to adhere to the safety standards of the OSHA. The primary reason why machine guarding audits are essential is to prove accountability. In time, machinery undergoes natural wear and tear, and conducting machine guarding audits helps identify problems that could be potentially harmful or hazardous to employees who are operating them. By detecting machinery issues early, they can be repaired or replaced to guard and protect worker safety in the long run.

Benefits of Machine Guarding Services

Easier Clean-Up

Over time, machine guarding can reduce the amount of paint, sparks, sawdust, and other hazardous materials from harming workers. But it can also improve clean-up by keeping scraps and other materials restrained within their place, making it easier to clean.

Compliance Needs

By following the compliance rules and regulations of the OSHA in Ontario, you protect your company’s risk, and it reassures employees and contractors that they are working in a safe environment.

Improved Security

A significant benefit of machine guarding is protecting machine operators and other employees working directly with machines in the work area from hazardous situations that could cause injury or accidents.


Machine guarding is a safety shield or cover that is placed on or around an engineering or manufacturing machine to prevent hazardous areas of a machine from coming in contact with the body parts of its operators or employees.

Point of operation: This is the starting point where operators perform their work on the machine, such as cutting, melting, shaping, or forming materials or stock. 

The power transmission device: This part of a machine or equipment contains the mechanical system which transfers the power to the area of the machine that performs the work. These pieces include cranks, pulleys, belts, gears, connecting rods, chains, and spindles. 

The operating controls: Each machine comes with a mechanical or electrical power control that makes it possible for the operator to turn on or stop the power from continuing. For this reason, the operating controls need machine guarding to protect the operator from injury.

Fixed guards: These safeguards consist of gates, fences, or blade covers and contain no moving parts. They are used to prevent machine operators from encountering hazardous situations at the operation points. 

Interlocking guards: These types of safeguards are made with movable parts that can cut off the power supply or shut down when tampered with. 

Adjustable guards: These guards are attached to engineering machines permanently. However, their moving parts can be manually adjusted to accommodate various operating conditions.

Self-adjusting guards: These kinds of safeguards automatically adjust to the machine operator when they start interacting with the dangerous part of the machine. For instance, the self-adjusting guards shut down when the machine is idle.

Yes, it’s crucial. A safety assessment is essential whenever you acquire a new machine or make changes to an existing one. End users bear the responsibility for machine safety and compliance, as manufacturers are not always obligated to meet all relevant safety standards. Most regulations mandate a safety assessment for compliance, irrespective of the machine’s age. Ensuring proper guarding and safety measures from the outset is vital to protect workers and uphold legal requirements.

The impact on usability varies with the safety provider. At our company, we customize safety solutions for user-friendliness. During the design phase, we address any concerns to ensure that safety measures do not hinder machine operation. After installation and validation, we offer training on proper use and maintenance to ensure seamless operation while prioritizing safety.

Effective machine safeguards must meet key criteria to ensure worker safety and operational efficiency. They should primarily prevent any contact between workers and hazardous moving parts, be constructed from durable materials, and securely fastened to prevent tampering or removal. Safeguards must also prevent objects from entering into hazardous areas and enable regular operations to be completed safely without removal. Ideally, well-designed safeguards should enhance productivity by allowing workers to operate efficiently without compromising their safety.

Learn More About Machine Guarding

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