Guard Labels: Best Practices to Improve Safety and Reduce Liability

By Erin Earley | 30th Jan 2013

Guards, switches and light curtains are all important safety mechanisms in protecting worker accidents and injuries from products and machinery. Just as important as the guard itself, when it comes to improving safety and reducing liability, is another type of safety device: safety labels. Guard, switch, and light curtain labels are critical communication tools because they can reinforce intended safe operation criteria that guards must be in place during operation of the equipment.

When it comes to product design and machinery safety, if it's not possible to eliminate a risk through design, it must be guarded against. Guarding, however, is not failsafe; guards and covers get removed, interlocks get circumvented, doors are left open, programmable controllers have their software modified. The results can be devastating. Communicating risk becomes the last line of defense, and here, safety labels are key. Guard labels remind people that safety is a critical issue, and they can support training as well as serve as a final reinforcement of the importance of the safety devices installed on products or in facilities.

Clarion Safety Systems Guard Safety Label

"Do Not Operate with Guards Removed/Gears Beneath" safety symbol (left) and a best practice safety label designed to warn against operating machinery without the proper guard in place (right).

To learn more about guarding labels, read the Clarion "On Your Mark" article featured in the latest issue of In Compliance Magazine, which discusses best practices and proper format and design. Authored by Clarions CEO Geoffrey Peckham, "On Your Mark" is a regular series of columns that explores graphical symbols and how theyre used to convey safety messages. Stay tuned here on the Clarion Safety Systems blog for the next article in this series – and for more insight on best practice safety signs, labels, and markings.