MACHINE SAFETY: How to Guard Forging Machines

Date First Published on SafetySmart Compliance: April 3rd, 2012
Topics: Machine Guarding |


Forging machines are made up of equipment like hammers, rolls and related equipment that are used to shape metals. Here’s an overview of what employers must do under the OSHA standard for guarding of forging machines, Sec. 1910.218.

Inspection of Forging Equipment

Employers are responsible for continually maintaining all forge shop equipment in safe condition, including the establishment of inspections, training of personnel and keeping records listing the date of inspection, equipment inspected and signature of the inspecting worker.

Equipment Standards

The Forging Machine standard also sets out equipment-specific requirements.

Hammers must be positioned or installed so that they remain on or anchored to foundations adequate to support them. Presses must also be installed to remain where they’re positioned or anchored to adequate foundations.

There must be a means for disconnecting the power to the machine and for locking out or rendering cycling controls inoperable. In addition, the ram must be blocked when dies, i.e., toolings used in a press for cutting or forming materials, are changed or other work is done on the hammer using blocks made of strong materials that meet standards set out in Table O-11 of the standard.

Tongs must be long enough to clear the body of the worker in case of kickback and can’t have sharp handle ends. Oil swabs, scale removers, or other devices to remove scale long enough to enable a man to reach the full length of the die without placing his hand or arm between the dies, must be provided. There must be a scale guard “of substantial construction” at the back of every hammer or press and arranged so as to stop flying scale.

Steam and airhammers must have a safety cylinder head to act as a cushion if the rod breaks or pullout of the ram occurs. Steam hammers must also have a quick closing emergency valve in the admission pipeline at a convenient location and the valve kept in the closed and locked in the off position while the hammer is being adjusted, repaired or serviced, or the dies are changed.

Upsetter Standards


Upsetters, i.e., a type of forging equipment similar to a mechanical power press in which the main forming energy is applied horizontally to the workpiece gripped and held by prior action of the dies, must be installed so that they stay on their supporting foundations and have a means for locking out the power at entry point to the machine and rendering cycling controls inoperable.

Manually operated valves and switches must be clearly identified and readily accessible. Power to the upsetter must be locked out, and the flywheel at rest when the dies are changed, maintenance is performed or any work is done on the machine.