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Working with moving machinery

In many sectors, workers must use machinery to perform their tasks. In construction, agriculture, cabinet making, food processing or factories, workers who use machinery must be able to do so safely.

The employer must implement measures to ensure that workers never come in contact with a moving part. They must inspect machinery regularly to ensure that all guards are in place and in good condition before use. If they find that they are missing or in poor condition, they must install new ones.

Workers are responsible for applying these measures and using the protective equipment provided. This will significantly reduce the risk of serious injury, amputation or death.

Safety rules

Zero tolerance

If any of these rules are not followed, the CNESST will stop the work and those at fault will be liable to criminal prosecution.

Zero tolerance sheet : Working with moving machinery

Install guards or safety devices to control access to the moving parts of a machine during operation.

Other mandatory safety measures

Depending on the tasks to be performed, one or more of the following measures must also be taken by the employer to ensure the safety of the worker:

use an energy control method such as lockout during repair, maintenance, cleaning or blockage clearing work that requires even partial dismantling of machine parts or when the safety devices are rendered ineffective or removed

when replacing a guard or safety device, make sure the replacement guard or safety device offers a level of safety at least equivalent to that offered by the original part

fit bench grinders with the required guards and safety devices, namely, a casing, a spark shield, a workpiece support and a transparent screen

fit circular saws with a splitter

when the work allows, use accessories such as push sticks or jigs on woodworking machines to keep the worker's hands away from the danger zone

fit woodworking machines that may cause pieces to fly off with devices to prevent kickback

Specific measures for a sector of activity


In agriculture, accidents caused by a moving part can occur with several machines (tractors, combine harvesters, hay presses, etc.). The power transmission components of these machines (power take-off, drive shaft, pulley, etc.) can cause serious injury. They must be fitted with an effective guard to prevent access.

Example of safety measures with a drive shaft

The employer must:

  • install a tube guard on the drive shaft and a shield or housing on the power take-off of the tractor and on the receiving shaft of the connected machine
  • check the condition of the guards regularly and replace them if they are damaged
  • make sure the drive shaft guard is rotating freely at all times. Disengage the power take-off and shut the engine off before checking this
Arbre de transmission

The worker must:

  • wear close-fitting clothes and tie long hair back
  • stay a safe distance away, even when guards are in place
  • never step across a drive shaft

Laws and regulations