Translocation into the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) is the first step in the biogenesis of thousands of eukaryotic endomembrane proteins. While functional ER translocation has been avidly studied, little is known about the quality control mechanisms that resolve faulty translocational states. One such faulty state is translocon clogging, in which the substrate fails to properly translocate and obstructs the translocon pore. To shed light on the machinery required to resolve clogging, we carried out a systematic screen in Saccharomyces cerevisiae that highlighted a role for the ER metalloprotease Ste24. We could demonstrate that Ste24 approaches the translocon upon clogging, interacts with and generates cleavage fragments of the clogged protein. Importantly, these functions are conserved in the human homologue, ZMPSTE24, while disease-associated mutant forms of ZMPSTE24 fail to clear the translocon. These results shed light on a new and critical task of Ste24, which safe-guards the essential process of translocation.