There are many cases of machinery accidents where the end results are limb amputations and serious crushing injuries. Always make sure that the hazards associated with your machines have been identified, and that employees are aware of the consequences of tampering with any guarding put there to protect them.
5 Tips for Maintaining Safe Machinery
- All machines should be subject to a risk assessment before they are used for the first time. The assessment should refer to any manufacturer’s information on the correct operation and potential hazards relating to use, as well as legislation and industry guidance. Make sure these findings are communicated to employees.
- Operatives must be trained in the use of the machines before they can use them. Less experienced employees may also need close supervision whilst they obtain a high level of competence. In my experience, all operatives require refresher training on the safe use of machinery at regular intervals, no matter how experienced. Over time everyone gets a little complacent.
- Introduce safe working procedures and method statements, for maintenance and cleaning operations as well as production activities.
- Ensure all machines with dangerous parts are effectively guarded, preferably by fixed or interlocking guards rather than removable guarding. Regularly inspect guarding for signs of wear, dirt or tampering.
- Make sure that all emergency stop buttons are positioned near dangerous machinery parts so that they are visible and can be reached easily. Include them in your documented inspections of the machine, ensuring they are kept clean and in good working order.
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