Hundreds of accidents happen each year because machines are not properly guarded. Some people escape with dislocations or amputations – others aren’t so lucky. Take time today to make sure that all of the machinery on your premises is properly guarded.
5 Top Tips Protect Staff Working with Machinery
- Make sure all machines have been thoroughly risk assessed to identify any potential for people to become trapped, caught or entangled within them, and the necessary controls to prevent this from happening.
- Ensure that all parts of machines are properly guarded. Fixed guarding is best, as this is much harder for workers to defeat or adapt. Regularly check that guarding is in place, and that it is in a good condition – put machines out of action until broken or removed guards have been replaced.
- Develop safe systems of work and communicate these to your employees. Provide adequate levels of supervision to all workers, especially those that may be new to the job and unsure of the dangers.
- Give training to your employees on the safe use of machines. Make sure they know not to put their hands in to move a blockage, and that they must always turn off machinery at the mains before undertaking maintenance or blockage clearing. Have a policy of keeping the machine key on the operator working on it, to ensure that no one else can turn it on by mistake.
- Investigate all accidents and near misses to help identify where your controls might have failed. Record your findings, and the action you have taken to prevent an accident in the future.
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The HSE conducted an investigation at a company and found that it had not had some of its lifting equipment thoroughly examined within the necessary timescale specified in the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998 (LOLER). This requirement is there to ensure that equipment is safe to use, and that any deterioration can be identified to prevent possible failures during use. The company had 14 items that were overdue a thorough examination, and even though the HSE served an Improvement Notice – and extended the notice twice to give the company more time – the company still failed to carry out this important duty.
5 Top Tips to Ensure Your Lifting Equipment is Safe
- Carry out a risk assessment to identify the hazards involved in your lifting operations, and ensure that the lifting equipment you choose is right for the job. Teach workers how to do pre-use checks to ensure the equipment is in a good condition before they start.
- Always ensure that a thorough examination by a competent person is undertaken at the right intervals. Unless otherwise stated, this is every six months for all lifting accessories and for lifting equipment and associated accessories used to lift people, and every 12 months for all other lifting equipment.
- Ensure that your lifting equipment, and accessories such as slings and chains, are clearly marked with the safe working load (SWL) and that this is never exceeded. Never let anyone be lifted by equipment which is not suitable for carrying persons.
- Keep a written record of your scheme of maintenance and user checks. Records must be kept for all thorough examinations and any defects found must be reported to both the person responsible for the equipment and the relevant enforcing authority, such as the HSE or local authority.
- Properly investigate all incidents and near misses involving lifting equipment to identify any maintenance issues or defects. Never use an item which has a defect until this has been remedied and the item has been put back into service.
Fatalities and serious injuries can occur when lifting equipment fails, often resulting in workers being crushed or pinned by falling heavy items. Make sure you take steps today to ensure that your lifting equipment is safe to use.
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Prevent Falling Storage Items: 6 Key Tips
- Undertake a risk assessment for all stacking and unstacking activities within the workplace. Include control measures for how items at height should be safely accessed without disturbing the balance or stability of the pile.
- Develop a safe system of work for stacking. Determine a safe maximum height for stacked items and regularly check that this is not exceeded. Tie unstable items together to help create a more stable pile.
- Give staff training on the correct stacking procedure. Ensure they know that any unstable items should be placed with a gentle backwards slope at the top to help prevent them falling.
- Make sure you have a plan in place to deal with unforeseen situations such as falls or unstable stock. Prevent any workplace vehicles from knocking into stored items by putting up barriers.
- Always check pallets to make sure they are not broken or damaged in any way. Throw away any that are unsuitable – chop them in half before disposing of them to stop them being re-used by someone else. Make sure any pallets used are suitable for the type and weight of the items they are holding.
- Regularly check your racking to ensure it is stable, and that the fixings are holding it to the wall/floor correctly. Make sure the maximum safe working load is not exceeded. Racking can deteriorate over time so it is vital to include it as part of your regular workplace inspection.
Many serious and sometimes fatal injuries occur every year when something falls onto a worker. Make sure you secure your stacked items to prevent this happening in your workplace.
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