Many accidents occur each year, such as finger amputations and lacerations, when staff work unsafely on band saws and similar equipment with moving blades. Take action today to prevent an incident like the one above happening in your workplace.
- Undertake a risk assessment to establish the risks involved in the use of band saws. Consider how someone could be hurt – by being cut, for example – and the best controls needed to remove or reduce the risk.
- Always use the necessary guards. Use the right combination of both adjustable and fixed guards on blades and pulleys, and interlocked doors where possible.
- Verify that the equipment is the most suitable item to cut the intended material. Make sure blade teeth are sharp, and that the blade type and width is suitable for the material.
- Use push sticks or an automated feed system to keep hands away from the blade. Use a fence when undertaking straight cutting of work pieces.
- Train workers on how to use the equipment, including setting it up, cleaning it and changing the blades. Teach them not to force materials through, as this could lead to workers losing their balance, or losing control of the work piece.
- Provide adequate supervision for all workers to ensure they are following safe working procedures.
- Ensure that the controls work properly. Make sure emergency stop buttons are large, and that they are located in suitable, accessible positions. Use hold-to-run buttons wherever possible.
- Position the band saw correctly, for example, in a place where the operator has their back to a wall. This should help prevent accidents as a result of the operator being pushed forwards or knocked into by a person or workplace vehicle.
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Statistics from the HSE show that 25-30% of manufacturing fatalities in Great Britain relate to maintenance activities. Take steps today to protect your workers by ensuring that your machinery maintenance risks are identified and effectively managed.
Tips for Safe Machine Maintenance
- Undertake a risk assessment to find out what risks are involved to workers performing maintenance tasks, such as how they could be pulled into machines or fall from the top of machines. Identify the key control measures needed, such as training for workers and guarding of moving machinery parts.
- Make sure you know everything you can about your machines so you can plan for things that could go wrong, and find out about different run modes. Read the manuals before putting any new machine into action.
- Develop safe working procedures for both preventative and reactive maintenance, as the circumstances under which workers perform these tasks are likely to be different. Remember that reactive maintenance can occur under pressure, such as when machines have a fault, and staff need clear instructions on how to proceed safely.
- Establish the correct equipment needed for maintenance tasks, such as fixed ladders to prevent access equipment moving during use, and fall restraints if access at height is required.
- Train workers to isolate and lock off machinery before attempting maintenance activities. Give each worker involved in the operation their own locking off padlock. Ensure any stored pneumatic or hydraulic energy is released before work starts.
- Use signage to tell other workers in the area that maintenance is being undertaken. Don’t let anyone else try to start up a machine whilst this is being done – remove all keys and isolate as detailed above.
Contact us, should you require assistance.