Dos and Don’ts Of Machinery Safety For Workers
- check the machine is well maintained and fit to be used, ie appropriate for the job and working properly and that all the safety measures are in place – guards, isolators, locking mechanisms, emergency off switches etc;
- use the machine properly and in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions;
- make sure you are wearing the appropriate protective clothing and equipment required for that machine, such as safety glasses, hearing protection and safety shoes.
- use a machine or appliance that has a danger sign or tag attached to it. Danger signs should only be removed by an authorized person who is satisfied that the machine or process is now safe;
- wear dangling chains, loose clothing, rings or have loose, long hair that could get caught up in moving parts;
- distract people who are using machines;
- remove any safeguards, even if their presence seems to make the job more difficult.
Other things you should consider
- If machines are controlled by programmable electronic systems, changes to any programmes should be carried out by a competent person (someone who has the necessary skills, knowledge and experience to carry out the work safely). Keep a record of such changes and check they have been made properly.
- Ensure control switches are clearly marked to show what they do.
- Have emergency stop controls where necessary, eg mushroom-head push buttons within easy reach.
- Make sure operating controls are designed and placed to avoid accidental operation and injury, use two-hand controls where necessary and shroud start buttons and pedals.
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- Don’t let unauthorized, unqualified or untrained people use machinery – never allow children to operate or help at machines. Some workers, eg new starters, young people or those with disabilities, may be particularly at risk and need instruction, training and supervision.
- Adequate training should ensure that those who use the machine are competent to use it safely. This includes ensuring they have the correct skills, knowledge and experience – sometimes formal qualifications are needed, eg for chainsaw operators.
- Supervisors must also be properly trained and competent to be effective. They may need extra specific training and there are recognised courses for supervisors.
- Ensure the work area around the machine is kept clean and tidy, free from obstructions or slips and trips hazards, and well lit.