Why Is Machinery Safety Important?

Why Is Machinery Safety Important

Machinery safety is important for several reasons. First and foremost, it protects the workers who are using the machinery. Second, it protects the company from potential lawsuits. Machinery that isn’t correctly safe can cause severe injury or death. This blog post will discuss why machinery safety is so important and how you can ensure your machines are safe to use.

Why Is Machinery Safety Important?

Faulty machinery can lead to severe injury and/or death. This is why it’s critically important that all machines be properly maintained, inspected, and used correctly. Machinery safety is important for several reasons, some of which include:

  • Moving machinery can cause injuries in many ways:
  • People can be struck and injured by moving parts of machinery or ejected material. Parts of the body can also be drawn in or trapped between rollers, belts and pulley drives.
  • Sharp edges can cause cuts and severe injuries, sharp-pointed parts can cause stabbing or puncture of the skin, and rough surface parts can cause friction or abrasion.
  • People can be crushed between parts moving together or towards a fixed part of the machine, wall or another object, and two parts moving past one another can cause shearing.
  • Parts of the machine, materials and emissions (such as steam or water) can be hot or cold enough to cause burns or scalds, and electricity can cause electrical shock and burns.
  • Injuries can also occur due to machinery becoming unreliable and developing faults or when machines are misused through inexperience or lack of training.

What Do I Have To Do?

Before You Start

  • Before using any machine, you need to consider what risks may occur and how these can be managed. You should therefore do the following:
  • Check that the machine is complete, with all safeguards fitted, and free from defects. The term ‘safeguarding’ includes guards, interlocks, two-hand controls, light guards, pressure-sensitive mats etc. By law, the supplier must provide the right safeguards and inform buyers of any risks (‘residual risks’) that users must be aware of and manage because they could not be designed.
  • Produce a safe system of work for using and maintaining the machine. Maintenance may require the inspection of critical features where deterioration would cause a risk. Also, look at the residual risks identified by the manufacturer in the information/instructions provided with the machine and ensure they are included in the safe work system.
  • Ensure every static machine is installed correctly and stable (usually fixed down).
  • Choose the right machine for the job, and do not put machines where customers or visitors may be exposed to risk.
  • Note that new machines should be CE marked and supplied with a Declaration of Conformity and instructions in English.
Why Is Machinery Safety Important

Make Sure The Machine is

  • Safe for any work that has to be done when setting up, during normal use, when clearing blockages, when carrying out repairs for breakdowns, and during planned maintenance;
  • Properly switched off, isolated or locked off before taking any action to remove blockages, clean or adjust the machine;

Also, Make Sure You Identify And Deal With The Risks From:

  • Electrical, hydraulic or pneumatic power supplies;
  • Badly designed safeguards. These may be inconvenient or easily overridden, which could encourage your workers to risk injury and break the law. If they are, find out why they are doing it and take appropriate action to deal with the reasons/causes.

Preventing Access To Dangerous Parts

Think about how you can make a machine safe. The measures you use to prevent access to dangerous parts should be in the following order. In some cases, it may be necessary to use a combination of these measures:

  • Use fixed guards (eg secured with screws or nuts and bolts) to enclose the dangerous parts whenever practical. Use the best material for these guards – plastic may be easy to see through but may easily be damaged. When using wire mesh or similar materials, ensure the holes are not large enough to access moving parts.
  • If fixed guards are not practical, use other methods, eg interlock the guard so that the machine cannot start before the guard is closed and cannot be opened while the machine is still moving. In some cases, trip systems such as photoelectric devices, pressure-sensitive mats or automatic guards may be used if other guards are not practical.
  • Where guards cannot give full protection, use jigs, holders, push sticks etc, if it is practical.
  • Control any remaining risk by providing the operator with the necessary information, instruction, training, supervision, and appropriate safety equipment.

CASE STUDY

A company was prosecuted after a worker received horrific injuries, almost severing his left arm when using a cross-cut saw.

What Has The Employer Done 

The nose guard had not been set correctly because the training was inadequate. The worker had no previous experience and only had five minutes of training on the saw. This did not include instructions about the saw guards and how to adjust them properly. In addition, the saw was unsuitable for training purposes.

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2 Comments

  1. My brother is thinking about starting a new job next month, and he will be working with a lot of machinery and welding tools. I want to make sure that he will work with the machines as safely as possible so that I can have peace of mind! Thanks for explaining that my brother should examine and think about any potentially badly designed safeguards before working with a machine.

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