68_HSE_CORNER_-_Workplace_Machinery HSE CORNER - Workplace Machinery

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 enclose the dangerous parts, whenever practical.
  • If fixed guards are not practical, use other methods, e.g. 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.
  • Control any remaining risk by providing the operator with the necessary information, instruction, training, supervision and appropriate safety equipment.


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 severing injuries, sharp-pointed parts can cause stabbing or puncture the skin, and rough surface parts can cause friction or abrasion.
  • People can be crushed, both between parts moving together or towards a fixed part of the machine, wall or other 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 used improperly through inexperience or lack of training.

Other Things You Should Consider

  • Have emergency stop controls where necessary, e.g. 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.
  • Do not let unauthorised, unqualified or untrained people use machinery.
  • Adequate training should ensure that those who use the machine are competent to use it safely.
  • Supervisors must also be properly trained and competent to be effective.
  • Ensure the work area around the machine is kept clean and tidy, free from obstructions or slips and trips hazards, and well lit.
  • Implement a preventative maintenance program.

Machinery Safety for Workers

  • Check the machine is well maintained and fit to be used, i.e. appropriate for the job and working properly and that all the safety measures are in place – guards, isolators, locking mechanisms, emergency off switches.
  • 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.
  • Don’t use a machine or appliance that has a danger sign or tag attached to it. Danger signs should only be removed by an authorised person who is satisfied that the machine or process is now safe.
  • Don’t wear dangling chains, loose clothing, and rings or have loose, long hair that could get caught up in moving parts.
  • Don’t distract people who are using machines.
  • Don’t remove any safeguards, even if their presence seems to make the job more difficult.

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