Legal Article - Health & Safety

Staying Safe When Working with Machinery Used in MVR

The machinery typically used in the MVR sector can cause of many serious accidents that result in injury; and sometimes life-changing injury. There are many reasons for this, including unsuitable use of machinery. There are also many cases where safety guards have been left off or not provided at all.

Using Tools, Machines and Plant and Work Equipment Safely

Any tools, machines and plant and work equipment provided and used must always be suitable for the intended purpose. Make sure you are able to recognise dangerous parts and assess how you can prevent injury when performing your own risk assessment. If you provide safeguards that are inconvenient to the user; or those that can be easily be removed, you could be encouraging your employees to break the law, and to risk serious injury!

Implement a system to check that each machine is safe to use. Sometimes safety is dependent on how equipment is installed. Always inspect it to ensure it is correctly set up. Regular inspections for deterioration should also be done. Keep records of these inspections.

All workers – including you – should use machines according to the instructions they were supplied with. All guards should be in position and suitable for the job. Proper maintenance is essential to keep the machines in good order. Safety checks should be performed before each use, so any defects can be spotted and fixed.

Controls should be clearly marked to illustrate their purpose and which machine they relate to. You shouldn’t be able to operate these controls by unintentionally. Proper lighting should be provided for stationary machines. Electrical machinery should be isolated and locked off if safety guards or other safety devices are removed. Everyone should be trained to work safety and have the required protective clothing and protective equipment.

Check that safeguards are fitted. They should be strong and securely attached to the machine. They should also be self-locking and require a tool to open them. Safeguards should be made from a strong material (plastic is easy to damage) and should always be checked and maintained.

If guards are interlocked, check the machine can’t start before the guard is in position. Also check that opening the guard will stop the machine or that part. For example, the interlocking valve or switch (where fitted to a machine) should be robust for the job and be difficult to defeat.

Author: Ernie Taylor

Published: 19 Sep 2016

Edited: 19 Sep 2016


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