Guarding and Safety Control Systems

When it comes to your machinery it’s important to think about your guarding and safety control systems. A combination of guarding failures and machinery moving parts can result in many different types of injuries.

As an example parts of the body can be drawn in or trapped between belts, rollers and pulley drives. Sharp edges can cause cuts, stabbing or puncture the skin, and rough surfaces can cause friction or abrasion injuries. Machine operators can be crushed between moving parts and injuries can also occur due to machinery becoming unreliable and developing faults.

On the web (in the press) and on the HSE website you can read about increasing incidences of guarding failure where operators sustain both minor and major injuries.

A Couple of Real Life Examples of Guarding Failure

1) This year (May 2014) a newspaper company was prosecuted after a worker injured his hand when it was caught in a rotating printer roller.

The employee suffered crush injuries to his thumb and middle finger as he attempted to remove a small piece of torn paper from the unguarded roller.

The Health and Safety Executive found the worker was able to access dangerous moving parts of the machinery because sections of the press machine had been removed when employees were clearing paper from the ink rollers.

The company was fined £3,000 and ordered to pay £1,560 in costs after admitting a breach of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 by failing to prevent access to the dangerous parts of the machine.

2) A tissue manufacturer was fined for guarding safety failings after an employee lost the tops of two fingers in machinery.

The employee had been trying to stop paper sticking to a seven-metre-wide print roller by attempting to clean it with a cloth while the machine was operating. The cloth became trapped between two rotating rollers, dragging in his right hand with it.

The Health and Safety Executive investigation found the guards on the machine, which should have prevented the worker’s hands from being trapped by the rollers, had been removed more than a year before the accident. In addition, electronic safety locks and cut-out switches had been bypassed to allow the machine to carry on running!

The company was fined £10,000 and ordered to pay £8,000 in prosecution costs.

Importance of Machinery Guarding and Safety Control and Surveys

It’s important to ask yourself are your machines safe to use? Do they have sufficient guarding and safety control in place to stop your operators injuring themselves’? Is guarding present and checked after maintenance and cleaning? Can the machine be stopped quickly in the case of an emergency? Are machines tested or surveyed on a regular basis to ensure they are working correctly?

Tech Ltd can survey your machinery and provide a report on the machine’s safety systems as well as suggesting any potential improvements.

Mechanical Guarding, Stop Circuits and Light Barriers

The Tech Ltd workshop is fully equipped to manufacture a range of guarding barriers from Perspex to metal guarding barriers which can stop the machine when the operator lifts the guard. We can also install light curtains so that if an operator breaks the light beams the machine will automatically stop. Our electrical engineers are able to fit complete stop circuits around your machine to enable the operator to always be in close vicinity to a stop button or operate a two button safety system. We can also manufacture and install umbilical control box/panel. This allows then operator to run the machine whilst standing a safe distance away.

We provide machine safety surveys free of charge. Call us on 01233 714919 about your machine enquiries. We are always happy to help.