The workplace, whether it’s an office, industrial setting or any kind of environment should never pose a genuine risk of injury. Businesses have a responsibility to ensure the safety of staff.
Machinery plays a massive part in a lot of everyday operations. Safety whilst using it is of vital importance, especially given the potential consequences.
What Could Go Wrong?
As large, heavy pieces of equipment, most machinery throws up a range of potential issues. Of course, most companies will have provided sufficient training to safe use but that doesn’t stop potential danger from being present.
Moving machinery, in particular, can present an incredibly dangerous possible pitfall. Exposed moving parts of equipment are constantly in motion. Whilst probably unlikely, people can be caught between parts such as rollers and belts.
Older apparatus can begin to decline. It may not be as faultless as it perhaps once was and might even have sharp edges or rough surfaces that can stab or rub if it hits the skin in a certain way. There’s also the issue of operational machinery can become extremely hot, or produce hot emissions such as water or steam, that can burn skin.
Large machinery generally requires a fair bit of electricity to run. A massive accumulation of electricity may present a risk of electrical shock and burns if not dealt with properly.
Whether it’s a new pieces of apparatus or a brand new one, there are steps you can take to effectively boost safety. There are a few considerations and each one enhances safety.
The most obvious of these is ensure that your machinery is fitted correctly and isn’t going to be wobbling or leaning. If you don’t have proper knowledge on this, machine movers or installation teams can carry this out on your behalf.
Secondly, you need to make sure that your equipment has all relevant safeguards in place. This may be plastic guards or complete interlocks. Either way, the supplier of your apparatus has a duty to inform you of any risks that you need to be aware of, no matter how small or insignificant it may seem. Again, if you’re unsure, seek professional assistance.
You might also want to consider the location of your appliances. Are they in the way of others? Will visitors be in close proximity of any them? If so, are you confident that no harm will come of this? Remember that new machinery needs to be CE marked and have English instructions and Declaration of Conformity as standard.
The training provided is the key to using machinery in an effective manner. Employers have an obligation to ensure that the right training is given but that can only go so far.
Proper use more or less removes every risk that may come about. Combining training with protocols and SOPs, it should be clear to employees what exactly their own liability is whilst operating machinery.
Regular maintenance is advised to provide assurances that all of the parts within a given machine can being used safely and properly. This can include checks on components, emergency controls, emissions and electrical.
Relocating machinery may be required for a number of reasons including moving to new premises, placing in another part of the building or end of lifecycle.
It’s important to remember that moving equipment should only be done if you are absolutely sure of what you are doing. After all, it will probably need reinstalling which is a job most people aren’t completely competent with.
Not only that, the heavier the machine, the higher the risk of injury. What may seem like a simple two man job, might actually be a danger to backs, or even potential crushing, and be much more suited to different methods. HiAb hire, crane lorries and purpose-vehicles will move machinery in a quicker time without incident.
A Safe Environment
With all of this being said, disaster and machinery is pretty uncommon. This won’t be an excuse however if something was to happen. From employer to employee, everybody has a role to play in maximising safety.
In most cases, it isn’t too difficult. Just remember, there’s no substitute for comprehensive protection. Always call on a professional if you have any doubt whatsoever on any safety aspect.