There are approximately 12 deaths and 40,000 injuries (some of them life changing) each year, due to incidents where workers have been using machinery. Many incidents are due to and as a result of, poorly maintained or missing guarding on machinery with dangerous moving parts.
Employees in machine shops, engineering works, repair workshops and factories can be put at risk by employers failing to maintain safety devices on machinery, which are designed to protect their staff, or by allowing the complete removal of these safety devices.
It is estimated that UK employers could save around 250,000 work days each year, if they could ensure people worked safely on machinery.
The primary legislation covering machinery guarding is the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 (PUWER). Employers have a duty to ensure that items of work equipment provided for their employees and other persons working for them, comply with PUWER. Therefore guarding provided on any machinery must be fitted, used and maintained to comply fully with the PUWER requirements.
So why is guarding important?
Moving parts of machinery can cause injuries in a variety of ways, eg:
Effective guarding can stop these situations arising by ensuring clear separation between the machine operator and any moving components.
Guarding methods and applications
Therefore, it is of paramount importance to prevent access to dangerous parts and think about how a machine can be made safe. Measures to consider could be in the following order. In some cases it may be necessary to use a combination of these:
Other things to consider
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