Unbelievably, many workers each year are still being mangled by unguarded or poorly guarded machinery or equipment (or 'plant'). The results of these accidents are horrific - workers lose fingers, arms and in the worst cases are even killed - often because a machine lacked a guard costing very little.
Regulations 99 - 100 provide a lot of detail regarding guarding of machines. Basically, IF the employer/self-employed person uses guarding as a control measure, then the employer/SEP must make sure it prevents access to the danger point or area of the plant. In other words, if the guarding is inadequate, it is the employer/SEP's responsibility to rectify this.
Other parts of the regulation stipulate further requirements, namely:
- if access is not required during operations, maintenance or cleaning, then the guarding is to be a permanently fixed physical barrier;
- if access is required, the guarding is to be an interlocked physical barrier;
- alternatives if the above are not reasonably practicable, then the guarding used is a physical barrier that can only be altered/removed by the use of tools first, and if not practicable, then there must be a presence-sensing system in place;
- ensuring that by-passing or disabling the guarding, whether deliberately or by accident, is a difficult as possible;
- ensuring that the guarding will control the risk of parts being ejected from the plant;
- guarding or insulating pipes or other parts of the plant to eliminate/reduce risks associated with heat or cold.
- Plant Safety - the basics
- Machinery and equipment safety – an introduction: A handbook for workplaces
- Plant Hazard Checklist
- Plant health and safety guide
And on guarding in particular, a number of 'safety solutions':
- Guarding woodworking bandsaws
- Guarding printing presses
- Guarding food preparation mixers
- Guarding metal cutting guillotines
Last amended December 2022