Machinery Guards for the Health and Safety of Workers
Many types of machinery and pieces of equipment are powered by motors. Whether they are powered by fuel or run off electricity, these motors will contain spinning or revolving parts, and can get extremely hot. There may be other parts of the equipment which can present a danger to people if they were to come into contact with them such as cooling fan blades and drive belts.
The exact dangers and potential injuries that could be inflicted will depend upon the type of machinery and the part that the person comes into contact with, but typical examples include:
- Cuts, lacerations or possible amputation from blades
- Burns from hot surfaces, steam or hazardous chemicals
- Impacts from loose parts which fly off
- Crushing injuries from getting a part of the body trapped between moving parts
To prevent this, guards should be fitted where practicable wherever there is a danger, as well as the presence of warning signs and providing workers with health and safety training courses to make them more aware of the dangers that they face from the various pieces of equipment that they work with or around. The features of these guards should prevent injury whilst still allowing the machinery to operate correctly, for example fan casings with holes which allow air to move freely but are not big enough for a person to get their finger through them.
Some workers may be tempted to remove the guards on occasions, for example to try and make the equipment lighter if it needs to be manually handled or to fix an issue which is preventing the machine from working. This removal of protection can present a serious risk to their health and welfare, but can be combated by locking the guard into place with specialist tools that are not available to anyone other than suitably trained individuals i.e. competent maintenance people.