Workplaces where employees are constantly working with machinery are high-risk workplaces due to the use of machines. Machines can be faulty, be operated incorrectly and can cause long- and short-term injuries.
The most readily available source of information pertaining to safe operation of machines, minimising risk of injury, is the operating manual which comes with the machine when purchased. Workplace Health and Safety (WHS) legislation requires that all suppliers provide an operating manual for the machine, and also provide adequate information in relation to injuries that can be caused by the machine. This manual illustrates how to use the machine safely and correctly.
However, the issue with an operating manual which comes with the machine is that machines are usually bought and sold on numerous occasions and, also with older machinery, the manual gets lost or destroyed to the point where that it cannot be read. Therefore, if the manual is not available, there is no readily available reference in ensuring low risk of injury.
In such cases where the operating manual is not available, there is generic information for assistance. There are, however, many hazards associated with machinery. They fall into three categories:
Hazards relating to the machinery itself, such as shearing and abrasion and release of hazardous substances
Hazards related to the location of machine, such as stability as there is risk of the machine rolling or falling over
Hazards related to systems of work associated with the machine, such as ‘manual handling’ issues when injury is caused by the machine
To ensure that your workplace is a safe and low-risk environment for your employees, you should ensure that all machinery is regularly serviced, operating manuals are available at all times and that there are appropriate policies and procedures in place. If you have any further questions in regard to the high risk of machinery in the workplace, please do not hesitate to get in contact with one of our qualified risk specialists who will be able to come to the worksite and work through any issues or queries you may have.