A series of incidents involving unguarded machinery has prompted a SafeWork SA warning to farm businesses as the South Australian grain harvest season gains pace.

SafeWork SA inspectors recently responded to a serious incident where a farm worker had their hand entangled in an unguarded grain transfer auger resulting in the amputation of several fingers on their dominant hand.

Inspectors also visited a large piggery where they observed, and prohibited, several items of unguarded farming equipment used in the feed-mill.

This machinery posed a serious risk to the safety of workers and other persons due to potential risk of entanglement and/or amputation.

SafeWork SA Inspectors from the agency’s manufacturing and primary industry team have also recently attended several workplaces where various items of plant were not adequately guarded.

Unguarded augers are a safety risk.

The items of plant identified during these site visits have been prohibited from use until such time as the business implements suitable control measures to eliminate or minimise the risk of injury to workers.

Unguarded “V” belts, pulleys, chains, sprockets and augers are extremely unforgiving and have the potential to “draw-in”, entangle and amputate body parts with life changing consequences for the injured person.

Under the Work, Health and Safety Act (WHS Act), businesses must ensure so far as is reasonably practicable, the health and safety of workers and other persons.

This includes the provision and maintenance of safe plant and structures, including guards.

Section 19 of the WHS Act outlines the obligations for guarding.

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