All mechanical equipment should come with clear operating instructions to ensure you use it safely. Some machines have an isolation or emergency stop control. This should be clearly marked so it can be turned off quickly in case of an emergency.
The incorrect use or misuse of mechanical equipment can cause serious injury to yourself and/or other persons working in the vicinity, and in some cases can be fatal.
Mechanical equipment injuries can occur at any workplace and in any industry. The most common injuries occur to the hands and fingers, often resulting in lengthy periods of time away from work and, in some cases, permanent disability.
Other injuries from workplace accidents using mechanical equipment can include:
- sprains and strains
- open wounds
- eye damage.
Personal protective equipment may include protective gloves, arm guards, safety glasses, hard hats and safety boots.
Setting up a good workplace maintenance program will assist in providing you with equipment and machines in good working order.
Guards are level 2 controls and are designed to protect you from the hazardous moving parts of a machine, or from objects being thrown out from the machine. If you need to remove a guard to assist with cleaning the machine, first check that the machine cannot be started until you replace the guard.
If guards are not replaced, you could suffer injury from:
- being hit by an object
- being crushed or entangled by moving parts
- heat and radiation
Faulty equipment needs to be tagged and locked-out to ensure it is not used again before being replaced or repaired.
Everyone is responsible for safe work – so if you're not sure about something, ask someone.