We have recently reviewed a machine which is the first of its kind. This machine is being Beta tested at one of our customers and they asked us to review the safety aspects of this machine. Though the type of machine that the new one is destined to replace is horrible, and has caused major injuries and deaths throughout industry, we found a number of shortcomings with the new machine. These were:
- Access platform from which the machine is loaded and unloaded extended for only 33% of the full width and had no end handrails. Operators were therefore required to reach out over the edge twice for every item processed. (Risk of falls)
- Scissor lifts for raising material had no devices to protect against crush injury either during normal use or during maintenance. (Risk of crush or foot amputation)
- No guarding on feed mechanism underside. (Risk of entrapment)
- No guarding of gaps which could cause finger amputation injury. One gap is right next to handles on a part being moved. (Risk of finger amputation)
- Potential for heavy part of the machine to be dropped. Stops to prevent this were marginal. (Risk of upper body or lower body crush injury)
Because of legal concerns, we cannot show photographs of the machine or name the manufacturer.
All of the above risks were immediately apparent. Suitable risk control measures are readily available and cost little when compared with the overall cost of the machine.
Remember the following:
- CE marking is a self-assessment process for most machinery. There is no independant "CE inspector".
- The employer carries the final responsibility. See London Borough of Tower Hamlets v HSBC Bank plc.
However, the supplier also has obligations under the Health and Safety at Work Act and the Supply of Machinery (Safety) Regulations.
SSS provide risk assessment services for many industries and CE marking and design support for manufacturers and agents.