I first spotted the risks of blade changing at a printing company about 12 years ago and have done 160 risk assessments of guillotine blade changing since then. At training courses I always stress that guillotines are protected up to the eyeballs with light curtains, two-handed control, etc., during normal operation, but the same level of protection is not there during blade change.
My anticipated worst-case outcomes are:
- Amputation of the foot, or part of it, if the blade is dropped, or
- Major lacerations if the blade is swiped horizontally against the body of the person changing the blade or someone nearby.
The system of work should be:
- Use trained personnel for this.
- Have the box as close as possible to the guillotine and at the same height (rather than being on the floor).
- Ensure that housekeeping is good and the area is free from trip and slip hazards.
- Use appropriate tools.
- Where there are pedestrian/vehicle routes by the guillotine, barricade the area to protect others.
- Avoid this being done as a lone worker operation; however, others must not be "within range" of the blade or distract the person changing the blade.
- Whilst not being part of the blade changing operation, ensure that blades in the boxes are stored so that the cannot fall; good practice is to have a simple chain loop and hook so that the box is held against the wall.