Don’t get caught in rotating machines: safety alert

WorkCover NSW has released a safety alert warning workers of the risks associated with working near rotating machines in manufacturing plants.

The alert, called Entanglement in rotating machines, reminds workers of the potential for entanglement when using rotating machinery.

WorkCover NSW cited a number of accidents in which workers became entangled in rotating machinery, each as a result of a workers’ clothing becoming caught on a rotating component.

Recent incidents reported by the organisation include:

  • A worker received serious hand injuries using a bench drill when a glove became entangled on the spindle;
  • A worker using a lathe had three fingers amputated when a glove became entangled on an item he was polishing;
  • And a worker sustained critical head injuries from being pulled into a Computer Numerical Control (CNC) lathe after a sleeve became entangled on an item he was polishing.

"Persons conducting a business or undertaking (PCBU) that uses plant must ensure that the risks to the health and safety of workers and others because of the plant are minimised as much as is reasonably practicable,” said the WorkCover NSW in the safety alert.

“When assessing risks associated with rotating machinery, you should first establish whether the plant is appropriate for the task, and assess whether the task or the plant could be replaced with a lower risk solution.

“Consider whether the power or momentum of the working plant results in a risk of entanglement, and whether alternate methods can be used that do not place workers within reach of rotating machinery."

WorkCover NSW also advised that PCBU must also develop safe work methods in consultation with workers, and provide workers with the necessary information, training and supervision required for them to follow the developed safe work methods.

“Entanglement is a potential hazard of most rotating machinery, and so safe work procedures should include measures to minimise the risk of injury to workers who operate or work nearby such machinery," said the safety alert.

The safety alert was put together under the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (WHS Act) – Work Health and Safety Regulation 2011 (WHS Regulation).

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