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HSE issues warning about unguarded machinery

Following the prosecution of a company that pleaded guilty to an offence under the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 (PUWER 98), the HSE (Health and Safety Executive) has issued a warning to employers. The HSE is stressing that employers have a duty to assess workplace machinery risks properly to ensure that machinery is adequately safeguarded.

In the accident to which the prosecution related, a drive cable had become entangled, preventing a machine from running. In an attempt to start the machine, a worker pulled on the drive cable. However, when the machinery started to move, the worker's finger was drawn between the pulley and cable, causing severe injuries and resulting in the finger being amputated.

An HSE investigation found that a guard had been removed during a previous repair to the machine but had not been refitted. While the HSE is using the incident to remind employers about their duty to perform risk assessments, it would also be fair to use this as an opportunity to remind maintenance engineers of the importance of refitting guards. Furthermore, if experience on a particular machine shows that fixed guards have to be removed periodically to perform maintenance, a risk assessment may indicate that it is worth retrofitting guard switches that are properly connected to the safety-related control system.

Pilz Automation Technology offers a broad range of products and services for manufacturing companies operating machinery and work equipment. For example, for the type of application mentioned above, Pilz has an extensive range of safety switches to suit different application requirements, as well as safety relays and configurable modular safety controllers.

Various safety-related services are offered, including plant assessments, PUWER assessments, risk assessments and design services. If required, Pilz can even provide CE marking services.

Please contact Pilz to request more information about products and services for machinery safety.

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E-Mail: sales@pilz.co.uk

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