Machine guarding warning from SafeWork SA

Monday, 21 May, 2007

SafeWork SA has issued a reminder to employers of the dangers to staff in neglecting necessary checks for safety guarding on their plant and machinery.

The reminder is in response to a fine issued last week to a food manufacturer over an incident in which a female worker lost the tip of her finger while cleaning a machine.

The court was told that while cleaning splashes of ice-cream from a small moving conveyor belt, the woman's right index finger was trapped and crushed by an unguarded part of the machine.

In its investigation, SafeWork SA found that a removable guard for the machine was stored in a shed and had never been used, nor was the worker told the guard even existed.

The charge noted:

  • A failure to maintain the machine in a safe condition
  • A failure to provide instruction pertaining to a guard for the machine
  • A failure to provide instruction on how to install it
  • A failure to provide instruction on how to check it was properly in place

"The machine guard was there on the premises to be used, but it was ignored and a worker suffered a distressing disfigurement as a result," WorkSafe SA executive director, Michele Paterson said.

"Those involved must ask themselves now whether it might have been worth taking the time for a simple hazard identification and risk assessment in the first place."

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