Scrap metal industry safety program

Monday, 22 September, 2008

Metropolitan and regional scrap metal businesses in Western Australia were visited recently by WorkSafe inspectors as part of a compliance campaign, with industry-specific information packages provided to each company visited.

The program identified specific problems with unguarded machinery, with 64% of the workplaces visited found to have unguarded or inadequately guarded machinery. This applied to both general workshop machinery, such as bench grinders, along with industry-specific equipment including wire-stripping and metal-shearing machines.

WorkSafe inspectors discussed machinery guarding requirements with a local importer/supplier and improvement notices were issued requiring future equipment supplied to be adequately guarded. This supplier has since made significant improvements to the guarding of their equipment and is working with clients to upgrade the guarding of machinery.

WorkSafe has been working closely with industry and guarding specialists, resulting in the development of a suitable guard which addresses the inherent amputation hazards, yet maintains the functionality of the machines.

The project also identified that 67% of the visited workplaces were not adequately maintaining or checking their forklifts, or providing operator manuals.

Electricity-related notices were received by 57% of the visited workplaces. If a workplace uses any portable or handheld electrical appliances, such as drills, angle grinders and vacuum cleaners, then non-portable residual current devices must be provided.


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