20 Safety Measures of Machine Safety

Here we will be highlighting “20 safety measures of machine safety“, that is, safety measures that could be put in place to ensure safety when using machines.

Before we get to the list of measures, let me give an overview of what Machine Safety is;

What is Machine Safety:

Machine safety is the set of procedures, processes, and standards designed to protect the health and safety of people working with machines.

It can also be said to cover set of rules that are enacted to ensure that safety of people or persons working with or around machineries.

There are lots of benefits of following machine safety procedures, some of which will be discussed in the next paragraph.

READ: Machine Safety Category Ratings You Should Know – Don’t Get Caught Without Them!

Importance of Machine Safety

The Health and Safety Executive has highlighted the importance of Machine Safety.

It is important that all employers consider how their workers use machinery, this will also involve having adequate maintenance arrangements in place to ensure it remains safe to use. In considering the importance of Machine Safety, we acknowledging these:

Moving machinery can cause injuries in many ways.

  • People can be struck and injured by moving parts of machinery or ejected material
  • Parts of the body can also be drawn in or trapped between rollers, belts and pulley drives
  • Sharp edges can cause cuts and severing injuries. Sharp-pointed parts can cause stabbing or puncture the skin. Rough surface parts can cause friction or abrasion
  • People can be crushed, both between parts moving together or towards a fixed part of the machine, wall or other object. Two parts moving past one another can cause shearing
  • Parts of the machine, materials and emissions (such as steam or water) can be hot or cold enough to cause burns or scalds. Electricity can cause electrical shock and burns.

Injuries can also occur when:

  • Machinery becomes unreliable and develops faults
  • Machines are used improperly through inexperience or lack of training

Hence, the importance of Machine Safety is that it will help avoid, reduce or prevents the hazards and risk highlighted above.

20 Safety Measures of Machine Safety

  1. Operate machinery only when safeguards are properly installed and adjusted.
  2. Read the operating manual of any new machine carefully, even if you are already familiar with the basics. Always follow the instructions given.
  3. Never remove machine safeguards or try to get round them.
  4. Visually assess the machinery and its fixtures and fittings before use, looking for any potential problems.
  5. Do not use a machine with safeguards that are unauthorised or damaged.
  6. Fit easy-to-understand safety warning signs in visible locations, for the benefit of anybody in the vicinity of the machine.
  7. If you discover a machine safeguard problem, report it immediately.
  8. Do not create new hazards, such as allowing objects to fall into the moving parts or by creating a new pinch point.
  9. Report problems with machine safeguards to your supervisor immediately.
  10. Never leave machines unattended with parts still moving. Remember that parts may still be moving after the machine has been turned off.
  11. Lubricate machine parts wherever possible without removing the safeguard.
  12. Remove machine safeguards only after equipment lock-out/tag-out.
  13. Avoid creating safety hazards, e.g. new pinch points, or letting objects fall into a machine’s moving parts.
  14. Always wear the proper protective clothing (PPE), and don’t let jewellery, loose clothing or long hair dangle anywhere near machines.
  15. Never walk away from a machine until all its parts have stopped moving.
  16. Always refer any questions or concerns about machine safety or working with safeguards to your supervisor.
  17. Do not put machines where customers or visitors may be exposed to risk. 
  18. Make sure you identify and manage risks from electrical, hydraulic or pneumatic power supplies. 
  19. Make sure the machine is safe for any work that has to be done when setting up, during normal use, when clearing blockages, when carrying out repairs for breakdowns, and during planned maintenance
  20. Make sure the machine is properly switched off, isolated or locked off before taking any action to remove blockages, clean or make adjustments. 

Other Precautions

  • Supervisors must also be properly trained and competent to be effective. They may need extra specific training and there are recognised courses for supervisors.
  • Ensure the work area around the machine is kept clean and tidy, free from obstructions or slips and trips hazards, and well lit.
  • Don’t distract people who are using machines.
  • If machines are controlled by programmable electronic systems, changes to any programmes should be carried out by a competent person (someone who has the necessary skills, knowledge and experience to carry out the work safely). Keep a record of such changes and check they have been made properly.
  • Ensure control switches are clearly marked to show what they do.
  • Have emergency stop controls where necessary, for example mushroom-head push buttons, within easy reach.
  • Make sure operating controls are designed and placed to avoid accidental operation and injury, for example by using two-hand controls where necessary and shrouding start buttons and pedals.
  • Do not let unauthorised, unqualified or untrained people use machinery – never allow children to operate or help at machines. Some vulnerable workers, such as new starters, young people or those with disabilities, may be particularly at risk and need instruction, training and supervision.
  • Adequate training should ensure that those who use the machine are competent to use it safely. This includes ensuring they have the correct skills, knowledge and experience. Sometimes formal qualifications are needed, for example for chainsaw operators.