If you work with machinery it is crucial to be aware of the risk it poses to you. Your employer should make sure you understand the risks before they let you near the machines, but sometimes workplace safety can be lacking.
Machine accidents can have horrific consequences, such as amputation. So as the person at risk, it pays to look out for yourself too.
Never assume a machine is switched off
Many accidents happen when a machine springs into life while someone is working on it. For instance when cleaning, unblocking, dismantling or repairing. Before you decide to investigate, you need to be certain the machine is off and that no one else can turn it back on while you are in there.
Machines must have suitable safety guards
Think of a mechanical saw. It typically has a guard that prevents you from accidentally moving your hand into the blade’s path. Other machines need similar measures. Employers need to ensure the guards are in place and in working order, as they can get damaged, removed or not put back on properly.
Your employer must provide adequate training
It is not acceptable for an employer to say “You’ve used one of these before haven’t you?” and give you the go-ahead. Any particular machine can have subtle differences from ones that seem identical. It does not take long to explain most machines and we can all forget things, so employers must give everyone adequate training and repeat it where necessary.
Your employer needs to provide adequate safety equipment
When a machine goes wrong, it can send parts and materials flying across a room, injuring anyone in their path. Working with machinery can also lead to more gradual injuries such as hearing loss or eye damage without adequate eye and ear protection.
Suffering a machinery accident at work is bad enough without the stress of medical bills and other lost earnings on top. If you are injured, it is crucial to find out more about your rights to claim workers’ compensation.