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Occupational health and safety news and guidance

Using work equipment safely

05-10-2011

Following the prosecution of a farmer where a worker's fingers were severed, it's worth pointing out that the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) provides valuable advice on what you can do to eliminate or reduce the risks from work equipment.

The HSE's free-to-download guidance Using work equipment safely points out that 'work equipment’ is almost any equipment used by a worker at work including:

  • machines such as circular saws, drilling machines, photocopiers, mowing machines, tractors, dumper trucks and power presses;
  • hand tools such as screwdrivers, knives, hand saws and meat cleavers;
  • lifting equipment such as lift trucks, elevating work platforms, vehicle hoists,
  • lifting slings and bath lifts;
  • other equipment such as ladders and water pressure cleaners.

You need to:

  • look at all the equipment in use, decide what can cause risks, and how;
  • consider what can be done to prevent or reduce these risks;
  • check whether any of these measures are in place already decide whether more needs to be done;
  • then do it!

The guidance goes on to explain how to:

  • Identify the risks;
  • Use the right equipment for the job;
  • Make sure machinery is safe;
  • Guard dangerous parts of machines;
  • Select the right controls;
  • And lots more.

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