Christmas break ideal time for employers to check machinery is adequately guarded
19 December 2011
With the large–scale shut down of many businesses during the Christmas break the Department of Labour, as part of its Safe Use of Machinery Project, is urging businesses to take a fresh look at their machinery to ensure it is guarded appropriately.
John Howard, the Department’s Northern General Manager, says that there are still too many accidents occurring in New Zealand workplaces each year which involve machines that are either unguarded or inadequately guarded and which are therefore completely preventable.
“Quite simply, preventable workplace injuries are unacceptable and everyone has a responsibility to improve workplace health and safety,” Mr Howard says.
“Our inspectors regularly investigate cases where workers have lost fingers or limbs – and suffered significant serious injuries – all because guarding was not in place.
“We are committed to bringing this work toll down. Our Safe Use Of Machinery Project is a three year national initiative that focuses on lifting the standard of machine guarding in New Zealand.
“Since the project began the Department has visited 1700 workplaces across the country to talk to them about their responsibilities as an employer under the Health and Safety in Employment Act and emphasise the importance of properly guarded machines.”
As well as this, to assist businesses to ensure machinery is adequately guarded, the Department has recently made available updated general advice factsheets for common mechanical hazards across all machinery. This includes the common machinery types which are causing death and serious harm and for which there are well-known and established standards for guarding.