How safe are my machines? Part 1

How safe are my machines part 1

Asset Management Expert Paul Wood delves into safety in relation to plant & equipment and how, by maintaining compliance with the applicable regulations, will form a strong foundation upon which to achieve the zero-harm.

With an ever-increasing focus on health and safety across industries where the phrase ‘zero harm’ is becoming ‘the norm’ in the boardroom and often forms part of an organisation’s key business objectives, it means that ensuring the safety of people and plant is more important than ever.

Whilst people and plant are often considered separately, it’s important to remember that plant can have a major impact on health, something which my colleague Morag McWilliam explores in more detail in her recent post HERE.

Without getting into too much legislation, for most businesses this leads to the minimum requirements set out in the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 (HSAWA) in which Section 2 Clause 2(2a) states the employer’s duty is;

“the provision and maintenance of plant and systems of work that are, so far as is reasonably practicable, safe and without risks to health.”

So, what does this very broad statement mean? Well, under the HSAWA sit a series of more detailed regulations and guidance documents aimed at providing further clarity to enable the employer to comply (note, this may involve exemptions for certain types of equipment e.g., amusement park rides or more industry-specific regulations e.g., nuclear).

A brief synopsis of the most commonly applied regulations is provided in these two-part articles. The first part looks at the regulations applied during Pre-operation. The second part will consider the regulations applicable during operation.


Supply of Machinery (Safety) Regulations 2008

The Supply of Machinery (Safety) Regulations 2008 requires that most new machinery and other products in scope:

  • are designed and constructed to be safe, meeting all of the relevant essential health and safety requirements (EHSRs) listed in the regulations. This will often mean compliance with applicable UK-designated standards.
  • have a technical file compiled, and made available to the authorities when required, showing how the EHSRs are met
  • have appropriate conformity marking, and are correctly labelled with either the UKCA or CE mark (Click links for more information and details of training)
  • are supplied with comprehensive instructions
  • are accompanied by a Declaration of Conformity or, in the case of partly completed machinery, a Declaration of Incorporation

These regulations apply to Responsible Persons (as defined), particularly manufacturers or their authorised representatives, and others such as:

  • importers of non-compliant equipment
  • distributors who market products under their own name
  • those who substantially modify existing machinery, or machinery and other products in scope before they are put into service
  • those who design and construct machinery for their own use

The regulations mentioned in these two parts are a very brief summary of some of the applicable regulations which may apply in your workplace. Look out for part two coming soon which discusses the regulations which are applicable during operation.

For further details on the above or to discuss how Finch can help support your business in ensuring it is safe and compliant, please get in touch with [email protected].

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