Great care should be taken when using any machinery to avoid both personal injury and damage to equipment. School codes of workshop practice, establishing who may use any particular equipment, the times of such use and the conditions governing such use, must be strictly observed.
Only trained and authorised persons should be allowed to use hazardous work equipment and adequate arrangements should be made to prevent their use by unauthorised persons.
The key legislation covering work equipment is The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998. The definition of work equipment is any machinery appliance, apparatus or tool, or any assembly of components which in order to achieve a common end are arranged and controlled so that they function as a whole. This definition is very wide and examples would include power press, guillotine, air compressor, lifting sling, microbiological safety cabinet, portable drill and overhead projector.
The regulations cover two aspects of safety in relation to work equipment:
Suppliers of work equipment have a duty to design work equipment in line with these regulations and Schools should be aware of the requirements when introducing new work equipment.
Separate information and guidance exists for the following types of equipment:
Hazardous machinery must always be guarded. The British Standards Institute has published a document, PD5304:2000, “Safe Use of Machinery” which gives practical guidance on complying with the relevant BSEN Standards (which are also listed). This document can be accessed through the Safety Office website.
Do not use machinery without the appropriate guards and be sure that guards are replaced after a machine has been re- set. Guard interlocking devices must never be defeated. Report any defects in guards or interlocks immediately.
Suitable guards should be provided for destructive testing machines to prevent injury from any flying particles.
Loose clothing must not be worn near moving machinery. Particular attention should be paid to ties and other forms of neckwear. Long hair must be protected from contact with machinery by wearing suitable headgear.Rings should not be worn when using machinery.
Suitable footwear must be worn in workshops and laboratories.
Goggles must be worn when using grinding wheels or any other process where there are flying particles.
The use of dust masks is recommended where there may be the potential for prolonged exposure to dust or particles, that is if suitable local exhaust ventilation is not in place.
The risk assessment for the safe use of the particular type of work equipment should clearly state the personal protective requirements.
The Supply of Machinery (Safety) Regulations 1992 are one example of product safety regulations. These regulations give essential health and safety requirements which equipment should be designed in accordance with, prior to supply in EC countries. The CE mark should indicate that relevant product safety regulations have been complied with.
Certain types of equipment can contain a radioactive source even though the equipment might not be considered as being used for radioactive purposes. An example is the use of a small source as part of a monitor or detector (e.g. electron capture detectors used with some gas chromatographs and some types of static eliminators). The information provided by the manufacturer or supplier should indicate if a radioactive source is present. The Safety Office must be notified in advance of the equipment coming onto site as these sources are strictly regulated.
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