Safety Spotlight – Abrasive Wheels & Lock Out, Tag Out

For the month of October, we are putting in the spotlight two key areas relating to our Hazard of the Month, Machinery Failure.

Abrasive Wheels

Sparks flying from a saw.Accident statistics indicate that nearly half of all accidents involving abrasive wheels occur because of an unsafe system of work or operator error. Therefore, it is crucial that the user is competent in using this piece of equipment in order to avoid injury.

Abrasive wheels are wheels consisting of abrasive particles. They can be used for a wide variety of tasks, such as shaping, cutting, grinding, sanding and cleaning, and are used in many industries. However, abrasive wheels are potentially dangerous tools if used without adequate training and proper practices and control measures in place, causing serious injuries and ill-health.

In terms of legal requirements, PUWER 98 (The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998) requires, among other things, that all machinery is suitable for its intended use and is properly maintained. All employees, including those using, mounting and managing the operation of abrasive wheels, should be fully informed and properly trained in their safe use.

Therefore, it is key for both preventing accidents and ensuring legal compliance that operatives are properly trained in the use of this specialist equipment if they use it.

If you need to provide this training to your workforce, our RoSPA Accredited Abrasive Wheels online training course is a great introduction to abrasive wheels prior to starting practical training!

Learn more about the course HERE.

Lock Out, Tag Out

Cogs in black and white.Work procedures are formed and adhered to, to keep people safe at work. However, many accidents occur during non-routine operations such as when equipment is being maintained, cleaned, fixed or unblocked. To prevent accidents, equipment should be made safe before such work takes place, and correct procedures followed to reinstate the equipment. Lock out, tag out (LOTO) is an isolation process and one part of the effort for making equipment safe.

The LOTO isolation procedure generally includes the following tasks:

  1. Announce shut off
  2. Identify the energy source(s)
  3. Isolate the energy source(s)
  4. Lock and tag the energy source(s)
  5. Prove that the equipment isolation is effective

Accidents that occur when unsafe repairs or adjustments are being made to machinery can have serious consequences. Just last month it was reported that a company was fined £140,000 and ordered to pay costs of £2,591.30 after an employee attempted to clear a block on a moving conveyor, severing their right arm below the elbow. Speaking after the hearing HSE inspector Lindsay Bentley said: “This incident could so easily have been avoided through the implementation of a safe system of work involving effective plant isolation and adherence to safe working practices.”

As highlighted by the HSE, it is very valuable to have a procedure such as Lock Out, Tag Out in place to ensure safe isolation of machinery and equipment is covered, in order to help prevent these types of accidents.

If you have employees or contractors involved with operating or maintaining machinery or plant, our Lock Out, Tag Out online training course is ideal as part of an induction process or as refresher training!

Learn more about the course HERE.

If these topics and their relevant courses are of interest, for this month only you can get a 10% DISCOUNT with the code ‘machine20’! But be quick, as it will expire at the end of this month!