Machine Safety procedure! – If one is performing a duty on any machinery, alertness and following safety procedure is essential. Machines are meant to ease the work burden in a workplace but they can be equally dangerous. One employee must be full of regrets that would linger in his memory for the rest of his life because of a mistake that cost him dearly.

Today's blog will focus on the importance of being alert when working on machinery and the importance of following procedure to maintain safety of one-self.

An incident recently happened in a printing and paper industry. One of their heavy duty machines had broken down and an employee was asked to take a look at it. The employee went on to conduct the maintenance work on the machinery without assessing the situation or preparing himself and unfortunately his hand got stuck on the big machine. He could not remove the hand until help arrived from health care. The effect of the incident led to the employee losing both his fingers to amputation as it happened to be the only solution for his recovery. He lost his ring and small finger.

156 days of productivity were lost due to the incident and TTD costs accumulated to R43,766.97. The medical costs to cover the whole accident came to a total cost of R179,715.02.

An internal investigation established that the employee had not followed standard procedure that had to be followed with regards to conducting work. The employee did not wear gloves or any protective wear to protect his hands from any harmful parts of the printing machine. If protective wear was available, the impact of the incident could have been reduced significantly or totally avoided.

Further findings indicated that the employees did not make use of the E-Tog button on the machine. The E-Tog button is to stop machine from operating when not in use. If the employee had made use of this button, he could have avoided the incident or reduced the fatality. Companies always request employees to make use of the button.

The claim of the incident is in the process of being finalised by the Workmans Compensation Authority(WCA). The WCA requested for a final medical report with the loss of use stated in degrees. The report was obtained and submitted to them too.

Some incidents in a workplace can be avoided or the impact of the accident could be reduced. This takes a collective effort of both employees and employers working together. Employers should be educated on the importance of following procedures in safe-guarding their lives on duty. Employees should be educated about the need to make use of protective equipment provided to them and to vitalise it. Employers should in turn, ensure that no employee conducts any duties without wearing the necessary wear. It is advisable that a supervisor is present when employees conduct duties to ensure that they do their work correctly.

Machinery comes with instructions. It would be ideal that employees are constantly reminded on the instructions of handling the machinery and a placard could be placed next to machinery with the instructions on it.

Posted date: 8th Dec 2014
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