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                        4 min read

                        8 tips for implementing machinery safety systems

                        8 tips for implementing machinery safety systems

                        Ensuring your fleet of machinery is compliant with legislation and managing the risks of machinery hazards can aid in keeping your people and business safe. However, this can be a challenging undertaking if you don’t have a formalised risk management approach. That’s where the machinery safety system comes in. In this article, we’ll guide you through the 8 steps you need to take to implement an effective machinery safety system.

                        What is a machinery safety system?

                        A machinery safety system encompasses a combination of measures designed to improve the safety of machinery, and reduce the likelihood of potential incidents. Machinery safety systems are critical in the protection of people from incidents that may occur during the use of machinery.


                        Tip 1: understand why you need a machinery safety system

                        Knowing the reason behind the need for a machinery safety system is key to understanding what needs to take place to reduce machinery risks. There are five key reasons for needing a machinery safety system:

                        1. Keeping people safe.
                        2. Complying with legal obligations.
                        3. Improving operational productivity.
                        4. Safeguarding the business from the risk of legal and financial liabilities.
                        5. To keep records in a centralised and accessible location creating an auditable data trail.


                        Tip 2: know the features of a good machinery safety system

                        Once you know the reasons why you need a machinery safety system, it’s critical to understand the key components that are required to reduce machinery risks. There are 8 key features of a good machinery safety system:

                        1. Machinery risk assessments to inspect machines for hazards.
                        2. Service and maintenance management to ensure machines are regularly maintained.
                        3. Subcontractor machinery management to ensure machines that come on to your site are safe and compliant.
                        4. Document management and audit trails to maintain records and safety information in an orderly fashion.
                        5. Risk management and corrective actions to ensure machinery hazards are adequately mitigated.
                        6. A scheduling dashboard and notifications to ensure regular inspections and maintenance are completed on time.
                        7. Digital document libraries and QR codes to maintain machinery and safety information in a secure location with easy access for operators.
                        8. Machinery pre starts for daily inspections to identify faults.


                        Tip 3: identify the size of the problem and stakeholders

                        The next step in implementing an effective machinery safety system is gaining an understanding of what elements of your current processes need fixing and who will be taking charge of these changes. Consider the extent of the risks posed by machinery by asking:

                        • How big is my fleet?
                        • How complex is my fleet?
                        • What resources, and how many, do I need to mitigate risks?

                        Identify the key stakeholders who will be involved by asking the following questions:

                        • Who is the sponsor of the project?
                        • Who is accountable?
                        • Who is responsible for completing risk assessments and implementing corrective actions?
                        • Who will complete the administrative work?
                        • Who will develop a plan for risk assessment of the fleet?


                        Tip 4: understand why you need a machinery safety system

                        It’s important to consider a number of factors about your fleet prior to completing risk assessments to ensure the highest risk machines are prioritised. Consider:

                        • The different types and complexity of machinery in your fleet.
                        • The purpose for your machinery.
                        • The age of the machinery.
                        • The location of the machinery is used.
                        • The different people who use the machine and their competencies.
                        • The machine’s incident history.

                        Understanding the complexities and unique factors of each machine will allow you to prioritise those that require risk assessments promptly.


                        Tip 5: complete pre starts and scheduled maintenance

                        Completing pre starts is an important component of the machinery safety system. Pre starts provide an opportunity to inspect the machine for faults on a more regular basis than a risk assessment allows for. This will help to ensure the safety and condition of the machine between risk assessments.

                        Equally important is scheduling regular maintenance for your fleet of machinery. When a machine is well maintained, it can be kept in proper working order, perform to peak capacity, minimise downtime, and most importantly, remain safe to operate.


                        Tip 6: share machinery safety system information

                        Sharing safety information with key workers within your business is critical to ensuring their safety and the ongoing safety of machinery in your fleet. Information that should be readily accessible to these workers includes:

                        • Risk assessment results and history.
                        • Pre start results and history.
                        • Safe operating procedures (SOPs).
                        • Original equipment manufacturer (OEM) operating manual.

                        To ensure these documents are accessible to workers, store them digitally in the cloud, which aids with secure storage and ease of access by workers on their devices anytime anywhere, improving your workplace’s culture of safety.


                        Tip 7: manage subcontractor machinery compliance

                        Managing the safety of machinery belonging to the subcontractors on your project can be overlooked. It’s important to remember that according to legislation, a person conducting business or undertaking (PCBU) must ensure a safe system of work is in place. This includes ensuring subcontractor machinery is safe. The prequalification process can help you be certain only safe machinery is in use on your project. This process involves checking the safety records of subcontractors and their machinery to ensure:

                        • The machine has been risk assessed.
                        • The machine has had hazard controls implemented.
                        • SOPs are readily available.
                        • The subcontractor is qualified and can competently operate the machine.


                        Tip 8: monitor, review, reinspect

                        Monitoring, reviewing and reinspecting your machines is the final piece to the machinery safety system puzzle. This tip encompasses three main components.

                        • Monitoring: ongoing monitoring of machinery in your fleet is critical to ensure any new hazards that appear following a risk assessment are identified and rectified properly.
                        • Reviewing: it’s important to stay up to date with your legislative requirements to ensure your machines remain compliant with the law. 
                        • Reinspecting: reinspect machinery on a regular basis or when your obligations change. Schedule future inspections to ensure they are completed on time.


                        Want to know more about implementing effective machinery safety system?

                        The team at Ideagen Plant Assessor is filled with experts ready to help you ensure there are no gaps in your machinery safety system. Simply contact us on 1300 728 852 or email for assistance.

                        If you’d like to learn more about machinery safety systems, check out our on demand webinar, 8 tips for implementing machinery safety systems: protecting your people and business

                        You can also download our free guide, Filling the gaps in your machinery safety systems



                        Disclaimer: This information is intended to provide general information on the subject matter. This is not intended as legal or expert advice for your specific situation. You should seek professional advice before acting or relying on the content of this information.

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                        About the Author

                        Matthew Turner is Managing Director of Ideagen Plant Assessor. Matt has been a part of Ideagen Plant Assessor since 2008, having gained a deep understanding of workplace health and safety management and behavioural safety management through his extensive experience in the industrial, manufacturing and distribution industries. Read More.


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