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News

New Guidance to tackle accidents at power presses

HSE InfoLine : 04 May, 2006  (New Product)
The Health and Safety Executive has today published new guidance aimed at tackling one of the main causes of accidents at power presses. Accident data shows that poor maintenance was at the root of about 40% of incidents involving mechanical presses.
The Health and Safety Executive has today published new guidance aimed at tackling one of the main causes of accidents at power presses. Accident data shows that poor maintenance was at the root of about 40% of incidents involving mechanical presses.

Power presses have always been considered to be high-risk machines and it is essential that they are properly inspected, tested and maintained to keep operators safe from serious injury. It is a statutory requirement that power presses are examined and tested by a 'competent person', before they are put into use for the first time and then every six or twelve months depending on the types of guard fitted. Machine users also have a legal duty to carry out an inspection and test of the safety devices every day the press is used to ensure that the machine is safe to use.

James Barrett, head of the HSE's manufacturing sector said:

'I am particularly pleased that we have been able to engage stakeholders in the preparation of this guidance and work with our partners in industry. Proactive maintenance is one of the main messages in the publication and we believe that, as well as health and safety benefits, adopting the guidance also makes good sense commercially.'

Richard Morgan, technical director of the Safety Assessment Federation commented:

'SAFed is always willing to support initiatives that have the potential for raising levels of safety in the workplace. We believe that the new guidance has such a potential and therefore we give it our full support.'

Tim Albutt, chairman of the Metalforming Machinery Manufacturers Association welcomed the new guidance:

'We were pleased to work alongside the HSE and offer views and comments from our members. We welcome the new guidance that we hope will reduce the number of maintenance related accidents on power presses.'

Nick Bartmanis from the Engineering Employers Federation added:

'This practical guidance clarifies what needs to be done in terms of maintenance. Press shop managers and supervisors should find it very helpful in deciding what they need to do.'

Power presses: maintenance and thorough examination, (HSG 236), is the result of work done by HSE's Manufacturing Sector and organisations representing press users, inspection bodies who perform statutory examinations and those who supply and maintain presses. Two other free leaflets, which are also published today, supplement the new guidance. Power presses: A summary of guidance on maintenance and thorough examination (INDG375) introduces HSG236 and describes some additional items that will now be included within the scope of a statutory examination. Procedures for daily inspection and testing of mechanical power presses and press brakes (INDG 316) gives detailed guidance to 'appointed persons' who carry out the daily checks on guards and other safety devices.

'Power presses: maintenance and thorough examination', updates and replaces some previous guidance on the thorough examination of power presses (PM 79) and gives practical advice on what, when and how to maintain presses. It also includes information on the selection of contractors and the sort of records that should be kept. Some examples of maintenance records are provided as well as checklists and other information on what items need to be maintained, inspected and when.

The new guidance now includes specific reference to the safety-related aspects of the power press electrical control circuits including the need for up to date circuit diagrams. This will require particular checks to be performed at the 'initial' thorough examination of a press and may also require additional testing to be performed at the 'periodic' examination and test. Further details are given in INDG 375.
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