What is a machine risk assessment?

A risk assessment is a systematic evaluation of all the hazards associated with the machine and the risks that those hazards may generate. You would then establish, if the risk is a suitably low considering the controls/safeguards that are in place at present, and what other controls may need to be put in place. Those undertaking the risk assessment would consider the relevant guidance material / resource to determine what safeguards should be in place.

What is the benefit of a machine risk assessment?

Assuming it is a suitable and sufficient risk assessment and any actions are acted upon, the obvious and direct benefit is no accidents and a safer workplace. Indirectly, lower accidents will result in improved morale, safety culture, productivity and research shows improved productivity.

What are the types of organisations that require a machine risk assessment?

Organisations that have any machinery should have a risk assessment related to that machinery. The more hazardous or sizeable the machinery is, the more detailed and complex the risk assessment will need to be.

Generally speaking, those who are undertaking manufacturing operations are going to require documented machine risk assessments but maintenance engineering workshops, harvesting operations, quarrying or mining will also likely require these assessments. And especially if you have machinery that can cause serious harm injuries, such as any temporary (fractures) or permanent loss of bodily function (e.g. amputation).

Safety Engineer Assessing Machine Safety

What are some examples of organisations/situations that would require a machine risk assessment but may not realise this is necessary?

The most common example, is for organisations that procure new machinery. They often assume the supplier has completed the risk assessment and it will be included with all of the documentation that comes with the machinery. Often a risk assessment is not supplied, and even if it is – it is unlikely consider all of the hazards and risk factors that will be present in your workplace.

When companies procure equipment they should be carrying out their own machine and risk assessment considering its use in your environment with your operators, with your processes, so that it’s a risk assessment that is suited to it’s purpose and use in your workplace.

What are other instances of when a machine risk assessment should take place?

There are multiple trigger points when a machine risk assessment should either be completed or reviewed (if it already exists), including:

  • A change in legislation
  • Significant changes of the task or process
  • Modifications to the plant
  • New guidance material or standards
  • Any accidents, near misses raised by operators

How often should a machine risk assessment take place?

Regardless of whether the above mentioned triggers have been met or not, risk assessments should be considered a living document and they should be reviewed on a periodic basis. A risk assessment review period will be determined by the level of residual risk on any machine. So a high risk machine should be reviewed more often than a low risk machine.

Low-risk machinery may require reviews only be done occasionally but historical guidance from the HSE in the UK used to indicate that period should not go beyond every five years.

High-risk machinery on the other hand may be reviewed annually if not more. Each organisation should consider their own risk management policies to determine the appropriate interval for them and their operations.

Who should perform a machine risk assessment and why?

A risk assessment should be a team-based exercise. Those who should be involved should be representative of those that may use the machinery cleaners, maintainers, operators, Health and Safety representatives and professionals. The key thing you need to have in place is adequate competency skills and experience and that can be achieved collectively through all of the team members associated with that machine.

There may be a need to have specialists (machine safety personnel), whether they be external or internal to your organisation supporting that risk assessment to ensure it is a robust, suitable and sufficient process.

How does MinRisk support the production of risk assessments?

MinRisk is the first of its kind in the Australasian market, supporting Health and Safety teams in the manufacturing sectors to automate their machine safety assessments with fewer errors, faster. The software removes the need to rely on Excel spreadsheets for managing risk registers and maintenance logs or large Word documents that have no data or management information value.

MinRisk allows multiple users to access assessments in real-time, from anywhere, drastically improving efficiencies.

Are you interesting in learning more MinRisk? Book a demo today with our team who will get you set up with a FREE 30 day trial.

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