Presence sensing systems. If physical guards cannot be used, then a presence sensing system can be used as a control to reduce risk. Presence sensing systems can be used where people enter areas shared by moving production equipment. Presence sensing systems are capable of providing a high degree of flexibility with regard to access.
When thinking about safe access to machinery and equipment, consider the following: • who will be working on or around the machinery and equipment • people who are required to work in enclosed areas where the atmosphere could be harmful, such as pits, tanks or storage vessels • what equipment or materials need to be carried to undertake the task • where and when is access required for operation, maintenance and cleaning • how will people gain safe access (walkway, gantry, elevated work platform or ladder) • what work will be carried out during access • will people be near or exposed to an unidentified mechanical or non-mechanical hazard at the time of access • has consultation occurred with workers or contractors regarding how they intend to gain access, and what equipment and work platform or structure is best suited for the intended task.
People providing cleaning services could: • work alone • access machinery and equipment from the rear or sides, or in unexpected ways • climb on machinery and equipment • enter confined spaces, or larger machinery and equipment • become trapped by the mechanism of the machinery and equipment through poor isolation of energy sources or stored energy, such as spring-loaded or counter-balance mechanisms, compressed air or fluids, or parts held in position by hydraulics or pneumatic (air) rams • work with chemicals • operate electrical equipment in wet areas.
Lower order machinery and equipment risk controls, such as personal protective equipment (PPE), can prevent injuries, but are generally not as effective as higher order controls, as they rely more on worker behaviour, maintenance programs and supervision.