Missing guard leads to serious conveyor injury

04 April 2023

SafeWork SA is reminding businesses to ensure adequate guarding is fitted to plant following an incident where a worker became trapped in a moving conveyor.

The worker at a manufacturing business sustained fractures and serious skin trauma on 2 March when his hand was caught in a pinch point of a conveyor drum. The conveyor belt had to be cut to free the injured man.

Two SafeWork SA inspectors attended the site and inquiries are continuing.

Under the Work Health and Safety Act 2012, businesses have a duty to ensure that plant is without risks to the health and safety of any person. In meeting this duty, guarding may be used as a risk control measure.

A guard is any shield, cover, casing or physical barrier which, by reason of its form or its location, is intended to prevent contact between that machine part and a person, or part of that person’s clothing.

The unguarded conveyor drum where a worker was injured.

Guarding aims to increase the personal safety of operators and others involved in the normal operation, servicing and maintenance of machines. When using these machines, an operator may reach over, under, around or through the machine.

SafeWork SA Acting Executive Director Glenn Farrell said guards, when properly fitted and maintained, provide a physical barrier that is highly effective at preventing injury or death.

‘Moving parts in plant can present significant risks in the workplace and machine guarding is an effective and reasonably practicable measure to control those risks,’ he said.

When guarding is used, it must meet stringent criteria as specified by regulation 208 of the Work Health and Safety Regulations 2012.

The Code of Practice for Managing the risk of plant in the workplace contains practical and easy to understand guidance for ensuring that plant is safe. Technical guidance specific to conveyors can also be found in the Australian/New Zealand Standard AS/NZS 4024-2015 (series) Safety of machinery conveyors.

For more information on plant safety please go to https://www.safework.sa.gov.au/workplaces/plant-tools-and-vehicles/plant