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There are many things in the workplace that can cause harm, such as machinery. Machinery may be anything from a large production line to a small power tool. It is important that you are trained in the machine that you are using and that you ensure that you use all recommended personal protective equipment at all times, read and understand warning signs and you ensure you always work safely.
Machinery can cause harm in many different ways such as:
Entanglement – You could get hair, clothes or loose jewellery caught in a machine. Wearing overalls, hats, gloves and other PPE will help to reduce entanglement but it only works if you use it.
Striking – A piece of equipment may break off and impact you causing harm. This can be reduced with the use of guards and good maintenance. PPE will protect you but it should not be used as the only form of protection.
Amputation – You may get your fingers caught in the machine, this could cause amputation or serious injury. Using guards and working safely will protect you and PPE will also help to protect you.
Burns – You could come in to contact with something that’s hot such as electric motor, resulting in a burns injury. You can also get burns from electric shocks.
Vibrations – Can cause long or short-term exposure, this can affect all or just part of your body. Exposure to vibration either by time or intensity needs to be reduced. Around 5 million workers in the UK are at risk of problems relating to vibration, this can lead to conditions such as carpal tunnel syndrome and vibration white finger.
Exposure to noise can damage hearing, if you’re in a workplace with excessive amounts of noise or in areas of continual exposure to small amounts of noise then you need to use the correct ear protectors. Ear protectors come in many styles and shapes such as full headphone style protectors or earplugs.
A good way of reducing risk is to obtain the correct training, make sure you are trained in any item of personal protective equipment you need to use in your workplace. If you’re well trained and act responsibly then the risk of accidents can be significantly reduced.