Safety alert issued following drill press entanglement fatality

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Tuesday, 17 November, 2020 - 12:45
Policy & legislation

WorkSafe Victoria recently issued a safety alert about the risk of entanglement when using plant, following the death of a sole operator working with a drill press.

The operator of a powered drill press recently died when his clothing became caught up in plant.

In two similar incidents in 2018, a 25-year-old employee sustained fatal injuries when his clothing was caught in a conveyor belt, and a 24-year-old labourer died when his clothes were entangled in a rotating roller.

Employees are at high risk of entanglement when working near powered plant with exposed rotating parts such as drills, power take-offs, lathes, augers and post hole diggers.

Loose clothing, hair, personal protective equipment (eg gloves), jewellery, cleaning brushes, rags, bandages or rough material being fed into an item of plant can become entangled in moving parts of machines, pulling the person into the moving danger points.

This can result in serious injury such as scalping, amputation or de-gloving, or in death.

The recommended a number of ways to control risks:

  • Where possible, substituting the machine with one which has a lower level of risk

  • Ensuring guards are fitted to prevent access to any moving parts and nip points (points where rotating or reciprocating parts move toward each other)
  • Fitting guards that cannot be removed, where reasonably practicable
  • Installing interlocked guards which require a special tool to remove them
  • Providing emergency stop systems to shut down operation of the machine
  • Shutting down the machine and removing keys or using a lock out/tag out system prior to removing guarding to undertake maintenance and/or cleaning. Allow for stored energy and run down time before commencing such work
  • Inspecting guards for damage and repairing and replacing all guards before re-energising and starting up the plant
  • Ensuring employees do not have loose items of clothing, hair, jewellery or other accessories that may get caught
  • Providing employees with adequate training and appropriate supervision prior to and when using the machine
  • providing and maintaining adequate warning signs as a constant reminder to employees of the potential hazards associated with the machine
  • keeping the work area clear of equipment, rubbish and other clutter.