While many organisations do address machine safety very well, others have a lower level of machine safety compliance - or in some instances, none at all, according to an expert in the area.
"Whether this is due to a lack of understanding, or knowledge of the requirements, or deliberate avoidance, is not clear, but the facts show that machine safety does not generally achieve the required levels of compliance within," said Ken Robertson, business development manager with international machine safety systems firm Jokab Safety, ABB Australia.
It is difficult to explain why compliance levels are not as good as they ought to be for machinery, said Robertson, who said he had personally seen a number of contributing factors over the years.
"These include a lack of knowledge, or understanding, of the requirements for machine safety in Australia, often coupled with assumptions based upon common industry myths such as ‘recently installed machinery already complies and doesn't need to be checked' or ‘old machinery which hasn't been moved, or modified, doesn't need to be considered,'" he said.
"These assumptions may indeed be correct, if a proper risk assessment has previously been carried out to ensure that the machinery safety is compliant, but all too often the risk assessment is not carried out, so there is no validation process to verify that machinery has been made safe according to the appropriate standards."
Speaking at the recent Queensland Safety Conference, Robertson said there are organisations which do try to implement some form of machine safety, but rely upon an electrician or maintenance fitter who has not had any relevant training to install safety measures.
"These safety systems typically show a level of good intention but often fail to comply with current Australian Standards' requirements, simply because there was insufficient knowledge of the requirements to be met," he said.
"Sometimes there is simply a fear of the consequences of ‘getting it wrong', so instead nothing is done."