NSW has issued an alert to remind workers of the potential dangers when using
has in recent weeks been advised of several incidents where workers have been
seriously injured as a result of entanglement in rotating machinery. Such
incidents include the following:
worker received serious hand injuries using a bench drill when a glove became
entangled on the spindle.
worker using a lathe had three fingers amputated when a glove became entangled
on an item he was polishing.
worker’s arm was amputated below the elbow after a sleeve became entangled on
the spindle of a paint stirring machine.
worker sustained critical head injuries from being pulled into a lathe after a
sleeve became entangled on an item he was polishing.
worker received serious injuries to the arm and shoulder after his shirt became
entangled on a spinning power take off.
worker received serious leg injuries after his jeans became entangled on a
of the incidents described above are the result of a workers’ clothing becoming
caught on a rotating component. However, it is apparent that entanglement
incidents of these types can occur:
of the level of experience of the worker; and
of whether the plant incorporates guarding, if it still allows access to the
rotating machinery or work piece.
conducting a business or undertaking (PCBU) that uses plant must ensure that
any risks to the safety of workers because of the plant are minimised as much
as is reasonably practicable.
assessing risks associated with rotating machinery, you should first establish
whether the plant is appropriate for the task, and assess whether the task or
the plant could be replaced with a lower risk solution. Consider whether the
power or momentum of the working plant results in a risk of entanglement, and
whether alternate methods can be used that do not place workers within reach of
must also develop safe work methods in consultation with workers, and provide
workers with the necessary information, training and supervision required for
them to follow the developed safe work methods.
is a potential hazard of most rotating machinery, and so safe work procedures
should include measures to minimise the risk of injury to workers who operate
or work nearby such machinery.
minimising the risk, consider the following:
the rotating components on an item of plant, and assess whether these
components present a risk of entanglement.
a risk of entanglement exists, minimise the risk as far as is reasonably
whether the plant can be eliminated – eg by automating a manufacturing process
by using CNC milling.
whether the plant can be substituted – eg by polishing manufactured items with
a linisher or at a workbench, rather than using emery cloth with a lathe.
whether machine guarding or exclusion zones can be used to provide a barrier
between the worker and the rotating components. Note that where guarding is
used, it should not introduce new hazards such as pinch points, sharp corners
some operations, it may be unavoidable that a worker will have some exposure to
rotating components – eg manual machining on a lathe. In such cases, ensure
that these workers have received the appropriate training and that they’re
using the plant correctly and for the purpose for which it is designed. Only
authorised workers should perform these operations, and systems of work should
be put in place to prevent unauthorised access.
that all safety devices, such as tool mounts and rests and guarding that
separates the operator from the rotating item, are being used. Safety devices
should be tamper proof.
aware that rotating components can still be a hazard to workers who aren’t
directly operating the plant. Any exposed rotating component is a potential
source for entanglement. Assess the need to use emery cloth on items rotated by
a lathe. It may be possible to achieve the desired finish using other means.
Where emery cloth is needed, consider using a backing board or mounting the
cloth on a purpose designed tool to minimise the likelihood of the cloth
wrapping around the item.
protective equipment (PPE), such as gloves and sleeves, may be a way of
reducing the risk from certain hazards in a workplace, such as contact with
sharp edges, hot surfaces or limiting exposure to dangerous chemicals or
atmospheres. Be aware, however, that PPE can also increase risks in some
operations, in particular the risk of entanglement with rotating components.
PPE is used at a workplace, it should be appropriate for all tasks that are
being performed. Where different tasks require different PPE, the safe work
procedures should specify this, and there should be measures in place to reduce
the risk of workers accidentally using incorrect PPE.
operating rotating machinery, sleeves should be tight fitting and long hair
should be tied back. Jewellery and other loose articles, which may also be a
source of entanglement, should be removed.
a general principle, wearing gloves when operating rotating machinery should
not be allowed. If the nature of the work means wearing gloves is unavoidable
(ie due to associated risks that cannot be controlled by other means), the
gloves should be form fitting and selected to reduce the risk of entanglement
so far as is reasonably practicable. ‘Riggers’ style gloves are not