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Safe operation of fixed plant in packing sheds

Risks and solutions associated with specialised plant in enclosed environments such as farm packing sheds.

Solutions provide practical information on how to solve or improve a common problem in the workplace.

What's the problem?

Workers are exposed to specialised plant often in enclosed environments such as farm packing sheds.

What are the risks?

The main risks of operating fixed plant in packing sheds include:

  • Entanglement of hair, clothing and body parts due to:
    • unguarded chains, sprockets, pulleys and other moving items within the plant
    • lack of guarding on nip points and belt drives.
  • Hearing loss of workers due to noise exposure levels within the shed.
  • Slips trips and falls caused by:
    • produce and rubbish on floors
    • storage containers and pallets not stacked safely or in good order
    • water on floors in worker access areas.
  • Electrocution due to poor electrical connections including:
    • cables near water without water proofing
    • cords located where scrubbing and wear occurs
    • frayed or uninsulated ends of leads attached to sockets
    • no appropriate safety switches attached to main switchboard
    • double adaptors in use for plant.

What's a solution to the problem?

These solutions will assist in minimising the risks from fixed plant within the packing shed environment:

  • Ensure guards are over entrapment points and are fixed appropriately and in sound condition.
  • Minimise noise generation from machinery by:
    • providing attenuation guards
    • greasing and oiling moving parts
    • repositioning machinery
    • dampening vibration.
  • Electrical:
    • clearly mark circuits in switch boxes
    • fit and test safety switches (type 1 or 2 residual current devices) to power circuits
    • suspend leads overhead rather than on floors
    • ensure full isolating switches for all motors are in place and near to workers
    • ensure all circuits are intact.
  • Train the workers in safe work procedures such as:
    • machine lockout for clearing blockages, maintenance and cleaning, and emergency procedures
    • good housekeeping
    • start-up, operation and shut down of machinery
    • operation of forklifts
    • avoiding manual task injury
    • being appropriately dressed.