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Further Information for Managers

Ironer Safety Further Information for Managers We clearly have some potentially very dangerous pieces of equipment in our plants. Some of these with some Aussie ingenuity are running after many years and have been modified from the original manufacturer specifications and so not have safety features on newer models.

With this article I hope you can look at your existing equipment with a fresh pair of eyes and look for ways of improving safety and procedures; indeed this act may ensure the very survival of your business.

Walk around the machine are all guards in place? Are there any exposed moving parts/ belts/ cogs etc can they be covered up or barriered off. Are any steam pipes exposed which could be lagged and marked?

Does the safety bar and stop buttons work and more importantly do your operators regularly test them at least weekly if not daily? This will cover two things one that they are they regularly checked and two the operators of the machine actually know how to stop the machine in an emergency.

Are all new staff trained and sign off on training before using all pieces of equipment?

Look at the front of the ironer this is the most dangerous part. Are any feeder belts missing or shafts exposed. Do you have emergency belts pre made up to replace as soon as possible. Is your staff aware of these risks and do they inform you or your engineer that a belt is missing and needs immediate replacement. Do you allow them to feed in front of a missing belt?

What is your policy on loose clothing, jewellery or long hair which could potentially be caught up in the front?

What is your policy for unjamming folders are staff putting their hands where there are moving belts?

Are Ironers , feeders and folders regularly delinted with an air gun Not only are you reducing a fire risk you will find the sensors work better on the feeders and folders.

Do you Ironers have covers? If not are staff unjamming items from between the rolls while they are running!

Do any of you staff or yourselves get up on the side of the ironer is it clear of coffee cups and whatever else has been placed on there.

The flue is a potential fire hazard. Is the flue clear of linen leaning against it? Is the flue checked periodically to ensure it is not blocked?

Do you have an accessible fire extinguisher? Is it the right kind? And are your staff aware how to use it? Dry Powder extinguishers on ironers should be avoided if possible CO2 is best. The Dry Powder will leave a film on the ironer bed which is very difficult to remove and may make your ironer unusable for some time.

Do you have a gas ironer? It must have adequate ventilation otherwise the room could be staved of air. The fresh air supply area should be five times that of the evacuation surface.

Have you asked the staff for input re hazard recognition and reduction you may wish to discuss the following?

Placing body part in guarded areas

Congestion of trolleys

Incorrect manual handling

Tangled wet linen

Exposed stacker / feeder belts

Automatic moving parts

Trolley traffic in the walkways

Sharps & foreign items

Damaged trolleys

Hot objects

Long hair not in an appropriate restraint

Loose clothing & loose jewellery

Closed in flat footwear

Gloves are optional, however recommended when packing hot linen or waxing

Protective clothing (hairnets)

Occupational health, safety and welfare *

As an employer you have a duty of care to provide your workforce with a safe working environment.

The duty of care basically means that your business has recognised and anticipated possible causes of injury and illness and can demonstrate that reasonable precautions are in place to remove or minimise the possible causes of harm. Employers are responsible for providing:

a safe working environment

safe systems of work

plant and substances in a safe condition

adequate facilities

adequate OHS&W information, instruction and training

adequate human and financial resources to implement OHS&W strategies

safe and timely return to work programs for all injured workers.

Your Staff also have a legal personal responsibility to themselves and each other Under section 21 of the OHSW Act employees have a responsibility to:

Not put themselves or others at risk of being injured or made ill

Use equipment provided to protect their health, safety and welfare at work

Follow reasonable instructions given to protect their health safety and welfare

Ensure they do not through the consumption of drugs or alcohol endanger themselves or anyone else

*Source Workcover Corporation Clearly every plant is different and there is no one solution fits all approach however I hope this article may make you reevaluate what you are doing.