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Would You Let Your Child Operate Dangerous Machinery?

Health and Safety professionals learn that the three main reasons for managing health and safety in the workplace are – (1) Legal, (2) Economic and (3) Moral. This article discusses important moral questions that business owners should ask themselves if they have machinery with dangerous moving parts...

The risk assessment process should include the operation of machinery within a business. When a group is carrying out risk assessments in the workplace, one fundamental question to ponder when considering the standard operating procedure for machinery with dangerous moving parts is, “if my son/daughter (or nephew/niece) was old enough to be working here, would I be happy for them to be working with this piece of machinery after they have completed the existing company training procedure?”. If the answer is ‘no’, then business owners have to ask themselves why they let existing employees work on that piece of machinery, when they can clearly see the dangers but do nothing about it.

In addition, business owners should consider these other questions... Are you aware of an existing dangerous work task on a piece of machinery that requires safety work to be undertaken (e.g. provision of a fixed guard over a dangerous moving part), however this action has not been addressed? Do you personally get involved in the risk assessment process and ensure that your management has completed actions by random checks yourself? Are you confident that your staff responsible for the management of health and safety are competent to complete the necessary actions or do your staff ‘surface skim’ a task and talk their way out of things afterwards?

Health and Safety Executive accident press releases for Scotland highlight accidents can be prevented.

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