Is it safe? HSE will be checking on bridge saw safety in quarries in the new year.
The Health & Safety Executive (HSE) is planning to visit dimensional stone quarries in the new year to check its guidance on guards for bridge saws is being followed.
HSE says working close to moving and rotating machinery, or where parts may be ejected, is inherently unsafe.
Risks include being crushed, cut, entangled or struck and must be managed. HSE inspectors will expect to see risk assessments and will be implementing and enforcing improvements to control measures if necessary.
HSE accepts fixed guards might not be feasible as access is required for loading and unloading the stone but it wants measures in place to eliminate the risk of people tripping or falling into the machines.
Its guidelines for bridge saws say there should be a perimeter fence with interlocked guards and electro-sensitive protective equipment such as light beams at the front of the enclosure. It wants to see braking systems to stop the saw before it is possible to go near moving parts or a saw head that immediately returns to a home position with local guarding.
It says there should be retracting guards around the circular saw blade and pressure sensitive edges on the saw head and traversing table in conjunction with fast stopping times of the head and blade. It wants fixed and interlocking guards or safety devices providing equivalent protection on automatic and CNC machines so all movements are guarded.