To comply with legal requirements and to ensure the safety of workers in the workplace, dangerous parts of plant need to be guarded and maintained. With the introduction of new technology this can be more effectively achieved. One innovation is the use of photo-electric guarding.
The principles and requirements of photo-electric guarding are documented in a variety of Australian and international standards.
One company introduced photo-electric guarding as the most efficient means to ensure the safety of operators involved in producing truck frames. As part of the process metal sheet is transformed using a ‘cold roll forming’ machine. This consists of a series of rollers through which the metal sheet is drawn. Rather than enclose the entire process with fixed guarding, photo-electric cells were positioned along the series of rollers which stopped the process if their beams were broken.
At one end of the rollers and using a cam limit switch, an area for feeding the material into the rollers was enclosed with a gate which was interlocked to the operation of the machine.
Hierarchy of Controls:
- This method of guarding allows ready access to the machine for maintenance etc. while also ensuring that workers are protected.