Spindle moulding machines are built for the specialist ‘moulding’ of wood. Spindle moulders have caused many serious injuries such as lost fingers, hands and severe lacerations. When purchased new by a company it was found that the machine’s guarding was inadequate.
In consultation with employees a dual-purpose guard was built in the workshop. Tradesmen recognised that different types of work demanded different guarding requirements. They also took into consideration the extra hazards associated with inexperienced operators on site, such as apprentices.
The result of the consultation and planning was a transparent Perspex (polycarbonate) guard. The guard is connected to the head of the machine, above the cutter, and has two functions according to the work being done. When pattern work is needed, the guard surrounds the spindle completely. When other functions are carried out, the guard is turned upside down. On these jobs the guard has been cut away so that only half of the spindle is protected by the new guard. Fixed (steel) guarding prevents access to the other half of the spindle.
Hierarchy of Controls:
Engineering and administration
- Skilled and apprentice workers are now guarded from nearly all the hazards associated with the cutting tool on the spindle moulder.
- In the six months since the introduction of the guard no accidents have occurred.
- The confidence of the operators has improved because of the effectiveness of the new guard and this confidence has resulted in an improved product.