HSE Issues New Guidance on Safety of Hand-fed Platen Presses

HSE has now commenced on-site inspections of hand-fed platen presses in the UK and so users of this high-risk machinery need to ensure that their machines meet the required safety standards. Following extensive consultation with industry, users and suppliers, HSE has published an Information Sheet to help users manage this process.

The Health & Safety Executive (HSE) is urging users of hand-fed platen (die cutting) machines in the UK to follow revised operating and safeguarding guidance in order to reduce the risk of serious crush injuries and even death.

To help users manage this upgrade process, HSE has published an Information Sheet, which is freely downloadable from HSE's website www.hse.gov.uk/printing/alert.htm .

The Information Sheet is aimed at all employers, supervisors and managers who are responsible for the safe operation of hand-fed platen presses. It specifically addresses the risks associated with whole-body access between the platens of larger machines and use of the dwell mode. It also sets out a number of other key issues relevant to machines of all sizes, such as using the most suitable machines; use of the dwell and continuous mode; existing standards; additional safeguarding requirements if dwell and continuous modes are retained; making the machine safe when accessing the danger area between the platens; training; daily checks; and machine inspection.

Tim Small, a specialist manufacturing safety inspector at HSE, stated: "Hand-fed platens are high-risk machines. Our investigations show that workers can and do climb between the platens on many machines. The risk is particularly high when the platen is being used in dwell [semi-automatic] mode. In this situation, operators are not protected by the current guarding arrangements."

"HSE are carrying out visits to users to check that firms are taking action to comply with our Information Sheet. We will consider using our enforcement powers where we find particularly poor standards or where firms have not started to take any action to improve standards."

Pilz Safety Solution for hand-fed platen presses

Some users of hand-fed platen presses have already implemented suitable safety solutions that have been approved by HSE. In November 2009, for example, Pilz Automation Technology and SCA Display UK worked together to improve the safety of a hand-fed platen press at SCA's Shenstone plant.

Pilz wrote a functional specification for the press, then engineered a solution based on these functional safety requirements. Utilising an array of light beams and a safety controller, the press is now brought to a safe stop if there is a violation of the danger zones whilst the press is closing. The press cannot be restarted until the press cam switch has been operated, signalling that the press is at the 'home' position. Pilz supplied all of the hardware, including the light beam array and safety controller, as well as writing all the software code.

As a machinery safety specialist, Pilz is able to recommend and implement many varieties of total safety solutions. Pilz can also take responsibility for certification, validation and sign-off for any machine safety designs, modifications and updates or can assist with any in-house company safety procedures.

Contact Points for Publication

Pilz Automation Technology

Telephone: 01536 460766

Fax: 01536 460866

E-mail: j.harris@pilz.co.uk

Website: www.pilz.co.uk

Dean Palmer


SilverBullet PR Ltd

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Email: dean@silverbulletpr.co.uk


Pilz Automation Technology

Willow House

Medlicott Close


NN18 9NF

Tel: 01536 462202

Fax: 01536 460866

E-mail: marketing@pilz.co.uk

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