New Guidance on Machinery Risk Assessments

Risk assessment on machinery is a major area of uncertainty for a large proportion of industry. It's quite common for people given the responsibility of risk assessment to be unsure of the process and fearful of being held accountable for results of the risk assessment.

While codes of practice do provide good guidance for the general process of risk assessment, they don't cover the unique challenges of machinery applications. Unfortunately, the 2006 version of the Australian Machine Safety Standards (AS 4024.1) provided only theoretical guidance for risk assessment and left many people still confused on issues such as:
  • Who should be involved in the process of risk assessment?
  • Systematic methods to identify hazards on the equipment
  • What risk estimation tools are available and how do they work?
  • What does documentation of risk assessment actually looks like?
Guidance is now available in the 2014 revision of Australian Machine Safety Standards (AS 4024.1). A new standard, AS 4024.1303:2014, has been created, which provides practical guidance on risk assessment for machinery.

This standard gives detailed information on how to set-up and prepare for a risk assessment. Advice is provided on who should be part of the team and what information should be collected to prepare for the risk assessment.

The standard also explains systematic approaches for hazard identification. For example, the top-down approach starts with defining the hazardous situations of a machine and then analyzing the hazard zones.

One of the major improvements with this standard is the information that is provided for risk estimation. This standard now explains various risk estimation tools such as Risk Matrix, Risk Graphs, Numerical Scoring and Hybrid Tools.

If you are confused about how the process is actually implemented and what the documentation looks like then Annex A of AS 4024.1303:2014 should provide some answers. This Annex explains step by step the risk assessment process carried out on a molding machine, it also shows all the documentation created during this process and explains what risk reduction measures were used.

With this new standard, AS 4024.1303:2014, you have access to information to help you facilitate risk assessments on your machinery. If you would still like assistance with the risk assessment process contact NHP's customer service team or contact your NHP sales representative.

Published: 23 June 2015