Procter Machine Guarding has completed a project for Tata Steel in Teesside to conduct a Machine Guarding Compliance Survey and then supply and install guards and associated safety controls.
Tata Steel's Teesside Beam Mill is dominated by large machinery but, as with most manufacturing plants, the facility also has a number of workshop machine tools including manually operated vertical milling machines, horizontal milling machines, lathes, surface grinders, bandsaws, drills, linishers, offhand grinders and a guillotine; in this case the machines are located in Tata Steel's Teesside Research and Development Technology Centre. In common with many manufacturers, some of the machines are not new and the original safeguards fall short of today's standards.
Procter Machine Guarding was invited to conduct a free Machine Guarding Compliance Survey to assess the existing machine safeguards. This one-day assessment enabled the safety engineer to prepare a short written report with recommendations for guards that would meet the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations (PUWER) requirements. In total 27 machines were assessed and 21 of these were found to require upgraded guards and/or safety equipment such as lighting, telescopic trip switches or emergency stop pushbuttons.
Tata Steel subsequently asked Procter Machine Guarding to supply and install the new safety equipment. All of the guards were Nelsa standard workshop machine guards, including: CLG chuck guards, TXS saddle-mount shields, LSCB lead screw cartridge blinds and safe edges on Colchester Triumph 2000 and Triumph 2500 lathes; SSA Slide & Swing Aside guards for milling machines and surface grinders; and GWG200 grinding wheel protective screens on offhand grinders. In addition, new safety-related controls were fitted to complement the new guards, and similar safety-related controls were installed on bandsaws, linishers, drills and a guillotine. One of the Nelsa SSA guards had to be modified slightly to fit an Abwood grinder, and some additional bespoke infill panels were fabricated for the guillotine – all of which was well within the capabilities of Procter Machine Guarding and did not add to the lead time.
Workshop guard installation
The initial Guarding Compliance Survey was completed by one safety engineer in one day. After the order had been received, a site survey was conducted to gather detailed information so that the installation could be completed as quickly as possible. In the event, two technicians installed the guards in approximately one week, working 12-hour days and cordoning off just one or two machines at a time to minimise disruption for Tata Steel. A specialised mechanical/electrical installation engineer worked alongside the technicians to connect the guard interlocks, safety relays, emergency stop switches, lighting and other electrical items.
Originally developed by EJA Ltd, Nelsa guards are now manufactured in the UK by Procter Machine Guarding. Because the designs are standardised, Nelsa workshop guards are available on short deliveries and are very quick and easy to install; most machine tools found in UK workshops can have standard Nelsa guards retrofitted very economically to aid compliance with PUWER. Opening guards are interlocked, so they need to be wired into the machine’s control system, and it is often appropriate to install replacement or additional emergency stop switches and safety relays at the same time. Although Tata Steel contracted Procter to undertake the installation, Nelsa guards are designed to be suitable for retrofitting by the customer's own competent personnel if preferred. When Nelsa standard guards cannot be installed for whatever reason, Procter Machine Guarding can design, manufacture and install customised guards economically and quickly.