Mechanical hazards
Mechanical hazards
(common for various activities)
General information.
Problem : Unsecured moving parts of machines and their fittings, as well as tools and machined items that can cause injury

Questions / observations
Activities improving the state of OSH

Is the machine properly seated and connected to the installation and is it used according to its assignment?
Seat and/or fix, as well as connect to installations and keep machinery in a technical state that conforms to the current requirements specified in the regulations and standards, and also use within the scope and under conditions provided in the operating instructions or technical and user documentation. Introduction of machinery, equipment and tools that only:

- has a safety sign and has a current certificate authorising the attachment of this sign - if contained in the list of products subject to the obligation to apply for certification for the safety sign and marking with this sign
- has a declaration of conformity with the standards that have been introduced for compulsory application and the requirements specified in the relevant regulations - for the others.

Is access possible for the hands, feet or other parts of the body into the work zone, moving machine elements (transmission and drive shaft etc.), tools or machined items that can cause the following dangerous situations and incidents:

  • catching
  • drawing inwards
  • striking
  • tangling
  • touching
  • ejection
  • crushing
  • amputation
  • cutting
  • fracturing
  • abrasion
  • bruising?
Use firmly affixed covers and other protective devices, preventing access to danger zones and secure normal working conditions, e.g.: against an increase in pressure (according to the operating instructions, technical and user documentation, standards and risk assessment).  

Are the strength, positioning and fixing of the protective covers correct (completeness, fastness, shape and size of openings and the maintenance of adequate safety distances)? Examine and ensure that a safety distance is marked preventing access from feet, hands and other parts of the body into the danger zones.  

Are the location and operation of other protective and safety devices, and also control elements and their markings correct? Examine and ensure the correct functioning and marking of other protective and safety devices, as well as control elements.  

Is the plant and machinery used without protective covers or with the covers removed, e.g.: belt and cog transmission, drive shafts and machining zones? Attach the removed covers or fit missing covers onto the plant and machinery.  

Can threats arise in specific situations, e.g. during correction of the settings, repairs, cleaning and greasing of the plant or machinery? Observe the prohibition to clean and maintain the plant and machinery while operating (these activities should only be conducted after shutting down).  

Problem : Sharp protruding elements, sharp edges and corners, blades and coarse, frayed surfaces of tools, machines and materials that could cause injury

Questions / observations
Activities improving the state of OSH

Is there a threat of injury (by piercing or cutting etc.) as a result of sharp protruding elements, sharp edges and corners? Eliminate protruding sharp elements,
e.g.: bending nails, blunting (rounding, chamfering etc.) sharp edges and corners.  Use gloves to protect against mechanical injury, e.g. leather and fabric gloves or rubber-coated knitted gloves.

Are the tools, or at least their blades (e.g. cutting tools, chisels or axes), covered when not in use? Ensure that tools are correctly transported and stored, e.g.: in cases, on shelves, and protection of their blades, e.g.: with covers.

Are there frayed and coarse elements of tools, machines and materials? Ensure that there is a smooth finish and the state of tools is good (without cuts, dents, bumps of the fixing pins etc.), that are appropriate for use in specified activities, as well as replacing and repairing used tools, and also correctly fixing handles onto manual tools, as well ensuring that gloves are used.

Are parts, which must protrude and cannot be covered for technological reasons, as well as the zones in which they operate, marked with colours and safety signs? Ensure  correct marking with colours and safety signs.

Problem : Threats caused by moving horizontal and vertical means of transport and transported materials:
- universal lifts

- hoists

- cranes

- manual trolleys

- powered forklift trucks

- construction materials and elements

- metallurgical materials

Questions / observations
Activities improving the state of OSH

Are the means of transport used appropriate to the tasks undertaken? Use means of transport that has appropriate safety certificates;
for hoists and lifts - a decision from the Office of Technical Inspection (UDT) on the admissibility for use following installation by trained (qualified) installers on the building site and following acceptance by the UDT inspector or on the marketing authorisation, in accordance with the assignment according to the operating instructions or the technical and user documentation.

Are the means of transport in a fully operational state with complete fittings? Ensure that equipment is installed by trained (qualified) installers on the building site and ensure acceptance on the building site by the UDT (technical inspector); non-admittance for use of devices without acceptance.

Are there threats connected with:

  • overloading of means of transport,
  • their improper functioning?
Observe the permissible load bearing capacity and lifting capacity of the means of transport.  Use technically sound equipment with fittings in accordance with the operating instructions or the technical and user documentation.
ODA Assurance of qualified operators, who are authorised to operate a given means of transport.

Is there a threat of being crushed by a manoeuvring means of transport, caused by the lack of marking of the travelling routes, poor visibility or lack of designated danger zone arising from the manoeuvring during transportation? Ensure that horizontal means of transport are driven along designated and systematised routes and vertical transportation in designated spaces; mark safety zones, arising from the required manoeuvring of means of transport; illuminate the building site with artificial lighting in the event of poor visibility.  

Does the transported or lifted load restrict visibility and could it cause a loss of stability? Correctly stack and secure the load.

Uncontrolled movement of materials and means of transport. Ensure that movement restrictors for means of transport and their assemblies function properly.  

Are the rules for movement of means of transport along the roads on the building site being observed? Mark the roads on the building site in accordance with the highway code and ensure that the defined traffic regulations are being observed.  

Problem : Threat caused by the storage of materials:


- bricks

- breeze blocks

- sand

- metallurgical materials

- other construction materials

- cylinders with technical gases.

Questions / observations
Activities improving the state of OSH

Have places been designated and prepared for storing materials? Assign and prepare (levelling, hardening etc.) places for storing materials.

Are the permissible loads for ceilings, floors, shelves and other places and devices for storing materials being exceeded?
Define the permissible loading of the ceilings, flooring, racks, shelving and other places and devices for storing materials; provide information on the values of loads, e.g.: by attaching legible signs.  

Ensure that the mass of materials does not exceed the permissible load of the racks and shelving and other devices for storage, as well as floors, ceilings and other places where materials are stored in bulk or on devices (also taking into account the mass of the devices).

Are the rules and methods of storing materials that assure safety defined and observed?
Define the rules and methods of stacking and collecting materials, ensuring primarily:
- the maintenance of stability of the piles: by defining and adhering to the height of the piles appropriately to the type of materials stored and the ties between the layers, the assurance that the centre of gravity has remained inside the pile, and the distance between the piles assures safety in stacking, collecting and moving the materials

- the maintenance of walkways and roads around the heaps, taking into account the natural angle of sliding of loose materials and also safety in their movement and collection (e.g.: use of devices in cases necessary that assure safety of entry onto the piles of materials that pose a threat of sliding)
- the strength of appropriate barriers to hold the loose materials that are stored
- the securing against self-ignition of materials that are stored (height restrictions, ventilation ducts, pouring between areas)

Are the safety requirements on storing and use of cylinders with technical gases satisfied? Secure cylinders with technical gases against: overturning, sunlight, precipitation and access to unauthorised personnel.




See also:


Module of the STER System supporting selection of personal protective equipment