Work­shop health & safety

Castell Safety In­ter­na­tional.

Car Mechanics (UK) - - Contents -

All busi­nesses have a le­gal obli­ga­tion to con­form to the Health and Safety at Work Act of 1974, but there’s no rea­son why the same prin­ci­ples shouldn’t be ap­plied to the home work­shop. It is ev­ery­one’s re­spon­si­bil­ity to en­sure the wel­fare of any­one who might come into con­tact with po­ten­tially dan­ger­ous equip­ment. Says Stan Rat­cliffe from the con­sul­tancy firm Health and Safety As­sur­ance Ser­vices, which per­forms risk as­sess­ment and ad­vises busi­nesses on ways to im­prove their work en­vi­ron­ment: ‘Whether our work­shop is our busi­ness or part of our hobby, we all have a gen­eral duty of care for oth­ers who may come into our work­shop, be that friends, mem­bers of a car club or in­ter­ested grand­chil­dren ea­ger to learn.’

We vis­ited Castell Safety In­ter­na­tional, which spe­cialises in top-of-the-range health and safety sys­tems, to see if the sys­tems they de­sign for pro­fes­sional work­shops have an ap­pli­ca­tion for Diy­ers.

Castell was founded in 1922, dur­ing the elec­tri­fi­ca­tion of Lon­don, when founder James Castell de­signed the trapped key in­ter­lock sys­tem to pro­tect peo­ple and prop­erty from harm. All work­shops con­tain po­ten­tially dan­ger­ous ma­chin­ery and one of the sim­plest and cheap­est ways of pre­vent­ing a ma­chine from op­er­at­ing – say, while it’s stripped for re­pair or when your at­ten­tion is fo­cused on an­other job – is sim­ply to un­plug it. But what if some­one comes along and plugs it back in by mis­take? The ba­sic and most fun­da­men­tal prin­ci­ple on which all of Castell’s sys­tems op­er­ate is that for some­one to gain ac­cess to a haz­ardous area, it must be iso­lated with a unique key. This can be cus­tom de­signed to iso­late ev­ery­thing from a sin­gle ma­chine to an en­tire power grid, each lock re­quir­ing a dif­fer­ent key. For such sys­tems, it’s re­as­sur­ing to know that, should a key get lost, Castell main­tain records go­ing back 90 years that can iden­tify which key was cre­ated for a spe­cific lock and have it re­man­u­fac­tured to save you hav­ing to re­place the en­tire lock.

Al­though a full trapped key in­ter­lock sys­tem would be im­prac­ti­cal for a home garage, the fun­da­men­tals can be ap­plied to a work­shop of any size, by fit­ting a lock to the power sup­ply to a dan­ger­ous ma­chine, to pre­vent it be­ing stopped or started by ac­ci­dent. The Castell Stop-box is a lock­able con­tainer into which the elec­tri­cal plug of, say, a ve­hi­cle lift, lathe, pil­lar drill or com­pres­sor can be placed and locked shut. Only the per­son with the key to the box can turn the ma­chine on and off.

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