A Brief Overview of Machine Safety Standards in Australia

Safety at workplace is paramount and the onus of providing a safe environment to workers has to be shared between the industry owners and machinery manufacturers.  There are various safety aspects that have to be put together in order to offer a completely safe working environment. In this article, the standard of safety of machinery in Australia which is denoted by AS4024.1 has been discussed with the intention of giving an opportunity to readers to understand the amount of importance that is being attached to industrial safety and what is the purpose of formulating such standards.

Machine Safety

Evolution of AS4024

The Australian standard of safety was first formulated in 1996 and was based on the guidelines of the International Organisation of Standardisation (ISO) which is the base document of industrial safety regulations that is applicable across the world. For certain exceptions where ISO reference is not available, AS4024.1 that is applicable in Australia adopts the European Standards that is designated as EN or Euro Norme.  In order to adopt the international standards in machine safety, AS 4024 has been revised two times – the first revision happened in 2006 and the latest in 2014 that focuses on strengthening safety at work place. Benchmarking the Australian safety standard with the European Standard brings it at par with the world standards.

Objectives and Goals of AS 4024.1

Any industrial owner is responsible for protecting the assets and operators by incorporating suitable safety measures in operations that form a part of their social responsibility. Legally speaking, industry owners are liable for any untoward happening at workplace that can arise from unsafe work practices. Historically, there have been separate safety standards adopted in different countries but the time has come when it has become necessary to bring all countries on a single platform of safety procedures. This is the purpose of framing and updating the Australian standards of machine safety.

No legal binding

Safety Standards are derived from the best practices of the industry that have proven record of safety. The standards offer a uniform guideline that can be adopted easily and is supposed to be the best way of doing things. In the absence of any viable alternate methods, it s presumed that people will follow the standards to achieve safety at workplace, especially when working with machines. Standards are not binding on people, so as to say legally because it is not law but adopting it gives the satisfaction of caring for the lives of people.

Since the Australian standards are based on the best practices of industry, industry owners would find it difficult to ignore. Adopting safe practices at work place not only displays the concerns for safety of personnel but it also contributes to improvement in productivity which is the purpose of any business organisation.  A safe operation is what any machine operator would desire and the AS4024.1 has exhaustive guidelines that cover almost all aspects of machine safety that is currently being practiced around the world. It can be concluded that AS4024.1 has truly become international.