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Mini controls set for safety review

PLANT

MINI excavator manufacturers will look at practical measures to reduce the risk of the inadvertent operation of their machines following representations from the Health and Safety Executive.

The Construction Equipment Association, which called the HSE's initial ideas unworkable, met the HSE last week and said it would examine what could be changed to reduce incidents such as operators catching their clothing on the controls and being hit by the machine.

The HSE's concern about inadvertent operation follows the death of an operator who was leaning out of a cab window.

While the CEA is still resisting some of the HSE's recommendations for reducing risk, such as bolting cab windows shut, CEA spokesman Tim Faithfull said the association was now working with the safety body to f ind a solut ion.

He said: 'We have to weigh up the likelihood of a similar accident happening again and see what measures we could take. The accident that took place needs to be seen in the context of thousands of machines in operation every day.' Measures such as the use of seatbelts would be looked at, he said, but there may be practical considerations.

He added: 'We know that operators have to get out of their seats for some work but at no point should anyone have to get out of the cab with the engine running.' He said that one of the recommendations might be to make what an operator can and cannot do more explicit in the operators' manual.