Guarding food preparation mixers

Unguarded food preparation mixing machines in commercial kitchens can cause serious injuries, including amputations and broken bones. This page can help employers to control the risks to employees using, cleaning and maintaining food preparation mixers.


Food preparation mixers can cause serious injuries

Rotating attachments on unguarded food preparation mixers are a health and safety hazard in commercial kitchens. Workers reaching into the bowl to remove a product, clean or add extra ingredients during the mixing process risk being caught in the rotating parts of an unguarded mixer.

Food preparation mixers can cause serious injuries, including amputations, fractures, cuts and de-gloving. De-gloving is where the top layers of skin and tissue are torn from the underlying muscle, connective tissue or bone.

Reduce the risks

If it is not reasonably practicable to eliminate the risks associated with plant, an employer must reduce the risks, so far as is reasonably practicable. Engineering controls such as guards and administrative controls such as instruction, training and supervision can help reduce the risks from food preparation mixers.

Use interlocked guards

Food preparation mixers should have guards to prevent rotating parts from causing injury. The most effective guard is a purpose-built interlocked guard.

An interlocked guard is a physical barrier linked to the power or control system of a machine. The interlock may be mechanical or electrical. The guard can be clear polycarbonate or mesh.

There should be two interlocks on a food preparation mixer. One interlock confirms the guard is in place, the other confirms the mixing bowl is in position. The machine should not work if either interlock is not set.

The interlocked guard should:

  • prevent access to moving parts
  • prevent the machine from operating unless the guard is in place
  • stop all moving parts once the guard is lifted
  • stop the mixer if the interlock switch fails
  • be solidly constructed and securely mounted
  • be designed so it cannot be bypassed or disabled
  • provide a chute if procedures require batch adding without stopping the mixer
  • not create a risk of injury from maintenance and cleaning

Training and supervision

Employers must, so far as is reasonably practicable, provide employees with any necessary information, instruction, training and/or supervision so they can perform their work safely and without risks to health.

Employers should ensure employees understand and are able to demonstrate safe operation of the food preparation mixer and only properly trained workers should operate the machines. As an employer, you should keep records to confirm employees have received training.


Food preparation mixing machines should be maintained in line with manufacturer specifications or as determined by a competent person. Employers should document inspections and maintenance, including the testing of interlocked guarding by a competent person such as an electrician.

Employers should keep a history of maintenance records while the machinery is in service.

Further information

Australian Standard

AS 4024.1 - 2014 Series:  Safety of Machinery

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