Controlling entanglement risks

An alert about how to control the risk of entanglement when using plant and machinery.
Safety alert published

Tuesday 01 Dec 2015

Industries and topics
  • Agriculture
  • Manufacturing
  • Plant hazards


Workers are at high risk of entanglement when working near powered plant such as farm machinery. Loose clothing, hair, gloves, jewellery, cleaning brushes, rags or other materials can become entangled in moving parts of machines, pulling the person into the moving danger points.

This can result in serious injury (e.g. scalping, amputation and de-gloving) or death. This risk is increased considerably when the guarding on plant and equipment is broken, has been removed or is not adequately secured.

In one incident, a farm employee sustained life threatening injuries when his hair became caught in a conveyor.

Control measures

The risk of entanglement can be controlled by:

  • substituting the machine with one which has a lower level of risk
  • ensuring guards are fitted to prevent access to any moving parts and nip points that can have contact with the body
  • fitting guards that cannot be removed, where reasonably practicable
  • installing interlocked guards which require a special tool to remove them
  • providing emergency stop systems to shut down operation of the machine
  • shutting down the machine and removing keys or using a lock out/tag out system prior to removing guarding to undertake maintenance and/or cleaning. Allow for stored energy and run down time before commencing such work.
  • inspecting guards for damage and repairing and replacing all guards before re-energising and starting up the plant
  • providing operators with adequate training and appropriate supervision prior to and when using the machine
  • ensuring operators do not have loose items of clothing, hair, jewellery, etc. that may get caught
  • providing and maintaining adequate warning signs as a constant reminder to operators and others of the potential hazards associated with the machine

Further information

AS4024.1 Series: 2014 – Safety of machinery

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