OHS Code Explanation Guide

Published Date: July 01, 2009
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Part 25 Tools, Equipment and Machinery

Section 368 Controls

The employer is responsible for ensuring that operational controls on equipment are designed, located, or protected to prevent unintentional activation. If appropriate, the controls must be suitably identified to indicate their nature or function.

A control is anything – a switch, lever, pedal button, knob, dial or keyboard – used by an operator to affect a system’s operation. Preventing unintentional activation is often done be recessing start buttons so they cannot be accidentally activated or covering buttons with a guard.

People expect things to behave in certain ways when they are operating controls, and safety may be jeopardized if controls are operated in the wrong way. The position and design of machine controls is important. Speed and ON-OFF controls are particularly important and should be readily accessible. Controls should be standardized on similar machinery so that operators can shift from one machine to another without having to use different controls. The function of the control must be suitably identified.

Controls can be identified based on their

(a) shape and texture – useful where illumination is low or where a control needs to be identified and operated through touch only,
(b) location – grouping controls for the same operations together in one area or always having a particular function in the same location on different control panels, or
(c) colour – useful for quick visual identification of various controls and for grouping controls for a particular operation. Common examples are green for start and red for stop.

Controls can also be labelled with words or symbols.