Fibre preparation

Opening machinery

Opening machinery should have:

  • guards fitted to prevent access to moving parts on sides of feed sheets
  • if fed manually - a tunnel guard fitted over the feed sheet to prevent access to the feed rollers
  • all other moving/working parts of the machine fully guarded
  • fan doffer mechanism locked or bolted to prevent access to the fan and motor drive belts
  • adequate interlocking mechanisms fitted
  • rag pulling machines - swifts, intake rollers and other moving parts properly guarded
  • fleece breakers - interlock and trip guards used to prevent access or contact with spiked feed sheets and moving parts
  • 'Samson' or other fleece opening machines - documented safe system of work followed for operating and cleaning
  • isolators and padlocks used when employees have to climb inside chambers/confined spaces to clean or maintain
  • daily system of checking safety devices
  • safe system of work for fighting fires inside machinery

Spare keys should not be available.

Check the British Standards that apply to opening machinery.

Blending, Scouring and Packing Plant

  • all cleaning maintenance operations carried out with the machine stopped and isolated
  • daily system of checking safety devices in place

Feed Sheets and Conveyors

Feed sheets and conveyors should have

  • spiked feed sheets guarded or fenced at all access points
  • access panels interlocked where there is a need for frequent cleaning


  • traps and floor openings guarded or fenced
  • where access is required to the tops of bins and walkways:
  • suitable ladders or stairs provided
  • safe, clearly marked and fenced
  • safety harness fitted where work is required on an unfenced bin top
  • bin tops and access ways well illuminated
  • access to heights restricted to named employees by permit systems
  • Where moving bin emptiers are used - emergency escape door with a rim cylinder latch at the closed end of each bin
  • traps between moving bin emptiers and fixed structures guarded or fenced
  • warning system in operation prior to machines starting up
  • where pneumatic transfer ducting is in use - special structures available to gain access to ducting areas prone to fibre blockage
  • ducting fans safe by distance or interlock guarded

Scouring Equipment and Machinery

  • fixed or distance guards fitted to prevent access to squeeze rolls at all areas in scouring and drying
  • all spiked feed sheets guarded at access points
  • if ducking rollers fitted - adequate clearance allowed between the vanes and any other parts of the machine
  • where radio frequency dryers are used - warning indicator fitted

Check the British Standards that apply to blending, scouring and packing machinery.

Synthetic fibre and topmaking plant

Synthetic fibre and topmaking plant should have:

  • moving parts, rollers and coiler heads guarded or safe by position from the feed area
  • interlocks on all fallers, squeeze rollers, shear areas and in-running nips
  • an inching system or hold to run controls where interlocked hoods need to be opened
  • bump top presses:
    • guarded at the side and rear
    • two-handed controls fitted or, alternatively, interlocked sliding doors or trip guarded system
    • employees use needles in a safe manner, with other employees kept clear
  • tow conversion and stretching machines
    • interlocked guards fitted
    • employees aware of entanglement hazards
    • records and procedures identify information and training given to employees
  • trip device available to stop the machine if someone becomes entangled in the tow
  • stretch breakers - guarding protects and prevents access from intake through all stages to the final roller set
  • automatic can doffers - access to crush or shear points prevented
  • documented safe systems of work detailing procedures for cleaning, lap removal and minor adjustment

Check the British Standards that apply to synthetic fibre and topmaking plant machinery.


Carding machines should have:

  • interlocked guards with a time limit arrangement to prevent access until movement of dangerous parts has ceased
  • interlocked gates where access is available under machines, via pits etc
  • limited inch system available and used only by named personnel with specific training
  • all routine operations carried out with machine stopped and isolated
  • access to scotch feed rollers and nearby moving parts guarded or safe by design
  • Peralta rollers guarded to prevent easy access and nip bars fitted
  • manually fed machines - access to spiked feed sheets restricted at the hopper
  • condensers guarded to correct standard
  • emergency stop wires fitted above calendar rollers and in dog holes
  • limited inching devices fitted where web feeding or other operations need to be carried out with the machines in motion
  • limited inching device and its use restricted to specific named and trained employees
  • large and other fast moving cards - full height guards to prevent access to all moving parts including condensers, tapes and rubbers
  • such guards fitted with walkways, hand rails and handholds etc
  • fast moving machines have a start up warning signal
  • cleaning and lap removal operations carried out with the machine stopped or on limited inching
  • radioactive sources monitored and inspected regularly
  • written permit system in use for cleaning, fettling and repairs where guards need to be open
  • where hazardous operations still need to be carried out eg feeding Peralta rollers or getting web to the condenser - job limited to specific, designated, trained employees

Check the British Standards that apply to carding machinery.


Garneting machines should be totally guarded with interlocking timed devices that prevent any access until all dangerous movement has ceased.  In addition, they should have:

  • a system for checking the function of all isolation, emergency stop and control buttons prior to daily start up
  • a documented safe system for fettling and cleaning operations and for lifting and handling material
  • a safe system or work permit for removing, fitting and maintaining components, with named, trained and competent operators
  • effective local exhaust ventilation to remove respirable dust
  • a method of vacuum cleaning for cleaning up dust
  • employees wear suitable RPE when dust bags require emptying
  • where employees need to access machines or equipment at height - steps and ladders are substantial and of a safe design, hazard permits used and specific employees named and trained for the work

Spare keys should not be available freely, as these can enable systems to be by-passed.  The use of spare keys should be restricted to essential tasks that cannot be done in any other way and where machine modifications cannot be carried out to allow the tasks to be done with guards closed.  In these circumstances, where prohibition of the use of spare keys would render a machine unusable, spare keys can be used provided there is a full permit to work system and rigorous controls exercised by a responsible manager who issues the key.  Spare keys should be in the possession of a senior person in the company (if required at all) and should be issued according to a register controlling the issue and application.

Check the British Standards that apply to garneting machinery.

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Updated 2020-12-10