Machine Safety

An ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis, operating efficiencies and cost savings, as well as all relevant safety standards, such as those from NFPA, ANSI, RIA, IEC, ISO and OSHA. About J.B. Titus.

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Machine Safety: Does it matter, the Aggregate Hazard Level for a machine?

When conducting a risk assessment of the machine’s individual identified hazards does the safety level of the complete machine or system matter? Does anyone have a solution for determining the aggregate level of an entire machine? Does anybody care?

March 23, 2012


When conducting a risk assessment of the machine’s individual identified hazards does the safety level of the complete machine or system matter? Does anyone have a solution for determining the aggregate level of an entire machine? Does anybody care? 

Safety matters logo.

   Over the past two or three years we’ve engaged in abundant discussions over the increased value of migrating from qualitative measures for machine hazard analysis and mitigation versus quantitative measures. Stage right – enters ISO 13849-1&2 for a comprehensive quantitative approach that analyzes and mitigates machine hazards to acceptable levels. Clients now ask, why does the new more comprehensive approach stop short of determining the aggregate machine level or system level of hazard? Does anyone anywhere roll up the risk analysis to an aggregate level?

   In my opinion, a few disciplines do exactly that!

   Let’s list several disciplines that identify an aggregate risk level:

1. Disaster recovery

2. Environmental polution

3. Information Technology

4. Banking

5. Defense

6. Insurance

... to mention a few

   So, if management in these sectors can get aggregate levels of risk analysis why can’t management of manufacturing operations machinery based? Isn’t it possible for management to know a risk level by machine? Why roll out a quantitative analysis for hazards on and around a machine only for use by the EH&S, engineering, and maintenance personnel. This leaves management thirty years behind with qualitative awareness’s kept in their minds. How about providing management with an aggregate machine hazard level by something like:

1. The value of the highest mitigated hazard, or

2. The summation average of all mitigated hazards, or

3. A proportional average of all mitigated hazards, or

...something else?

   A manager of manufacturing operations should know his aggregate hazard level (SIL, PL, etc.) by machine just like his pier in the IT office? What have you found or what are you using to answer this call? Doesn’t this make sense?

   Your comments or suggestion are always welcome so please let us know your thoughts. Submit your ideas, experiences, and challenges on this subject in the comments section below. Click on the following text if you don't see a comments box, then scroll down: Machine Safety: Does it matter, the Aggregate Hazard Level for a machine?

   Related articles:

Updating Minds About Machine Safety

EN ISO 13849-1, the quantitative approach to machine safety begins with a qualitative process!

How To Integrate Safety

Machine Safety – the myths of safety cultures.

Contact: www.jbtitus.com for “Solutions for Machine Safety”.



For more than 30 years, J.B. Titus has advised a wide range of clients on machine functional safety solutions, including Johnson + Johnson, Siemens, General Motors, Disney, Rockwell Automation, Bridgestone Firestone, and Samsung Heavy Industries. He holds a Bachelor of Business Administration degree from Oklahoma University in industrial management and an MBA from Case Western Reserve University in marketing and finance. He is a professional member of the American Society of Safety Engineers and is OSHA-certified in machine guarding. Titus is also TUV-certified as a Functional Safety Expert and serves on several American National Standards Institute, National Fire Protection Association, and National Electrical Manufacturers Association national safety and health standards committees. Reach him at jb(at)jbtitus.com and via www.jbtitus.com.