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.
Machine Safety: What do you mean the vice president said: So What?
July 30, 2012
After a two hour presentation in the conference room providing all the new high technology based machine guarding solutions and testimonials on operating cost savings, the vice president of operations said, “So what!”?
This is a reminder of the "Five Levels of Hazard Mitigation"
For review, the five levels of hazard mitigation are:
1.) Eliminate the hazard – design it out
2.) Isolate the hazard with hard guarding
3.) Add additional engineering, guards, devices, or layers of safety (controls or systems)
4.) Administrative controls like – training, signage, assessments, etc.
5.) Personal protective equipment (PPE) like - goggles, gloves, outer clothing, shields, etc.
In my opinion, industry most always wants to see a comprehensive solutions approach to their machine guarding issues. Over the past 40 years I’ve seen lots of machine guarding situations and most of them involved at least two or three of the above levels for mitigation. And, only a hand full of companies made corporate wide decisions to treat any and all identified machine guarding hazards with Cat 3 level solutions. With this said, what it means to one is not what it means to another.
This is why it’s so very important to think ahead about the “so what” question and address it up front.
How important do you think listening skills are? This is to say that different companies have different cultures. It’s been my experience that these cultures play a significant role in how different companies define their “acceptable” level of hazard mitigation. Understanding these dimensions provides an opportunity to evaluate the “Five Levels of Hazard Mitigation” and how they may be important to any one application and company. In my opinion, a solutions based resource needs to be proficient in all five levels to address the “so what” question. Otherwise, you risk presenting the gold-plated solution to a “crawl, walk, run” based company. A great balance sheet doesn’t guarantee that their ready to drive a Bentley.
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: What do you mean the vice president said: So What?
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.