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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We’re safe; we’ve had no machine safety accidents for a long time

All too often I hear or read about a companies’ great safety record only to read on about a major incident or accident and the devastating human and/or business impacts that occur. One central place to stay current regarding safety in general as well as specific incidents is OSHA’s twice monthly email report titled OSHA Quick Takes.

July 05, 2011


JB Titus, CFSEAll too often I hear or read about a companies’ great safety record only to read on about a major incident or accident and the devastating human and/or business impacts that occur. One central place to stay current regarding safety in general as well as specific incidents is OSHA’s twice monthly email report titled OSHA Quick Takes. Here, you’ll be able to get some exposure to what’s going on in the big world regarding machine safety and draw some comparisons to your own situation.

     I suggest you take some time to look under the covers at your own machine safety environment and draw some conclusions. Ask yourself, are you accident free because of your stellar safety program or because you’ve always found a chair to sit in when the music stops?

     In my opinion, over the course of forty plus years of experience, I can’t tell you about all the companies I’ve seen that are luckily accident free. Luck will not speed the recovery of an injured employee or reduce the cost of an accident which goes directly to the bottom line. Luck is not a good strategy on which to base your business. Instead, I suggest that your goal should be best in class. It’s one thing to be proud of an accident free safety record but ask yourself if your record is the result of your companies’ safety culture and integrated safety program.

     A great safety culture within a company will most often be one that exhibits safety as a shared value from top to bottom. A great test to see if the “shared value” concept is present is to ask the question – Is it OK for an employee to stop the machine or shut down the process if he or she sees an unsafe condition? If the answer to this question is yes, then there’s a very strong likelihood that this company has a robust safety culture in my opinion.

     What is the safety culture like at your company? What are your concerns? Is your company playing musical chairs with machine safety? A frequent question I’m asked by HS&E colleagues is, “How can I get top management to actively participate in the shared value of machine safety?”

     One of the “Best in Class” companies reports – “Our employee’s value reporting learning events. It gives us an opportunity to identify hazards, evaluate risk, perform root cause analysis and implement corrective actions, BEFORE someone is injured.” (Georgia Pacific, Rockwell Automation - Safety Automation Forum, 2010)

     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: We’re safe; we’ve had no machine safety accidents for a long time

     Did you see the Safety Integration Webcast?

     Related articles:

Machine safety and your safety culture

Updating Minds About Machine Safety

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.