Machine Safety: The myths of safety cultures

Every organization at some point in time has held a myth about machine safety. Here are six machine safety myths. What’s yours? Leave a comment.

01/05/2012


JB Titus, CFSEEvery organization at some point in time has held a myth about machine safety. What’s yours? A company’s safety culture exists just like water. Some are professionally honed with clearly defined goals and responsibilities with open proactive actions and employee empowering engagement. Other cultures are let’s say missing in action and totally ineffective. The full spectrum! Yet, common to them all is that they exist. And, common to them all, they all have experienced safety myths.

   Let’s take a few minutes and brainstorm some of these myths that I’m sure you’ve heard over the years.

1. We haven’t had any accidents for several years so we have a very safe operation.

2. Safety performance is an individual issue, not a company issue.

3. Increasing machine safety is always costly and it reduces production.

4. He is responsible for machine safety throughout our plant.

5. We plan to increase our efforts towards machine safety next year.

6. A return on investment in machine safety……you’ve got to be kidding.

7. Etc.

8. And, I’m sure by now you’ve thought of several more.

  M.D. Cooper established a practical definition of safety culture that can be measured and tracked. The related article (link goes to a PDF), "Safety Culture: A Model for Understanding and Quantifying a Difficult Concept," to learn about his model. “That observable degree of effort by which (all) organizational members direct their attention and actions toward improving safety on a daily basis.” Over the last 40 years, many companies have experienced difficulty trying to follow great advice like Cooper’s to create and/or improve their company’s machine safety culture. However, it’s my opinion that technology has driven a paradigm shift over the past 10 years. Integrated safety surrounds us today.

   So, it’s the New Year and it’s time for a new perspective. I suggest that all you professionals out there set a New Year’s Resolution about a new safety vision for your company - a “2012 Safety Culture Initiative.” In my opinion, it’s timely to create a combined initiative involving the classical thought leader perspectives and the integrated safety solutions. Perhaps, these two concepts combined with your ingenuity will build that improved safety culture casting off those worn safety myths.

   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 – the myths of safety cultures.

Related articles:

How To Integrate Safety

Effective Safety Cultures: Myths, Magic, and Reality, Earl Blair

(PDF) Safety Culture: A Model for Understanding and Quantifying a Difficult Concept

Safety 24/7; Building an Incident-free Culture, G.M. Anderson and Robert L. Lorber, Ph.D.

Unleash the 7C's for World-Class Safety Performance!, David J. Sarkus

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



No comments
The Engineers' Choice Awards highlight some of the best new control, instrumentation and automation products as chosen by...
Each year, a panel of Control Engineering editors and industry expert judges select the System Integrator of the Year Award winners.
Control Engineering Leaders Under 40 identifies and gives recognition to young engineers who...
Learn more about methods used to ensure that the integration between the safety system and the process control...
Adding industrial toughness and reliability to Ethernet eGuide
Technological advances like multiple-in-multiple-out (MIMO) transmitting and receiving
Virtualization advice: 4 ways splitting servers can help manufacturing; Efficient motion controls; Fill the brain drain; Learn from the HART Plant of the Year
Two sides to process safety: Combining human and technical factors in your program; Preparing HMI graphics for migrations; Mechatronics and safety; Engineers' Choice Awards
Detecting security breaches: Forensic invenstigations depend on knowing your networks inside and out; Wireless workers; Opening robotic control; Product exclusive: Robust encoders
The Ask Control Engineering blog covers all aspects of automation, including motors, drives, sensors, motion control, machine control, and embedded systems.
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
News and comments from Control Engineering process industries editor, Peter Welander.
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.
This is a blog from the trenches – written by engineers who are implementing and upgrading control systems every day across every industry.
Anthony Baker is a fictitious aggregation of experts from Callisto Integration, providing manufacturing consulting and systems integration.
Integrator Guide

Integrator Guide

Search the online Automation Integrator Guide
 

Create New Listing

Visit the System Integrators page to view past winners of Control Engineering's System Integrator of the Year Award and learn how to enter the competition. You will also find more information on system integrators and Control System Integrators Association.

Case Study Database

Case Study Database

Get more exposure for your case study by uploading it to the Control Engineering case study database, where end-users can identify relevant solutions and explore what the experts are doing to effectively implement a variety of technology and productivity related projects.

These case studies provide examples of how knowledgeable solution providers have used technology, processes and people to create effective and successful implementations in real-world situations. Case studies can be completed by filling out a simple online form where you can outline the project title, abstract, and full story in 1500 words or less; upload photos, videos and a logo.

Click here to visit the Case Study Database and upload your case study.