Machine Safety - Am I Responsible?

Case examples cross my desk almost weekly asking, “am I responsible” or liable for for machine safety? These questions come from end users, OEMs, systems integrators, and suppliers. Initially, OSHA provides an answer, but beyond that...

02/11/2011


J.B. TitusAm I responsible for machine safety? How would you answer this question?

     In the U.S. we have to initially answer this question from the regulatory (OSHA) perspective. Therefore, we have the OSHA General Care and Duty clause OSHA that requires “each employer shall furnish to each of his employees, employment and a place of employment free from recognized hazards that are causing or are likely to cause death or serious physical harm to his employees”. In addition, consensus standards over the past decade have been consistently adding clarification to end user and supplier responsibilities for machine safety. Additionally, there are scores of local regulations, state regulations, and company policy’s that also influence the regulation side.

     With all of this “clarification," why does the confusion of who’s responsible seem to never go away?

     In my opinion, one reason is the liability side of the equation. Case examples cross my desk almost weekly asking, “am I responsible”? These questions come from end users, OEM’s, systems integrators, and suppliers. The scenarios range from an end user who contracted for an older machine retrofit adding an automated feeder system over eight years ago to another end user who moved a machine to another State where it was re-installed without touching any controls or electrical on the machine.

     The advice in all of these situations begins with and is not limited to:

  • Always check all applicable OSHA regulations, local codes & regulations, international standards,and domestic consensus standards
  • Check all terms and conditions in purchase agreements and contracts
  • Check all company policy’s involved in the project
  • And, this is just the beginning......

     There is no way to thoroughly and properly cover this topic in a short blog because the answer is most often different in every case. However, what is consistent is the simple fact that due diligence will always be the order for the day. There are far too many variables on the liability side for a simple and quick answer. Possibly the clearest example of this involves the discussion over “touching the machine.” Many interpretations of touching the machine means that having done so “you” are obligated to bring the machine to current code. So, by moving a machine are you obligated to bring the control system and machine guarding to compliance with current standards and regulations?

     Does anyone have a very clear answer?

     Does anyone have a definition for “touching the machine”?   

     In my opinion, these factors and many more collectively indicate that machine safety is everyone’s responsibility. What’s your opinion? Leave a comment below.

     DANGER - This energy source has been locked out - proper machine safety methods save life and limb, says the Control Engineering Machine Safety blog.INTEGRATED SAFETY COULD BE YOUR OPPORTUNITY – CONSIDER IT!

     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 – Am I Responsible?

Related articles:  

Machine Safety and Who’s Responsible?

Machine Safety And Your Safety Culture

Updating Minds About Machine Guarding

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...
The System Integrator Giants program lists the top 100 system integrators among companies listed in CFE Media's Global System Integrator Database.
Each year, a panel of Control Engineering and Plant Engineering editors and industry expert judges select the System Integrator of the Year Award winners in three categories.
This eGuide illustrates solutions, applications and benefits of machine vision systems.
Learn how to increase device reliability in harsh environments and decrease unplanned system downtime.
This eGuide contains a series of articles and videos that considers theoretical and practical; immediate needs and a look into the future.
Additive manufacturing benefits; HMI and sensor tips; System integrator advice; Innovations from the industry
Robotic safety, collaboration, standards; DCS migration tips; IT/OT convergence; 2017 Control Engineering Salary and Career Survey
Integrated mobility; Artificial intelligence; Predictive motion control; Sensors and control system inputs; Asset Management; Cybersecurity
Featured articles highlight technologies that enable the Industrial Internet of Things, IIoT-related products and strategies to get data more easily to the user.
This article collection contains several articles on how automation and controls are helping human-machine interface (HMI) hardware and software advance.
This digital report will explore several aspects of how IIoT will transform manufacturing in the coming years.

Find and connect with the most suitable service provider for your unique application. Start searching the Global System Integrator Database Now!

Infrastructure for natural gas expansion; Artificial lift methods; Disruptive technology and fugitive gas emissions
Mobility as the means to offshore innovation; Preventing another Deepwater Horizon; ROVs as subsea robots; SCADA and the radio spectrum
Future of oil and gas projects; Reservoir models; The importance of SCADA to oil and gas
Automation Engineer; Wood Group
System Integrator; Cross Integrated Systems Group
Jose S. Vasquez, Jr.
Fire & Life Safety Engineer; Technip USA Inc.
This course focuses on climate analysis, appropriateness of cooling system selection, and combining cooling systems.
This course will help identify and reveal electrical hazards and identify the solutions to implementing and maintaining a safe work environment.
This course explains how maintaining power and communication systems through emergency power-generation systems is critical.
click me