Machine Safety: Does sustainability matter?

Effective, sustainable machine safety programs often contain these five high-level characteristics. Also see two more possible components of successful programs. These may help with your machine safety program’s consistency and focus over time.


Sustainability and company DNA (or company culture) are often thought of as somewhat analogous terms. Both terms suggest consistency over time, durability and the ability to endure. If so, how would you define your machine safety program’s consistency and focus over time? Need help? See below for five high-level characteristics (and two more possible components) of effective, sustainable machine safety programs.

Sustainable machine safety programs help produce sustainable businesses. Why? Because safety pays! There are numerous testimonials today supporting the claim that safety pays because every dollar saved in a safety initiative goes directly to the bottom line. So, it looks like sustainability does matter but what are the key ingredients of an effective sustainable machine safety program?

In my opinion, there are at least...

5 high level characteristics of effective, sustainable machine safety programs

  1. A top down/bottom up corporate safety culture which includes; vision, goals, solutions, commitments, measurements and resources.
  2. A safety management system, which includes programs such as: 
  • Management of change
  • Fire and explosion safety
  • Machine safeguarding
  • Hazardous energy control
  • Electrical safety-related work practices
  • Fall protection
  • Ergonomics
  • Occupational hygiene control
  • Personal protective equipment
  • Respiratory protection
  • Hearing loss prevention, among others.



  1. A reporting process which embraces open acceptance and organizational feedback for safety hazards.
  2. Documentation and archiving methodologies.
  3. Open and accurate “report out” practices to employees including topics like trending, accident incidence, OSHA recordables, goals, best practices, confidential contact information, etc. 

Two elements of a sustainable program

I believe an example sustainable machine safety program might include:

Goal - zero workplace fatalities

Vision - to become recognized by stakeholders as a global sustainability leader in occupational health and safety (OH&S). To accomplish this we must:

  • Learn from any failures in our safety systems and processes
  • Prevent fatalities, injuries and illnesses through a strong safety culture
  • Build capability in all of our team members through education and practical training.

J.B. Titus, CFSE

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. 

Related articles:

Risk Assessment – A Best Practice For Sustainable Performance

Machine Safety – where do effective safety cultures roost?

Machine Safety – the myths of safety cultures.

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

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



Contact: 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.
The Engineering Leaders Under 40 program identifies and gives recognition to young engineers who...
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.
Choosing controllers: PLCs, PACs, IPCs, DCS? What's best for your application?; Wireless trends; Design, integration; Manufacturing Day; Product Exclusive
Variable speed drives: Smooth, efficient, electrically quite motion control; Process control upgrades; Mobile intelligence; Product finalists: Vote now; Product Exclusives
Machine design tips: Pneumatic or electric; Software upgrades; Ethernet advantages; Additive manufacturing; Engineering Leaders; Product exclusives: PLC, HMI, IO
This article collection contains the 5 most referenced articles on improving the use of PID.
Learn how Industry 4.0 adds supply chain efficiency, optimizes pricing, improves quality, and more.

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

Cyber security cost-efficient for industrial control systems; Extracting full value from operational data; Managing cyber security risks
Drilling for Big Data: Managing the flow of information; Big data drilldown series: Challenge and opportunity; OT to IT: Creating a circle of improvement; Industry loses best workers, again
Pipeline vulnerabilities? Securing hydrocarbon transit; Predictive analytics hit the mainstream; Dirty pipelines decrease flow, production—pig your line; Ensuring pipeline physical and cyber security