Machine Safety: Near-miss events and residual risk

Are near-miss events and residual risk related when it comes to machine safety? Is there a machine guarding requirement specified for near-miss events?

09/11/2013


For machine safety are there any commonalities between near-miss events and residual risk? Do near-miss events have a machine guarding requirement? There is nothing in common. In fact, residual risk is fully covered in standards. I cannot find any standards coverage for near-miss events.

I recently read an article in Professional Safety (May 2013) titled: Near-Miss Reporting, A Missing Link in Safety Culture by Mike Williamsen, Caterpillar Safety Services. Given my background in machine safety and standards this article caused me to think about near-miss accountability and machine guarding. As I look back over time and ask the question, what machine safety standard has provided any guidelines for prevention of near-miss events? In fact, what standard has even mentioned the words – “near-miss”? Due to this absence, does it mean that near-miss events must be considered too vague for machine safety standards or risk assessment standards to provide meaningful guidance? Is near-miss protection for employees totally left up to the mind set of management?

I have looked into this subject and it seems that near-miss protection is left to a company’s “safety culture” as to how well it’s developed and ingrained into the safety practice. So far, I’ve not found a standard that provides any coverage for near-miss events. OSHA, on the other hand, does provide a definition for near-miss events: An event that does not result in an injury or damage. It is important to record and investigate near-misses to identify weaknesses in the safety and SHMS [health management system] that could possibly lead to an injury or damage.

However, aside from calling out the need to have a reporting format to record and elevate near-miss events, there doesn’t seem to be an OSHA regulation establishing requirements or enforcement details.

So, is it correct to assume that a near-miss event practice is to be called out in a company’s safety policy manual for the protection of employees? Or, maybe it’s a requirement for some companies because it’s written into agreements with their union? Yet others may have a near-miss program because of an injury settlement. Is this sounding all too familiar to most of you? Is it only due-diligence?

Can anybody share with us an approved standard or regulation covering near-miss events? And, what about the reporting forms?

Has this presented you with any new perspectives? Add your comments or thoughts to the discussion by submitting your ideas, experiences, and challenges in the comments section below.

 

J.B. Titus, CFSE

Related articles:

ASSE - Professional Safety Journal- Near-Miss Reporting, May 2013

OSHA – search for near miss

Control Engineering article: Process risk assessment uses big data

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

 



JON , NV, United States, 09/23/13 08:53 PM:

Our company has used Near-Miss reports for years now. They are filled out and then distributed to the other plants so that they can see if they might have a simular hazard. After the Near-Miss we discuss the potential it has to cause serious harm and create a short term and long term solution. A standard form is used to keep it simple, user friendly, and photos are always attached. But again, to your point, there is no official regulation. Just a strict company policy.
JB , GA, United States, 10/29/13 06:43 AM:

Jon - great to hear that best practices prevail at your Company's safety culture.
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.
The Engineering Leaders Under 40 program identifies and gives recognition to young engineers who...
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.
Learn how to create value with re-use; gain productivity with lean automation and connectivity, and optimize panel design and construction.
Go deep: Automation tackles offshore oil challenges; Ethernet advice; Wireless robotics; Product exclusives; Digital edition exclusives
Lost in the gray scale? How to get effective HMIs; Best practices: Integrate old and new wireless systems; Smart software, networks; Service provider certifications
Fixing PID: Part 2: Tweaking controller strategy; Machine safety networks; Salary survey and career advice; Smart I/O architecture; Product exclusives
The Ask Control Engineering blog covers all aspects of automation, including motors, drives, sensors, motion control, machine control, and embedded systems.
Look at the basics of industrial wireless technologies, wireless concepts, wireless standards, and wireless best practices with Daniel E. Capano of Diversified Technical Services Inc.
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
This is a blog from the trenches – written by engineers who are implementing and upgrading control systems every day across every industry.
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.

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

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.