Machine Safety: Protection is better than a cure

Can protection be an effective strategy for machine safety or does industry need a cure for hazards to protect employees? Here's why this questions should be asked daily.

01/14/2013


Can protection be an effective strategy for machine safety or does industry need a cure for hazards to protect employees? Is this even a fair question?

 

In my opinion it is a fair question and one that should be asked every day. Here’s why!

 

First, every potential and existing hazard needs to be identified. Secondly, every identified hazard must be evaluated, scored, mitigated to an acceptable level and documented. This is called the risk assessment process. Throughout this process for each hazard various measures are applied as individual “protections” in order to reduce the likelihood, severity and/or frequency of injury. At some point after all potential protections have been applied a determination is made that acceptable risk has been achieved. And, for this hazard, it can be absolutely be known that some risk still exists. This level of risk is called residual risk.

 

For any given machine there are typically several hazards. The first consideration for any hazard is to eliminate that hazard by “designing it out”. If you are successful at eliminating this one hazard you could possibly consider that one measure a “cure”. However, that one cure will not eliminate the other hazards on this machine. The goal is to achieve a net effect of reducing all risks/hazards on a machine using the Hierarchy of Measures shown below. This process is designed to achieve acceptable risk levels for all hazards on a machine. 

 

The Hierarchy of measures are as follows:

1.) Eliminate the hazard – design it out

2.) Isolate the hazard with hard guarding

3.) Add additional engineering, guards, devices, or layers of safety

4.) Administrative controls like – training, signage, assessments, etc.

5.) Personal protective equipment (PPE) like - goggles, gloves, outer clothing, shields, etc.

 

In conclusion, would you agree that an effective risk reduction strategy includes a combination of “protections” and “cures” for each and every hazard on a machine? An effective analogy for most of us would be air travel. Just think, if the best engineers and innovators developed a solution that eliminated tires going flat during flight, would that be a cure for all hazards of flying? Obviously – no! In fact, every day we all experience residual risk – in various forms!

 

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:

Machine Guarding & The Hierarchy of Measures for Hazard Mitigation

Machine Safety – does OSHA reference consensus standards for compliance?

Machine Safety: Is OSHA okay with my 'acceptable' risk mitigation?

Machine Safety – consequences of not performing risk assessments!

 

 

Contact: http://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.