Machine Safety: Where do effective safety cultures roost?

An improved safety culture, advocated at the business level with engineering input, can bring about faster implementation of proven machine safety technologies, improving safety and adding economic value.

09/07/2012


An improved safety culture, advocated at the business level with engineering input, can bring about faster adoption of proven machine safety technologies, improving safety, and adding economic value. Courtesy: JB Titus & Associates

Sometimes, when new life rushes onto the factory floor via machine safety technology innovation, we have a “ta-dah” moment of realization about organizational effectiveness or the lack thereof!

 

There has been a very interesting discussion playing out on the LinkedIn Safety Automation Forum regarding safety cultures. This discussion was kicked off by Steve Ludwig (Rockwell Automation) and his highlighting of an article written by Cynthia Carroll, CEO of Anglo American plc, titled “The CEO of Anglo American on Getting Serious About Safety.” The discussion and article are, in my mind, centered around two very distinctive organizational camps I have witnessed in industry over the past 40-plus years. Those two camps are what I call “business talk” and “engineering talk.” And, most often it’s the business talk group which runs a company, establishes company vision, lays out the short and long term goals and objectives, and establishes the industrial safety policy. In other words, the business talk group follows top-down methodologies for running the business.

 

The engineering talk group is that part of the business that provides solutions and methodologies that implement the business talk. Engineering talk seldom sets or influences the setting of safety policy via bottom up approaches. However, they are the group usually most interested in innovative new ways to meet the corporate requirements established by the business talk within a company. With this said, it’s my opinion that the engineering talk camp generally will not engage in corporate wide adoption of innovative new safety technology by themselves. The engineering talk group is almost always the early adopter of new safety solutions but, as this graph illustrates, approximately 85% of the marketplace waits for company wide adoption before moving ahead. So, what’s the answer to facilitating earlier adoption?

 

The answer, in my opinion, is that a company’s business case for innovative new safety technology needs to be integrated with the business talk of a company. Only then do the executives of a company become aware of a paradigm shift in machine safety that improves productivity, reduces unplanned downtime and offers additional profits to the bottom line.

 

A recent Aberdeen Group study of more than 120 executives revealed that when executives understand that innovative new machine safety solutions are available offering opportunities for increased profitability – corporate strategies and safety policy begin to shift.

J.B. Titus, CFSE

 

A positive shift in safety policy occurs when I have witnessed a company’s “effective safety culture” in action, moving to company wide adoption of the new safety technology.

 

There are lots of opinions on this subject but it’s been my experience that truly effective safety cultures roost at the top. Johnson & Johnson is one of these companies emphasizing employee safety in the Johnson & Johnson Corporate Credo.

 

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: Where do effective safety cultures roost?

 

Related articles:

Designing In Machine Guarding

How To Integrate Safety

Safety Automation Forum

The CEO of Anglo American on Getting Serious About Safety

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.
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.
Salary and career survey: Benchmarks and advice; Designing controls; Remote data collection, historians; Control valve advances; Hannover Messe; Control Engineering International
System integration: Best practices and technologies to help; Virtualization virtues; Cyber security advice; Motor system efficiency, savings; Product exclusives; Road to Hannover
Collaborative robotics: How to improve safety, return on investment; Industrial Internet of Things, Industrie 4.0: World views; High-performance HMI, Information Integration: OPC and OMG
This article collection contains several articles on the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and how it is transforming manufacturing.
PLCs, robots, and the quest for a single controller; how OEE is key to automation solutions.

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

Getting to the bottom of subsea repairs: Older pipelines need more attention, and operators need a repair strategy; OTC preview; Offshore production difficult - and crucial
Digital oilfields: Integrated HMI/SCADA systems enable smarter data acquisition; Real-world impact of simulation; Electric actuator technology prospers in production fields
Special report: U.S. natural gas; LNG transport technologies evolve to meet market demand; Understanding new methane regulations; Predictive maintenance for gas pipeline compressors
click me