Machine Safety: Crossing the yellow line

Yellow line theory versus complacency: On a train platform few people cross the yellow line, without any specialized training, yet, in a manufacturing environment, accidents happen regularly after people cross the yellow line and even more formidable barriers. Why?

09/13/2014


Why don’t more people heed the yellow line more often in a manufacturing setting? They do at the train station. Courtesy: Control EngineeringThe "yellow line" in manufacturing has been around for a very long time. But, a "yellow line" is frequently tested in manufacturing versus the "yellow line" on a train platform. Do people understand the "yellow line" theory differently? Both carry high potential hazard levels.

Many of us have stood on a busy train platform and witnessed crowds conforming to standing behind the yellow line (or out of the yellow zone) along the platform, where trains pull in for people to disembark from and board the train. Typically there are no signs, roving police, training, or regulations governing these high-risk areas. The crowds of people are often distracted by children, phones, newspapers, conversations, and occasionally rushing to catch a scheduled train. Yet, very few incidents occur. Let's face it: Those who do accidentally fall over the yellow line into an oncoming train have likely purchased their last tickets. 

Compensation theory

Is this a human risk compensation theory suggesting that people typically adjust their behavior in response to the perceived level of risk?

Industry (in my opinion) has a whole different approach to the "yellow line" theory. I believe that potential known hazards in manufacturing facilities are identified in different ways, primarily via regulations, codes, standards, and company policy. Yellow lines are one way hazards are designated in industry.

Hazards behind the yellow lines in industry are perceived differently than on a train platform. For example, people have jobs running machinery behind the yellow lines along walkways and aisles in manufacturing facilities. Some people are prohibited from crossing these yellow lines, and others are permitted. Those permitted must have special training, in some cases have special personal protective equipment (PPE) protection, and in most cases be an employee with special authorization. Yet, many more incidents occur in comparison to the train platform. [subhead]

Possible answer

Perhaps this human risk compensation theory suggests that people typically adjust behavior (complacency) in response to the perceived level of risk accompanied with frequency of exposure.

These very different characteristics of human behavior need to be considered when setting safety policies. See questions below and post your comments below.

- J.B. Titus, Certified Functional Safety Expert (CFSE), writes the Control Engineering Machine Safety Blog. Edited by Mark T. Hoske, content manager, Control Engineering, mhoske@cfemedia.com.

ONLINE

Editor questions

1) If penalties were more severe in the workplace, would there be fewer accidents? That is, if employees knew that crossing the yellow line once meant they have punched their last time clock for that employer, would that reduce risk?

2) Do employees know what infractions, would result in dismissal?

3) Safety policies; safety markings, signs, and guards; and safety technologies: The greatest of these is...?

Reply in the comments section below.

www.controleng.com/blogs has related machine safety explanations.

ONLINE

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

OSHA — search for near miss

Contact: www.jbtitus.com for "Solutions for Machine Safety."

- See related articles on safety culture below.



The Engineers' Choice Awards highlight some of the best new control, instrumentation and automation products as chosen by Control Engineering subscribers. Vote now (if qualified)!
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.
HMI effectiveness; Distributed I/O; Engineers' Choice Award finalists; System Integrator advice; Inside Machines
Women in engineering; Engineering Leaders Under 40; PID benefits and drawbacks; Ladder logic; Cloud computing
Robotic integration and cloud connections; SCADA and cybersecurity; Motor efficiency standards; Open- and closed-loop control; Augmented reality
Programmable logic controllers (PLCs) represent the logic (decision) part of the control loop of sense, decide, and actuate. As we know, PLCs aren’t the only option for making decisions in a control loop, but they are likely why you’re here.
This digital report explains how motion control advances and solutions can help with machine control, automated control on assembly lines, integration of robotics and automation, and machine safety.
This article collection contains several articles on how advancements in vision system designs, computing power, algorithms, optics, and communications are making machine vision more cost effective than ever before.

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

Control room technology innovation; Practical approaches to corrosion protection; Pipeline regulator revises quality programs
Cloud, mobility, and remote operations; SCADA and contextual mobility; Custom UPS empowering a secure pipeline
Infrastructure for natural gas expansion; Artificial lift methods; Disruptive technology and fugitive gas emissions
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.
The Engineers' Choice Awards highlight some of the best new control, instrumentation and automation products as chosen by Control Engineering subscribers. Vote now (if qualified)!
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.
HMI effectiveness; Distributed I/O; Engineers' Choice Award finalists; System Integrator advice; Inside Machines
Women in engineering; Engineering Leaders Under 40; PID benefits and drawbacks; Ladder logic; Cloud computing
Robotic integration and cloud connections; SCADA and cybersecurity; Motor efficiency standards; Open- and closed-loop control; Augmented reality
Programmable logic controllers (PLCs) represent the logic (decision) part of the control loop of sense, decide, and actuate. As we know, PLCs aren’t the only option for making decisions in a control loop, but they are likely why you’re here.
This digital report explains how motion control advances and solutions can help with machine control, automated control on assembly lines, integration of robotics and automation, and machine safety.
This article collection contains several articles on how advancements in vision system designs, computing power, algorithms, optics, and communications are making machine vision more cost effective than ever before.

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

Control room technology innovation; Practical approaches to corrosion protection; Pipeline regulator revises quality programs
Cloud, mobility, and remote operations; SCADA and contextual mobility; Custom UPS empowering a secure pipeline
Infrastructure for natural gas expansion; Artificial lift methods; Disruptive technology and fugitive gas emissions
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.
The Engineers' Choice Awards highlight some of the best new control, instrumentation and automation products as chosen by Control Engineering subscribers. Vote now (if qualified)!
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.
HMI effectiveness; Distributed I/O; Engineers' Choice Award finalists; System Integrator advice; Inside Machines
Women in engineering; Engineering Leaders Under 40; PID benefits and drawbacks; Ladder logic; Cloud computing
Robotic integration and cloud connections; SCADA and cybersecurity; Motor efficiency standards; Open- and closed-loop control; Augmented reality
Programmable logic controllers (PLCs) represent the logic (decision) part of the control loop of sense, decide, and actuate. As we know, PLCs aren’t the only option for making decisions in a control loop, but they are likely why you’re here.
This digital report explains how motion control advances and solutions can help with machine control, automated control on assembly lines, integration of robotics and automation, and machine safety.
This article collection contains several articles on how advancements in vision system designs, computing power, algorithms, optics, and communications are making machine vision more cost effective than ever before.

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

Control room technology innovation; Practical approaches to corrosion protection; Pipeline regulator revises quality programs
Cloud, mobility, and remote operations; SCADA and contextual mobility; Custom UPS empowering a secure pipeline
Infrastructure for natural gas expansion; Artificial lift methods; Disruptive technology and fugitive gas emissions
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