Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Machine Safety Strategy

When we develop our machine safety strategy, the first question is whether we want to focus on risk or compliance.  Both are important and should be considered but take this into consideration.

Risk: Using a risk assessment you’ve identified issues with the process that need improved controls.  You want to install new controls but will need to design and integrate them into the system.

Compliance:  You have the right controls, but they don’t meet a standard or regulation.  You will need to correct them in order to truly say the controls comply.

The challenge with risk is that these are usually longer-term items that require quite a bit of input from operators, maintenance and vendors to ensure the correct application of the controls.  The challenge with compliance is that although required, in most cases they don’t change the risk since the controls were already in place.  When working on a machine safety program its always important to make progress, even if its small improvements every day.  When we aren’t making improvements, it could look to the organization that safety is not important, even though lots of work is happening in the background.

We recommend a hybrid approach where both risk and compliance are filters to select action items to work on.  Compliance are usually more straight forward items with clear scope, and coupled with risk items can be used to demonstrate progress and also show the correct application of the risk items so that end users understand what will be required to install and can give more valuable feedback.


Posted by Kristin Petaski at 7:49 AM 0 Comments

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Summer Machine Safety Checklist

Depending on your industry summer can be a very busy time for production or it may be a chance to clean up and perform maintenance on your equipment while production slows down.  Some of the most important work in maintaining equipment is done now.  Here are some items to look for during this time to ensure your equipment remains safe for your workers throughout the year.

1. Missing Guards:  Check for any missing guards, you may often find them under tables or on shelves.  Sometimes they are removed for service, but occasionally they might have been removed by operations.

TIP TO SUSTAIN: Find out the reason they were not replaced in the first place.  Discipling someone for removing guards is important, but finding out the why to determine how to improve the guarding is an important step. Also, if a guard is being removed for service, we recommend using captive fasteners to ensure the fasteners are not lost during this process.


2. Broken Guards: Inspect the machines for broken or damaged guards.  It’s important to repair damaged guards immediately because holes or openings might allow people to reach the hazards these guards are meant to protect them from. This is also a good time to clean dirty guards. Guard that remain dirty often cause visibility concerns and may result in the guard eventually being removed.

TIP TO SUSTAIN: Has the guard been impacted by material flying off the equipment?  If it has, update your risk assessment and look to eliminate the hazard of flying material or redesign the guard to withstand. Also, if a guard is often dirty and scratched you may want to try laminated glass instead of polycarbonate. It costs a bit more but can be more durable.

 broken mising machine guard

3. Lockout Points: During this time of service, many of the equipment will need to be locked out.  This is a good time to inspect the lockout points and ensure they are working. Broken electrical disconnects and lack of proper lockout equipment are common failures.

TIP TO SUSTAIN: This is a great time to observe a complete lockout of the equipment.  Update your lockout procedures and look for flaws in the process.


4. Machine Controls:  Test out the start/stop and emergency stops.  Make sure they are all working and correctly labelled.  Are they doing what they are supposed to do?

TIP TO SUSTAIN:  Have an operator activate the emergency stop, is it readily accessible, or do they have to think and reach for it. Ensure the button is not shrouded.


This is not a comprehensive list of items to check for, just some tips to get you started.  If you have any questions, or want some help in evaluating your current safeguards feel free to contact us. WESguard now has a built-in inspection tool to help you sustain your machine safeguarding, contact us for a free demo.

Posted by Kristin Petaski at 12:06 PM 0 Comments
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