Monday, March 28, 2016

Pneumatic Lockout Valves

When we are helping a client develop their machine lockout policy and procedures, we always take note of opportunities to make their procedures stronger. One that often comes up in conversation is pneumatic shut-off valves.

Common issues with locking out pneumatic energy sources are:

1.       Shut-off valve is located in the ceiling. This makes it very difficult for an employee to reach the valve and lock it out.

2.       Shut-off valve does not exist for the machine, or affects multiple machines. It is less likely to be locked out if it causes other machines to shut-down in the process.

3.       There is no lock box available. The standard shut-off valve does not have a lockout point, usually lock boxes are required to properly lock them out. These are often not easily accessible.

4.       It is unknown how to bleed-off excess air in the lines. This is extremely important, residual air pressure can cause machine parts to move unexpectedly.

Being aware of these challenges and putting procedures in place to ensure locking out pneumatic sources is easy to do is important if you want your employees to follow the rules. One product that we highly recommend is an all-in-one bleed-off and lockout valve. These valves bleed off all residual pressure in the air lines and accept a lock in the off position only. They ensure that the air is locked out properly and effectively.

Posted by Kristin Petaski at 7:35 PM 0 Comments

Friday, March 11, 2016

Testing your Emergency Stops

Are you certain that all of your emergency stop buttons are compliant and working?  Emergency Stop buttons are an important component of machine safety.  While they are not considered a safeguarding device, since they do not prevent access to a hazard, they are often a necessary and required control on machinery.

CSA requirements.

1.  Emergency stops shall override all other machine controls and cause all moving parts to stop,

2.  Emergency stops shall be red, mushroom head style,

3.  Emergency stops shall have a yellow background,

4.  Emergency stops shall be unguarded and easily accessible, and

5.  Emergency stops shall require manual re-setting and shall not initiate a cycle start.

Other than the physical features, you want to periodically test your emergency stops to ensure they are working.  One very critical test is to push the emergency stop (it should stay depressed) and see what happens.  What stopped, is anything still moving?  Secondly manually reset the stop and see what happens.  Does the equipment start right back up again?  This would be an important warning sign that something is wrong.  This is by no means all the testing you should do, but it’s a test that can identify problems that need a deeper analysis.  Contact us for more help with emergency stops.

Posted by Kristin Petaski at 7:00 AM 0 Comments
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