Friday, October 21, 2016

"But it's not mandatory"

Recently at my daughter’s ringette practice our coach (who is a dentist) brought up the need for mouth guards.  She explained the benefits of the mouth guard, and related a story of a child who had cracked a tooth at practice the year before.  We already had one for our daughter (my wife works at a dental office) but this reinforced our decision.  We left feeling good that we had done something to reduce risk with our child and their activity.

At next week’s practice, the coach needed to stand up and make a clarification.  Mouth guards were not mandatory as per league rules, but they were still a good practice.  Another parent had looked up the rules and regulations and corrected the coach before the practice.  I could tell the coach was uncomfortable delivering this message, but she gave it, but also related the possible hazards of not using a mouth guard (tooth damage, concussion) and the relatively small cost of acquiring one.  She relayed this message with conviction, but she had to preface it with “but its not mandatory”.  That really stuck with me.

We can all understand the need to meet the basic requirements, and no one wants to spend money on something that may not be necessary.  In industry there is a litany of rules and regulations that need to be followed, and some days we are just trying to keep up with all of them and the changes.  Knowing your rules and regulations as they relate to safety is an important requirement, but sometimes we just need to take a step back and evaluate risk.  We need to understand where that risk is, and what we can do about it.  When that aligns with rules and regulations, that is great, but if it means implementing a best practice and not a requirement, lets not let that stop us.  The unfortunate truth is that the reason most things become requirements is that a history of incidents creates that need.  It’s a requirement to wear seat belts in a motor vehicle because of the history of fatal accidents involving not wearing them.

In this case, we evaluated the risk to our daughter, researched the relatively small cost of a mouth guard, and implemented something that reduced risk.  And many other parents in the room had done the same thing without ever reviewing what the official rules and regulations were.

The message is not that rules and regulations should not be reviewed and evaluated, that’s an important part of this process.  But always be reviewing risk and looking for opportunities to reduce it.

Posted by Kristin Petaski at 7:19 AM 0 Comments

Wednesday, October 05, 2016

Can Your Machines Start Automatically?


Have you ever been in a scenario where you or someone you know was working on a machine and it lost power? This could happen for a number of reasons: power outage, machine overload, disconnected plug or accidental trip of a breaker. If you don’t know why the machine shut off, what would be your first reaction? Could it be to open up the machine and investigate? Perhaps walk away until the issue is resolved? But what happens when the power is restored? If the machine has not been designed with power outage protection, it may start up automatically. Think of the potential serious outcomes of a machine starting up unexpectedly. Best-case scenario is that no one is inside the machine and someone notices and turns it off. Worst-case scenario is catastrophic.

CSA Standard Z432-04: Safeguarding of Machinery Section states that machines must have a means to prevent automatic restart when it is re-energized following an interruption in the energy supply. This can be attained by the use of self-maintained relays, contactors or valves.

power outage protection

There is a simple way to test if your machines have power outage protection. With the machine on and running pull the plug or turn off the disconnect, once the machine has come to a stop turn on the disconnect or plug the machine back in and take note if it starts back up again on its own. Common machines that are often missing power outage protection are small, manual machines such as band saws, table saws, drill presses and grinders.

Want more information on power outage protection or other machine hazards? Give us a call!

Posted by Kristin Petaski at 4:16 PM 0 Comments
Risk assessments made easy.
The #1 factor in an effective machine safety program.
Learn more WESguard - The machine guarding tracker - Workplace Safety - Workplace Safety Equipment - Workplace Engineering Solutions