Friday, September 20, 2013

What is a Machine Specific Emergency Plan?


Administrative controls are part of the foundation for an overall safeguarding solution.  One often overlooked administrative control is the Machine Emergency Plan.  Most facilities have emergency plans in place in case of a fire, chemical spill or other plant wide incident.  But do you have specific emergency plans for your machinery?  CSA Z432-04: Safeguarding of Machinery requires precautions for the escape and rescue of trapped persons.


Let’s imagine for example a potentially horrific situation.  An operator using one of your press machines has gotten their arm caught in the machine.  What happens next is very critical.  If it’s a mechanical press, maybe the machine hasn’t stopped at the top of the cycle and has cycled partly again while the operator is trying to load a part.  Do you have the ability to reverse the motor to allow the machine to cycle backwards?  Do you have blocks nearby to block the ram to ensure while lifting that it can’t slip and trap the worker again before they are removed?  Have you asked the right questions for all the things that might be needed for a rescue of the operator?  Your first call might be to emergency responders, but having the procedures documented for an incident still will be needed to provide to them or to assist them.  You know your equipment the best.


Caution, as this example is not being used to outline an exact procedure for an emergency plan.  An emergency plan is unique to a piece of equipment because every piece of equipment can be used differently.  The tools to be used for a rescue might be unique to each piece of equipment.  Jacks that could be used to lift a ram need to be sized for a particular type of equipment.  Your emergency plan should contain not only procedures, but a list of tools that might be required for a rescue.  Also a team should be formed to help draft and execute that plan if needed.  All of the local emergency numbers for outside help (ambulance, fire, etc) should be noted on this plan.


A Machine Emergency Plan starts first with the strategy.  Sit down with your safety committee and the key stakeholders, including operators and maintenance personnel.  Document the plan and review it with the team.  Work through all the possibilities that the team can come up with.  Review the risk assessment to see if the major hazards have been covered.  Next practice that plan, run drills with your team to make sure the plan is understood and everything is in place.  Finally assign a team to the plan.  These could be members of your plant emergency team, or you could have a different team just for machinery emergencies.


Having an emergency plan could make the difference between a minor injury and an amputation or worse.  If you would like to schedule some time with us to talk further about this, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

Posted by Kristin Petaski at 12:39 PM 0 Comments
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