Friday, March 23, 2018

Critical Item : Operating Stations

Operating Stations contain controls that make machinery perform the function it was designed for.  Here are some areas that need to be considered.


Operator don’t have adequate vision of the process they are controlling:  They can’t see problems form and address them before a larger issue occurs.

Controls are not comfortably located: Ergonomic issues are caused by operators reaching or standing at operating stations for long periods of time.

Access to hazardous parts of the mechanism when accessing controls:  Larger hazards of the equipment can be accessed when approaching Operating Stations.

Accidental Activation of foot controls:  These controls are not shrouded and can be activated inadvertently.


Adequately Positioned Controls

No access to hazardous parts of transfer mechanisms, conveyors

Shrouded Foot Controls, or otherwise arranged to prevent accidental activation


CSA Z432-16: Safeguarding of Machinery, Section 7.11


Thursday, March 08, 2018

State of Equipment in Manitoba

      Are you confident in the state of safeguarding on your equipment? If faced with an inspection from the province or an investigation after an injury, would you stand behind the level of safety controls on each of your machines? We often hear people tell us that their machines are all safe and properly guarded. However, the reality is that the majority of machines that we see are lacking proper guarding and leaving workers at risk for injury.

      We can categorize equipment into four states of machine safety compliance. Read below to learn the four states and see if you can identify where your equipment belongs.

  1. Missing guards – These machines have no guarding or are missing guards around key hazards.
  2. Guards are inadequate for the risk level – It is important that guarding is selected through the risk assessment process. When this step is missed, it is common to see guards that do not sufficiently protect workers. An example of this is using an awareness chain or guard rail to restrict access to a machine instead of using a perimeter fence.
  3. Guards are not designed to meet CSA requirements – Sometimes, the appropriate type of guard is chosen, but the design is lacking which leaves the worker exposed to hazards. Therefore, you may have fixed guards that are not properly secured in place or light curtains that are installed too close to the hazard.
  4. Machines are properly guarded This state is most likely achieved when a risk assessment has been performed, guarding methods are chosen by starting at the top of the hierarchy of controls and guards are designed using CSA Z432 specifications. 

Do you have a good understanding of where your machines fall in this list? WESguard is a web application which makes the process of identifying and categorizing your equipment easy and affordable. With a built-in inventory tracker, simple machine-specific safety audit and an easy-to-use risk assessment tool, ensuring your workers are safe has never been easier.

For more information visit and jump start your machine safety program today.

State of Equipment in Manitoba

*These are not verified statistics, only a representation of what we generally see on a daily basis

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Becoming a Machine Safety Expert

Becoming a machine safety expert seems daunting at first, that maybe its too technical for the average person, that maybe there is just too much to know.  But here are some keys to helping become a machine safety expert.

1.       Know the Standards and Regulations:  Its important to know what the standards and regulations that apply to you are.  If you are working to bring equipment up to compliance you need to know.  But more importantly, if you know what they are, you can make sure new machines come compliant.  Put the onus on the supplier to make sure they are compliant.

2.       Know how to do a risk assessment:  This is one of the most important skills in machine safety expertise, and anyone can do a risk assessment with some training.  It’s the due diligence needed to ensure that the machine safety plan is solid.

3.       Know the hierarchy of controls:  Know what controls fit into each category.  Know which ones are the most effective.  We often see controls selected that are not adequate for the risk.

4.       Know how to design and implement controls:  This is where the CSA Z432-16 standard becomes very valuable.  Once you have selected a control (like a light curtain).  The standard helps establish the design and implementation rules for that device.

5.       Know how to manage your machine safety system: Nothing can be more frustrating than putting all the safeguards in place, then checking back in a week, and they are all on the floor.  Training and Inspections are important tools to ensure things stay in place.

6.       Get help when you need it:  No one can know everything.  Even we get help sometimes.  If you have a risk assessment done, it can focus that help to ensure you are wasting money getting help with things you already know. 

 Contact us anytime [email protected] or check out to see what we can do to help make you a machine safety expert.

Wednesday, January 31, 2018


Do you have equipment at your workplace? Have you identified and controlled all the hazards to ensure your workers are safe? Join us as we partner with Made Safe for a free webinar on February 15 to learn how to save yourself time and money by easily identifying and solving machinery hazards. Click here for more information and to register today!

machine guarding app      made safe machine guarding

Monday, January 15, 2018

Help with Risk Assessments

A risk assessment is a way to assign a quantity to an estimation of risk.  It lets you clearly state the assumptions and uncertainties that are involved with a process.  This is helpful in determining what level of control is needed to mitigate that risk.  Risk can never be zero, but we constantly work to make it a manageable or level of acceptable risk.

When we complete a risk assessment, the important considerations are:

1.       What are the activities and tasks being performed?

2.       What are the hazards associated with those tasks, what is the cause of that hazard?

3.       We want to assign a value to the severity of injury from that hazard.

4.       We want to assign a value to frequency of exposure to that hazard.

5.       We want to assign a value to the probability of avoidance to that hazard.

There is no set system for how those values are determined.  Its important that its defined and understood by all the scorers.  In many systems the severity drives the scoring and could have higher values as the consequences escalate.

If we have done that, still some work remains.

6.       What are the current controls for those hazards?

7.       What are the values for severity, frequency and avoidance when those controls are in place?

With all of this, we have a better picture of the risk associated with a process or piece of equipment.  With that due diligence in front of us, as we set down the path.

If you would like to have some help, please see our offer in our newsletter and contact us.