Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Do You Know How to Recognize Hazards? . . . Are You Sure?

The first step in understanding machine guarding is first recognizing the need for the guards themselves. This may sound over simplified, but over the years we have discovered that this is an understanding that is often over-looked. We spend a lot of time educating others on how to choose the best types of controls, but if the hazard is not even recognized in the first place you’ll never even get to the step of selecting a guard for it. Many of us have spent so many years in the same industry that we don’t even recognize hazards that are staring us right in the face. We get complacent and comfortable working beside that spinning chuck every day that we forget it is even a possibility to get entangled in it. We are taught right out of school how to work safely alongside these hazards and forget that they are even hazards at all.

So how do we change this mentality? How can we be confident in knowing that not only have we controlled the hazards in the workplace, but that we have identified them all to begin with? Below is a list of ideas to help you identify hazards at your workplace. 

  1. Perform a risk assessment for every machine, even if it is similar to other machines, the hazards may be a bit different.
  2. Get many people from different disciplines involved, everyone will have a different perspective.
  3. Have a third-party participate in your risk assessment, someone that is not used to working in that area may find hazards that you have become accustomed to.
  4. Don’t just look at the point-of-operation of the machine, look at it from every side and every angle.
  5. Look at all parts that move, and don’t stop there. Look also for electrical hazards and health hazards.
  6. Consider all tasks related to the equipment such as changeovers, maintenance and cleaning, not only normal operation tasks.

Looking for some help to identify hazards and implement controls at your workplace? Let us help you by starting off with a Machine Hazard Audit!

Posted by Kristin Petaski at 7:41 PM 0 Comments