Friday, April 15, 2016

Leading Indicators for Machine Safety

Most companies might have lagging indicators for measuring machine safety.  They measure lost time injuries from machine incidents, or improvement orders issued for machine safety.  These are important to measure, but at this point these measurements generate reactive actions.

What are some leading indicators for machine safety?  What information should we be looking at to generate proactive actions in machine safety?  This month’s blog will talk about leading indicators for proactive machine safety.

What is the difference between a leading and a lagging indicator?  Simply put, lagging indicators measure something that has already happened, and leading indicators measure something that predict a future different indicator.  For machine safety we are looking for indicators that we can measure that will help predict the likelihood of machine incidents down the road.  So let’s look at a few places for leading indicators.

Risk Assessments:  Do you have risk assessments for each piece of equipment?  Are they task specific to generate an overall risk picture for that machine.  Risk assessments help determine total risk in the organization.  That total risk score is one measurement as a leading indicator.  But it can be used in multiple other ways to isolate higher risk areas of the organization to focus efforts on.

Inspections:  When safeguarding is put in place, how often is it inspected?  What are the quantity and completion percentage of those inspections?  Regular inspection of safeguarding is an important aspect of a machine safety program.  Near misses for incidents are always important to review, but also look for near misses with safeguarding.  When looking at safeguarding items like fences or fixed guards, are they damaged?  This could indicate they safeguarding might not have been designed to handle certain hazards.

% Engineered Controls:  Every safeguarding plan is made up of a combination of administrative, awareness and engineered controls.  But what % of your plan, or machines have engineered controls?  The kind that prevent access to hazards, or stop hazardous motion when an individual enters a hazard zone.  Not that every machine requires engineered controls, the risk assessment determines that, but how much of you plan relies on people doing everything just right to avoid a serious incident.

 

If you ever want to discuss leading indicators for your machine safety plan, don’t hesitate to contact us.

Posted by Kristin Petaski at 4:57 PM 0 Comments