Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Risk Reduction Strategies

The new CSA Z432-16 Standard: Safeguarding of Machinery outlines a strategy for risk reduction.  It involves working through a process to attack risk reduction and its an approach with a lot of merit.  You may have gone after risk reduction in a different way thinking it was “easier”.  Sometimes the easy way is secretly the hard way.

CSA Z432-16 outlines a strategy for risk reduction (see Clause 6) that calls for:

1. Inherently Safe Design Methods.

2. Safeguarding and/or complementary protective measures.

3. Information for use. 

Basically, it outlines a process to work through the hierarchy of controls and start from the top.  That means first looking to eliminate or substitute the hazard.  Working from the bottom of the hierarchy of controls could be starting with Personal Protective Equipment.  The first thought might be, well working from the bottom (PPE), that’s the easiest way to reduce risk, why wouldn’t we start there?  Eliminating or substituting the hazard, that’s going to be a lot of work to figure that out, if its even possible.

Let’s stop for a moment and see if that really is the case.  For example, if we identify a crush or pinch hazard at a piece of equipment.  The “easy” way might be just to give the worker PPE or training and be done with it.  To take the time to figure out how to eliminate the hazard may seem hard, but perhaps only if you aren’t doing a risk assessment and involving the right people.  Take into consideration that if you eliminate a pinch or crush (by changing the force or pressure, or extending a gap so there is no pinch), look how easy that is to sustain.  Its eliminated!  If you go the “easy” route, you need to select the right PPE, do training, monitor and discipline when not in use, and even more difficult, if its determined not to be able to reduce the risk, you need to start all over and find another solution!

In summary, get the right people involved with a risk assessment and go after risk reduction as the standard outlines.  You will find that what you perceived as the hard way can be the easiest to sustain.  Those easy ways secretly become hard when the true effort to implement is realized.  Need help with this approach, feel free to contact us.

Posted by Kristin Petaski at 10:32 AM 0 Comments