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

Posted by Kristin Petaski at 8:56 AM 0 Comments

Friday, May 20, 2016

Machine Safety with New and Young Workers

Summertime is close and many organizations are preparing to bring on some help for a potential busier period.  One of the most vulnerable groups when it comes to machine safety is new and young workers.  Let’s talk in this month’s blog about how to prepare for that.

Some common habits contribute to this.  New and young workers may not ask questions about the work they are performing and the hazards of the equipment they may be using.  They may be nervous with the new job and worried that asking questions may make them look bad.  Understanding the hazards of equipment is a critical part of the machine safeguarding process.  Employers have the habit of assuming that because new and young workers don’t ask questions that means they understand all of their work and the hazards that come with it.  That can be a false assumption.    They are an important group because even though they may start out as helpers on machines, they hopefully grow one day to be your main operators. Here are some tips that may help your new and young workers when it comes to machine safety.

Safeguarding Controls: Ensure that your machines are guarded to meet CSA Z432-04 standards. Strong safeguarding controls are the most effective way to protect workers against hazards on your machines.

Training:  Even though they may not be hired to operate the machinery, make sure new and young workers used as helpers have the same training as operators on the hazards of operating the equipment they are assisting on.  Walk them through the safe work procedures and highlight hazards, safeguards that are in place and the safe operation of the equipment.  This can also be an important time to review your risk assessment for that equipment and determine if safeguards are in place to protect them.

Orientation Checklists: Develop a checklist for supervisors specifically for new and young workers.  Inform the supervisor group of the tendency for these workers not to come out and ask questions, so have them check and ask them questions to ensure they understand the hazards of equipment and safeguards in place.

Visuals: Work to have your training materials more visual, with pictures demonstrating hazards and safeguards in place rather than words.  Pictures can be a much more effective way to communicate.  New and young workers can review these procedures and identify safeguards that are meant to be in place and determine if they are there, or have been removed.  Make sure all awareness decaling on machinery is kept up to date.  If the decals that show the hazards have worn off, replace them.  The primary operators may have remembered what the decaling was for, but new workers will not.


Hopefully these tips can help, and let us know if you have any other tips or ideas.

Posted by Kristin Petaski at 6:50 AM 1 Comments
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