Monday, June 10, 2019

Asset Management Strongly Linked to Safety Culture

We had the privilege of spending Friday with a wonderful group of asset management professions in Winnipeg and we were pleased to find that safety was a key topic that repeatedly came up in presentations and discussions throughout the day. PEMAC stands for “Plant Engineering Maintenance Association of Canada”, and is a not for profit association providing global leadership, education and certification in maintenance, reliability and asset management practices. They launched a Winnipeg chapter in 2017 and held their first event, the Asset Management Manitoba Summit (AMMS) to a sold-out crowd on Friday at the Viscount Gort. There were numerous presentations and panel discussions covering topics such as IOT, CMMS, supply chain, risk management and asset life cycle.

Kristin was invited to speak on a panel discussion about overcoming risks facing manufacturing companies along with Richard Reid (Supply Chain Management Association), Bob Latino (Reliability Center Inc), Rob Kalwarowsky (Rob’s Reliability Project) and Roma Thorlakson (Roma Thorlakson Executive Search). The discussion centred around managing risk through a proactive approach and focusing on soft skill development to aid in selling your priorities to upper management.

A proactive safety/maintenance/planning culture where current state is well-documented, priorities are identified, and action is taken not out of a forced necessity but out of a desire to be world-class will result in a strong business and a culture that values its people. In a competitive industry where the attraction and retention of good, qualified workers is imperative, centering your organization around valuing your employees is a necessity and will result in the most successful business model.

A strong theme throughout the discussion was the importance of being able to sell your ideas. In an environment where production and throughput are paramount, it can be difficult to take the time to be proactive in maintenance planning and risk reduction. However, we all know that by not taking that time now, you will set yourself up for failure in the long-term. Having the technical skills to know what needs to be done to maintain your assets is just as imperative as knowing how to sell those philosophies to the decision-makers. Growing your communication skills and using persuasive visual tools can help you achieve your goals.

The day rounded-off with a delicious dinner and comedic entertainment. We would like to thank PEMAC Winnipeg Chapter for an enjoyable day and look forward to seeing everyone at the next event.

Overcomming risks facing manufacturing companies

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

NAOSH Week Success Story: Decor Cabinets

Décor Cabinets put on an amazing week of events of activities and speakers.  While we were at Décor we talked about machine audits using WESguard.  We looked at how risk assessments work and talked about an important concept of how to use the Hierarchy of Controls.

People often start at the bottom of the Hierarchy of Controls.  They start with Personal Protective Equipment.  If you know the Hierarchy of Controls, the effectiveness decreases as you move down the chart.  Why do we do that, because sometimes it’s the easiest solution to implement.  Someone is encountering a hazard, we want to protect them, and we want to do it quick.  Nothing wrong with this call to action, but sometimes in can lead to more work than we originally think.



But think of this cycle.  We get the PPE, now we need to size, train and upkeep the PPE.  We then write a procedure, that needs to be reviewed, trained, and signed off.  We get awareness stickers that wear off, and we devote resources to designing guards and other safeguarding item We make drawings and test and build prototypes.

What if we took the time to figure out if we can eliminate or substitute the hazard?  Then it is gone, and what do we need to do to sustain that?  Not much, just keep our risk assessment up to date.  Easier said then done sometimes, but worth the effort for the dramatic difference in effort to sustain.

Think about this the next time you tackle a problem.  Also check out


Monday, April 01, 2019

Machine Specific Lockout Procedures

Machine Specific Lockout Procedures exist because every piece of equipment is different.  Operators, Maintenance and other workers that interact with the equipment need to know step by step how to safely isolate energy and prevent machine incidents.

The procedures should include a diagram showing the location of each lockout point and pictures of how to lockout each energy source. Operators should be trained on the specific lockout procedures for their own equipment and the procedures should be posted at the machine for quick and easy reference.

The general steps in a lock out procedure should include:

1.       Proper shut down of the equipment,

2.       Isolate the energy sources,

3.       Apply a lock to all energy sources,

4.       Relieve any stored energy from the equipment, and

5.      Verify that the lock out is effective. 

Machine specific lock out procedures are beneficial for a number of reasons:

1.       Provide visual instruction which is beneficial for all employees but especially for those of whom English is not their first language.

2.       Clearly indicate where all lock out points are located.

3.       Describe how to properly verify that the energy is isolated.

4.       Ensure that ALL lock out points are addressed. Some machines have multiple energy sources that could be easily missed.

Contact us with any questions about Machine Specific Lockout.

Monday, March 11, 2019

Risk Reduction Case Study: Monarch Industries

Check out our risk reduction case study with Monarch Industries in the March edition of Prairie Manufacturer Magazine!

Go to article.

machine risk assessment with online app

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Are You at Risk for a Machine-Related Incident?

Many workplaces wrongly believe that they do not have any issues with machine safety. These are the organizations that are surprised and ill-prepared when an incident occurs, or they are issued an improvement order from Workplace Safety and Health. Some workplaces know that they have high risks but believe that machine safety programs are too time-consuming and costly to manage.

      Here are a few questions that you can ask yourself to determine if your workplace is at risk for a machinery-related incident.

  1. Do you rely heavily on awareness controls and training to keep your workers safe around equipment?
  2. Do you believe that if you purchase a new machine it will come with all the required safeguards?
  3. Do have workers who work on equipment that do not understand energy control (lockout)?
  4. Do you have machines that do not have task-based risk assessments?
  5. If there was a problem with a guard, would an operator or supervisor remove it and continue working without proper consultation?

      If you answered YES to any of the above questions, you are at a much higher chance of experiencing a machine-related injury at your workplace. The good news is, machine safety programs do not have to be complicated or time-consuming. Here are a few simple things you can do to get started today.

  1. Have an inventory of the equipment in your workplace.
  2. Identify your highest risk machines based on severity and probability of injury.
  3. Determine proper safeguarding controls through the development of a task-based risk assessment.

If you would like some help or advice on any of these recommendations, contact us today at or visit

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