Friday, October 27, 2017

Procurement Checklist

The procurement process should include:

1.   Specifying your local safeguarding requirements during the Request for Proposal (RFP) process,

2.   Review of safeguards proposed with machine and development of a risk assessment,

3.    Inclusion of all requirements in the purchase agreement and

4.    Assessment of all machine hazards and safeguarding controls during a final machine run-off prior to completing the installation process.  

Some detailed questions to ask to help review the safeguards:

1. What is the point of operation control, what is protecting the operators?

2. How can third parties interact with the equipment, what is protecting them?

3. What are the service, setup and cleaning tasks?  Do they require the safeguards to be bypassed?

4. Are the guards located at a safe distance taking into consideration the stopping time of the machine?

4. Are all safeguards run through a control reliable safety circuit?

5. Are all emergency stops red, mushroom style with a yellow background and self-latching?

This isn’t a complete list, every piece of equipment is different, this is a great starting point for the discussion.  Looking at purchasing a new piece of equipment?  Give us a call for a more detailed look at the proposal for safeguarding.


Friday, September 29, 2017

Critical Item: Power Transmission

Here are some things to consider when considering power transmission risks:

1. What hazards are generated from the power transmission?  Rotating shafts produce entanglement, gears can produce crush.  Take a full inventory of the activities and hazards.

2. Can these hazards and parts be made completely inaccessible to the operator while working?  Or is there access needed to these parts when making parts or products?  If no access is needed, fixed guards or interlocked guards are great applications.  Access to power transmission in order to produce parts might require presence sensing.

3. If you use fixed guards, what is the frequency of access required to the power transmission?  Frequent access for setup or service might require interlocking to ensure the guards remain in place.

4. If you are using fixed guards do they meet the CSA Z432-16 requirements?  Can you reach hazards around, under, through or over (AUTO)?

5. Can you design the guards so that service work does not require their removal?  Can grease points or lubrication be brought outside the guards so that removal for that work is not necessary.

Often in our inspections we see power transmission guarded, but guards that don’t meet requirements.  We almost always see guards that were designed without consideration for service work.  Take time and do a proper risk assessment with all affected parties that work with the power transmission.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Critical Item: Third Party Access


We often consider the operator when reviewing the hazards on a machine, but it is important that we do not forget about potential third parties. Third party access is the second critical item we look at when we are performing a baseline audit in WESguard (, our machine safety assessment tool.  What does it mean, and why are we looking at it?  Third parties can often access the same hazards as an operator, however not all safeguarding controls are designed to protect third parties.

Here are some things to consider when considering third party access:

  1. What types of activities might third parties be performing in the area and how close could they be coming to the machine in question. They might be brining material to the machine, working on a nearby process or just walking down an aisle.
  2. What are the hazards might they be exposed to with each activity? They might be coming in close contact to the front of the machine, sides of the machine or rear of the machine. It is important to consider all angles.
  3. What could cause a worker to be exposed to these hazards during these activities?  Would it be reaching too far, an accidental activation of the equipment or simply the machine is located directly along a main aisle.

With this information, you are starting the process of the risk assessment.  Why do you need to do this work?  This comprehensive list will allow us to determine if there are current controls for each of these hazards.  The scoring of the hazards will also allow us to determine if these controls are adequate for the risk, or do we need higher level proposed controls.


Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Summer Machine Checklist Part 2

Looking after your equipment is an important part of running your business.  These items are related to how the workers use that equipment, and they can be important to understanding how strong your machine safety program is.

Point of Operation: Ask your operators if they can indicate what the point of operation is for their machine.  Can they tell you what the hazards are with contacting the point of operation, will they be pinched, crushed or entangled?  You’ve done lots of training with your operators, but can they repeat this information back to you.  More importantly can they show you on the equipment in a practical sense where the hazards are.

TIP TO SUSTAIN: If you have a risk assessment, make sure this information is on it.  If you have work procedures, make sure the point of operation, its associated hazards and any controls for those hazards are in these procedures.

Energy Sources: Bring anyone that does service on the equipment together.  Ask them to indicate all the energy sources and show you were they are located.  Ask them how to release stored energy.  Here is an important challenge for them.  Get them to show you how to verify that energy has been isolated.  How do they prove that energy is controlled?

TIP TO SUSTAIN: Make sure your lockout procedures contain the verification steps.  This is important as a double check to ensure the lockout has been followed correctly.

Maintenance: Talk to the people that service the equipment.  Get them to show you any of the guards that need to be removed to service (when the machine is locked out).  Find out from them if energy is required for service.

TIP TO SUSTAIN: This is a good opportunity to discover if some safeguards are preventing maintenance from performing their function.  Instead of waiting to find them on the ground at some point, be proactive and engage them to find out why guards need to be removed, how frequent and any reasons why they may not be put back on.

This is not a comprehensive list of items to talk to workers about, just some tips to get you started.  If you have any questions feel free to contact us.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Summer Machine Checklist

Servicing and inspecting equipment is often done during summer shutdown.  Here are some safeguarding items you can have a look for.

Missing Guards: When you are looking at equipment, check for any missing guards.  Maybe someone took them off for service, or maybe they were removed for another reason. 

TIP TO SUSTAIN: Find out the reason they were not replaced in the first place.  Discipling someone for removing guards is important, but finding out the why to determine how to improve the guarding is an important step.

Broken Guards: Inspect the machines for broken or damaged guards.  It’s important to repair damaged guards immediately because holes or openings might allow people to reach the hazards these guards are meant to protect them from.

TIP TO SUSTAIN: Has the guard been impacted by material flying off the equipment?  If it has, update your risk assessment and look to eliminate the hazard of flying material or redesign the guard to withstand.

Lockout Points: During this time of service, many of the equipment will need to be locked out.  This is a good time to inspect the lockout points and ensure they are working.

TIP TO SUSTAIN: This is a great time to observe a complete lockout of the equipment.  Update your lockout procedures and look for flaws in the process.

Machine Controls:  Test out the start/stop and emergency stops.  Make sure they are all working and correctly labelled.  Are they doing what they are supposed to do?

TIP TO SUSTAIN:  Have an operator activate the emergency stop, is it readily accessible, or do they have to think and reach for it.

This is not a comprehensive list of items to check for, just some tips to get you started.  If you have any questions, or want some help in evaluating your current safeguards feel free to contact us.