Thursday, September 13, 2018

Company Spotlight: Behlen Industries

Behlen Industries is no stranger to machine guarding improvements. They have become a machine safety leader in Manitoba ever since they were thrust into the subject in 2011 following an inspection from a Workplace Safety & Health officer. What started off as a single improvement order, quickly turned into a blanket improvement order and they developed a full-throttle plan involving continual improvements on three machines at a time until their entire facility was complete.

Their health and safety manager, Warren Clark, became an overnight expert in CSA Z432: Safeguarding of Machinery and contracted multiple machine safety engineers, millwrights and electricians to work on improvements to their fleet of older equipment. It became the main safety focus of the company for many years and they employed numerous tools and software to help organize and collaborate across the organization.

A couple years ago they joined WESguard, an online application developed by Workplace Engineering Solutions. WESguard gives Behlen the ability to have an easily accessible inventory of all their equipment, safety audits and improvement tasks and anyone within the organization can access and collaborate within it. As they are reaching the point where most of their equipment is fully guarded, Behlen continues to use WESguard to ensure they sustain a high level of machine safety compliance through routine inspections and assessments on newly procured equipment. They also find that WESguard provides the information needed to show they are doing their due diligence to keep their workers safe every day. Behlen’s health and safety coordinator, Al Trotz, promotes that “WESguard is easy to use and practical; it’s a great tool for any workplace to keep a detailed inventory of their machines”.

Warren Clark and Al Trotz from Behlen along with Mike and Kristin from Workplace Engineering Solutions presented their machine safety success to a full house at the Made Safe Quarterly meeting in Brandon on September 6, 2018. Participants were given a detailed tour of Behlen’s production process and were able to see the vast amount of machine safety implementations throughout their shop floor. They also saw a preview of the WESguard free trial process and learned about the benefits provided to Made Safe members.

"WESguard provides a framework that simplifies the process for assessing machine hazards and performing risk assessments.  The workflow is neatly organized and helps ensure you are assessing all the requirements.  You can manage action items in such a way that doesn’t require multiple meetings to get an update on where people are at with their assigned items.  Program administrators have easy access to current state and any outstanding action items." - Warren Clark

If you missed the Made Safe meeting, but would like more information on how the WESguard free trial can help you manage your machine safety program, please visit or contact us at

Press brake Guard


Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Labour Shortage - The Need to Encourage Women into Manufacturing


A couple of weeks ago I had the opportunity to participate in the Women in Manufacturing initial stakeholder meeting hosted by CME, where the goal is to increase the number of women working in manufacturing. Some of you may be thinking, “What’s the big deal? Why does it matter where women work?”. There are more great reasons than you may think other than the obvious one of breaking down gender barriers. The number one issue reported by manufacturers in CME’s 2016 Management Issues Survey is a severe shortage of skilled workers. To fill this shortage, we will need an increase in both male and female workers into the manufacturing sector.


You may be wondering just how large is this gap of women workers in the manufacturing sector? Here’s a few interesting stats published by CME.


  • Women represent only


                 - 4.4% of jobs in industrial, electrical and construction trades


                 - 4.5% of jobs in maintenance and equipment operation trades


                 - 8.3% of jobs in transportation and heavy equipment operation


                 - 15.7% of jobs in machine operation

  • The share of manufacturing jobs held by women has not changed in over thirty years.
  • The number of young women entering manufacturing has been decreasing over the last thirty years, from 34% to only 25%.



Women aged 15 - 24 working in manufacturing

Source: CME Summary Paper: Untapped Potential - Attracting and engaging women in Canadian manufacturing


So, what can be done to close the gender gap? That is what the Women in Manufacturing Action Group is working on. Since its establishment in 2017, they have completed a survey and published an action plan, held annual forums, spread the word through government and media outlets and they are just starting to establish provincial WIM member groups with Manitoba being the first.



At the Manitoba kickoff meeting, the support was overwhelming from local manufacturers and the brainstorming session was energetic and hopeful. Many ideas were brought forward including discussions around struggles with childcare, work life balance and shift work, ways to get youth engaged, improving the image of manufacturing and highlighting the vast array of opportunities and skillsets needed in manufacturing.



The first meeting in Manitoba was a huge success. Keep in contact with us and CME to learn more as this initiative begins to rollout and gain momentum.



Monday, August 13, 2018

Mastering Machine Risk Assessments Course

Moving machine parts have the potential to cause severe injuries in the workplace and a significant percentage of injuries in the workplace can be attributed to machine-related incidents each year. Machine safeguarding measures are essential to protecting the workers who come into contact with machines as part of their job duties. Any machine that may cause injury must be safeguarded.

Task-based risk assessments are the key to successful machine guarding plans. Join us for this one day class as we teach the CSA Z432-16 risk assessment methodology through classroom learning and shop floor exercises. A proper risk assessment will allow you to design custom guarding solutions, gain support and buy-in from all affected parties, install the right solution the first time and show your due diligence.

Register today at

risk assessment course ad

Monday, August 13, 2018

Advanced Energy Control" How to Elevate Your Lockout Program

Contact with energy sources or energized machine components can be fatal. If you have equipment at your workplace, you will likely require your workers to perform tasks within or near hazardous areas. A solid lockout program is vital to protect the lives of these workers.

Most companies are aware of the need for lockout to be performed, but due to the significant risk to worker's lives many companies are looking for ways to elevate their lockout program beyond just the minimum compliance requirements. Join us for this one day course where we will go beyond the basics of lockout and take a look at the world class recommendations within CSA Standard Z460: Control of Hazardous Energy - Lockout and Other Methods. Topics covered will include identifying energy sources and hazards, energy isolating and lockout devices, designing with energy isolation in mind, risk assessment role in energy isolation, lockout program components and special circumstances including control methods beyond lockout. We will also learn about the importance of machine specific lockout procedures, why they are becoming the new expectation in manufacturing, important features to include in your procedures and review some common examples and themes.

Register today at

advanced lockout course

Thursday, August 02, 2018

CSA Z432-16 Safeguarding of Machinery Training

CSA Z432-16 Safeguarding of Machinery

Moving machine parts have the potential to cause severe injuries in the workplace and a significant percentage of injuries in the workplace can be attributed to machine-related incidents each year. Machine safeguarding measures are essential to protecting the workers who come into contact with machines as part of their job duties. Any machine that may cause injury must be safeguarded.

The third edition of CSA Z432- Safeguarding of Machinery specifies requirements for the design, manufacture (including remanufacture and rebuilding), installation, maintenance, operation, and safeguarding of industrial equipment to prevent injuries and accidents and enhance the safety of personnel who operate, assemble, and maintain machinery. The need for a new edition was prompted by the changing technology related to these machines and the wish of stakeholders, including regulators, employers, manufacturers, and labour, for a document that would reflect the latest thinking concerning operator and equipment safety. 

Join us for the one-day course as we walk you through how to apply this crutial CSA standard at your workplace through clear explanation, real-life examples and practical exercises.

Learn more at

Discover hazards... Explore solutions... Reduce risk
Learn more WESguard - The machine guarding tracker - Workplace Safety - Workplace Safety Equipment - Workplace Engineering Solutions