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 (www.wesguard.ca), 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.

bystanders

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.  

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Critical Item: Point of Operation

 

The Point of Operation is simply the place where work is performed on the product, such as boring, cutting or forming.  Here are the steps to evaluating the Point of Operation:

  1. What are all the activities performed at this area?  Is the material loaded here, is it unloaded?  Those are important starting points, but dig deeper.  What activities are not as common as load/unload, like tool changes, cleaning and setup.  Make sure all the activities are captured.
  2. What are the hazards with each activity?  There are usually moving parts involved with a Point of Operation, what are the hazards associated with them?  Can you get abrasions, pinched or crushed, or entangled with these moving parts?  Are they readily accessible from where the operator will be working?
  3. What could cause a worker to be exposed to these hazards during these activities?  Would it be reaching too far, or something like an accidental activation of the equipment.

      With this information, you are starting the process of the risk assessment.  There is more work to do, but above is your starting point.  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, June 06, 2017

Customer Spotlight - Armtec Precast

We love showing off our amazing clients, so when Armtec Precast dominated NAOSH Week we just had to tell everyone about it.

Armtec Precast (a division of Armtec) specializes in the manufacturing of structural precast/prestressed concrete products, such as components for parkades, bridges and the mining and energy sector. They have been working very hard to improve the safety culture throughout their company. One of their initiatives this year was to get their entire workforce involved in NAOSH Week. They planned events throughout the entire week ranging from a kick-off bbq, contest and prizes, a clean up hour, near miss activity, training events and risk assessment activities. The workers enjoyed the clean up hour so much that they have implemented clean up sessions every other Friday going forward.

Armtec Precast asked Workplace Engineering Solutions to deliver a training session for all their workers focused on workplace hazard identification. We wanted a fun-interactive experience that was relatable to their own workplace. We started off with a short presentation on types of hazards, how to identify them and where to look, and we took examples from their own shop floor. Then we played a game called “Who Wants to be a Hazard Expert”, modelled after the popular gameshow “Who Wants to be a Millionaire”. The participants divided up into teams to see who could get the furthest in the game by answering multiple choice questions based on hazards in their own workplace. As they answered questions correctly and got closer to the $1 Million question, they received ballot entries into draws for fun gift cards. The workers had a great time working together with their friends, heckling other teams, using their lifelines and learning how to identify unsafe working conditions. The event was a huge success and a good time was had by all!

Armtec surveyed their employees to find out what they thought of NAOSH Week, here a few quotes from the responses they received:

“The Millionnaire game was a good way to train.”

”Near miss initiative is a good way to encourage the employees.”

“Clean up hour was much needed.”

Congratulations to Armtec Precast Winnipeg for organizing a sensational NAOSH Week. We can’t wait to see how you top it next year!

You can view a short video of the game here.

NAOSH Activity hazard identification training