Monday, January 15, 2018

Help with Risk Assessments

A risk assessment is a way to assign a quantity to an estimation of risk.  It lets you clearly state the assumptions and uncertainties that are involved with a process.  This is helpful in determining what level of control is needed to mitigate that risk.  Risk can never be zero, but we constantly work to make it a manageable or level of acceptable risk.

When we complete a risk assessment, the important considerations are:

1.       What are the activities and tasks being performed?

2.       What are the hazards associated with those tasks, what is the cause of that hazard?

3.       We want to assign a value to the severity of injury from that hazard.

4.       We want to assign a value to frequency of exposure to that hazard.

5.       We want to assign a value to the probability of avoidance to that hazard.

There is no set system for how those values are determined.  Its important that its defined and understood by all the scorers.  In many systems the severity drives the scoring and could have higher values as the consequences escalate.

If we have done that, still some work remains.

6.       What are the current controls for those hazards?

7.       What are the values for severity, frequency and avoidance when those controls are in place?

With all of this, we have a better picture of the risk associated with a process or piece of equipment.  With that due diligence in front of us, as we set down the path.

If you would like to have some help, please see our offer in our newsletter and contact us.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

WESguard - A Year in Review

As the holidays quickly approach, we can’t help but reflect back on the amazing year we have had with WESguard – our machine guarding application. We are so grateful to our clients, colleagues, family and friends who have helped to shape this ground-breaking technology.

2017 has been a year of great growth, new ideas and valued partnerships. We have made over thirty feature upgrades to WESguard, with most of the ideas coming directly from WESguard users. Here is a list of just a few of those new features:

  • Ability to determine custom guarding solutions with a built-in risk assessment tool
  • Enhanced collaboration within organizations with the ability to easily request updates on action items
  • Reporting features with built-in pdf print options
  • Enhanced risk-improvement graphing with the addition of a target line
  • Better understanding of risk improvements with tracking of original and current risk score for each machine
  • Greater communication with time and user stamped updates on action items
  • and so much more!

    We also implemented three new marketing strategies:

  1. Made Safe Partnership – Made Safe members get one month free on an annual subscription
  2. Free trial program - new users can try WESguard free for 60 days
  3. Referral program – Current users receive one month free when they refer a new client to sign up for WESguard

    So, with such a successful year behind us what do we have planned for 2018?

  • We are currently working on a built-in inspection/audit tool to help our WESguard users ensure that their machines stay safe long after the implementation of safeguards.
  • We are also planning a webinar with Made Safe in February, so watch your inboxes for further information.
  • We have received a lot of interest in developing an online community where organizations can share their machine guarding struggles and success. We will be investigating this avenue soon!

We are very excited for the future of WESguard and look forward to continuing in the journey with our clients and bringing on more partners in 2018!  Happy holidays from Workplace Engineering Solutions!



Thursday, November 23, 2017

Announcing Partnership with Made Safe

We are very excited to announce a partnership with Made Safe, the industry led safety association for manufacturing.  Made Safe makes it easier for employers and workers to ensure Manitoba workplaces are safe and productive.  Workplace Engineering Solutions also believes in that principle, that safe and productive workplaces are critical to the success of Manitoba’s manufacturing industry.  Workplace Engineering Solutions focuses on machine safety with the belief that every machine incident is preventable.  We are both excited to partner to support that vision.

A key benefit to this partnership is for Made Safe members to access WESguard, the machine safety application at a reduced price. WESguard is a subscription based application and Made Safe members will receive 12 months for the price of 11, or one free month each year.  WESguard allows you to discover hazards, explore solutions, and reduce risk on your equipment.  It comes with support to drive risk reduction in an organization using the continuous improvement model.  It’s a web application for machine safety that promotes collaboration within your organization, with machine safety experts, and with this new partnership will help to allow collaboration across a group of companies.  We will be working together to share the stories of participating companies to help the overall group work on the process of reducing risk.

To take advantage of this offer, you can send a message to expressing your interest in a demonstration of WESguard and how it will benefit your organization.  You can also visit to register for a free trail account to start reducing risk today.


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.