I don’t have to upgrade my machine safety to the latest technology

I’ll bet nearly everyone reading this blog has heard someone say, “I don’t have to upgrade my machine safety to the latest technology.” Right? And, the next comment might be something like, “My shop is safe because we haven’t had an accident for umpteen years.” Are these folks wrong? Here are 5 questions to ask about machine safety.


JB Titus, CFSEI’ll bet nearly everyone reading this blog has heard someone say, “I don’t have to upgrade my machine safety to the latest technology.” Right? And, the next comment might be something like, “My shop is safe because we haven’t had an accident for umpteen years.” Are these folks wrong? (See below, the 5 most important questions to ask when confronted with these views on machine safety.)

   How many of you think they’re right? Well, in my opinion about half of you are partially right. Why is this possibly true?

   To begin with both OSHA and the consensus standards will say that basic solutions like hard guarding, personnel training, signage, personal protective equipment, etc. are acceptable machine guarding solutions. Neither OSHA or the consensus standards will require industry to adopt and install the latest technology for machine guarding. Then, what’s different today? Who has the answer? OK, I’ll lay one answer out there.

                                    It’s the Risk Assessment!

   Now that a risk assessment is required by all on all machinery every hazard must now be identified and mitigated to an acceptable level. Having said that - there’s still no mandate for industry to change machine guarding solutions to the latest technology. I’ll bet right now there’s a lot of chatter going on out there about the pros and cons of what’s just been said. Why don’t you offer some of those opinions in the space provided below?

   Let’s look at the second thought for a moment – My shop is safe because we haven’t had an accident for umpteen years! How many of you think these folks are right? I hope most of you disagree with this opinion. It may be a correct fact that a company may not have had an accident for umpteen years. But, this fact alone in no way substantiates that their shop is safe. Again, what is it that these folks don’t see or understand?

   In my opinion, you need to ask several more questions to answer this question. I’ll suggest just a few.

1.    Does this company have an effective safety culture?

2.    Does this company have an effective and accountable safety program?

3.    Do machine operators feel free to stop the machine over safety issues?

4.    Does top management take a proactive role in machine safety oversight?

5.    Have updated current risk assessments been completed for all machinery?

   This is just the tip of the iceberg. As you know, there’s a lot more to this equation. However, the point is that if you can answer yes to all these questions then it’s only possible to say that your shop has had an accident free track record but not necessarily because the shop is safe. In forty five plus years I haven’t seen a safe shop yet.

   So, does any company have to upgrade to the latest technology for machine guarding? I would offer that there is no mandate. However, I do see many companies choosing to upgrade to the latest machine safety guarding because the solutions today offer potential significant cost avoidance and/or cost savings opportunities. In today’s competitive cost conscience environment – how could any company not consider the opportunities offered from some of these recent innovative machine safety solutions?

   What opinions, questions, or experiences can you add to this discussion?

   Your comments or suggestion are always welcome so please let us know your thoughts. Submit your ideas, experiences, and challenges on this subject in the comments section below. Click on the following text if you don't see a comments box, then scroll down: I Don’t Have To Upgrade My Machine Safety To The Latest Technology.

   Did you see the Safety Integration Webcast?

   Related articles:

We’re safe; we’ve had no machine safety accidents for a long time

Risk assessment - A best practice for sustainable performance

Designing In Machine Guarding

Machine safety pays off

Contact: www.jbtitus.com for “Solutions for Machine Safety”.

No comments
The Top Plant program honors outstanding manufacturing facilities in North America. View the 2013 Top Plant.
The Product of the Year program recognizes products newly released in the manufacturing industries.
The Engineering Leaders Under 40 program identifies and gives recognition to young engineers who...
A cool solution: Collaboration, chemistry leads to foundry coat product development; See the 2015 Product of the Year Finalists
Raising the standard: What's new with NFPA 70E; A global view of manufacturing; Maintenance data; Fit bearings properly
Sister act: Building on their father's legacy, a new generation moves Bales Metal Surface Solutions forward; Meet the 2015 Engineering Leaders Under 40
Cyber security cost-efficient for industrial control systems; Extracting full value from operational data; Managing cyber security risks
Drilling for Big Data: Managing the flow of information; Big data drilldown series: Challenge and opportunity; OT to IT: Creating a circle of improvement; Industry loses best workers, again
Pipeline vulnerabilities? Securing hydrocarbon transit; Predictive analytics hit the mainstream; Dirty pipelines decrease flow, production—pig your line; Ensuring pipeline physical and cyber security
Upgrading secondary control systems; Keeping enclosures conditioned; Diagnostics increase equipment uptime; Mechatronics simplifies machine design
Designing positive-energy buildings; Ensuring power quality; Complying with NFPA 110; Minimizing arc flash hazards
Building high availability into industrial computers; Of key metrics and myth busting; The truth about five common VFD myths

Annual Salary Survey

After almost a decade of uncertainty, the confidence of plant floor managers is soaring. Even with a number of challenges and while implementing new technologies, there is a renewed sense of optimism among plant managers about their business and their future.

The respondents to the 2014 Plant Engineering Salary Survey come from throughout the U.S. and serve a variety of industries, but they are uniform in their optimism about manufacturing. This year’s survey found 79% consider manufacturing a secure career. That’s up from 75% in 2013 and significantly higher than the 63% figure when Plant Engineering first started asking that question a decade ago.

Read more: 2014 Salary Survey: Confidence rises amid the challenges

Maintenance and reliability tips and best practices from the maintenance and reliability coaches at Allied Reliability Group.
The One Voice for Manufacturing blog reports on federal public policy issues impacting the manufacturing sector. One Voice is a joint effort by the National Tooling and Machining...
The Society for Maintenance and Reliability Professionals an organization devoted...
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.
Maintenance is not optional in manufacturing. It’s a profit center, driving productivity and uptime while reducing overall repair costs.
The Lachance on CMMS blog is about current maintenance topics. Blogger Paul Lachance is president and chief technology officer for Smartware Group.