Machine Safety: Don't play hide and seek with a safety program

Is your safety program like the game “Hide and Seek”? Or is your program “Top Down and Bottom Up” best-in-class machine safety? We all have a choice. Don't play games. Be proactive for machine safety compliance.


Is your safety program like the game “Hide & Seek”? Or is your program “Top Down and Bottom Up” best-in-class machine safety? Most of us remember playing “Hide and Seek” as children. The corollary to machine safety follows: do machine safety hazards or incidents seem to appear out of nowhere in your plant or company? Is your company surprised when an incident occurs? If the answer to these questions is "yes," then ask one more question.

Whenever an unexpected incident occurs involving machine safety is there ever an acceptable excuse to say: "We weren’t ready?"

Quite obviously the answer is no; there is no acceptable excuse. This is why many of us that have been around machine safety for a few years seem to preach the religion of safety. This includes everything from “safety culture” and “risk assessment” to “hard guards” and “fencing,” and everything in-between. It’s all about attitude. “Hide and Seek” machine safety is more like taking chances at a Las Vegas roulette wheel. Do you really want to take chances on amputations or life? As in “Hide and Seek,” even if you’re not ready, you can be found.

It is better to have responsibility for a “Top Down and Bottom Up” best-in-class organizational safety culture for your company. This is a safety culture where potential hazards are proactively assessed and mitigated for maximum safety. In this scenario, there are few if any surprises from an unknown hazard. There still could be unexpected incidents caused by mistakes or people not following procedures. However, that is very different than taking chances like at the roulette wheel, where the house wins much more often than the player.

We all have a choice. Don't play games. Be proactive for machine safety compliance.

J.B. Titus, CFSE

Has this presented you with any new perspectives? Do you have some specific topic or interest that we could cover in future blog posts? Add your comments or thoughts to the discussion by submitting your ideas, experiences, and challenges in the comments section below.

Related articles:

Machine Safety – effective safety cultures, can they evolve?

Machine safety and your safety culture


The CEO of Anglo American on Getting Serious About Safety


Machine Safety – where do effective safety cultures roost?

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