Machine Safety: 5 measures for making machine safety stick

Do you see continuous improvement in machine safety or backsliding? Use these five measures to emphasize and improve machine safety.


Are your operational improvements in machine safety only temporary? After countless investments in technology, procedures, training, and methodologies, do you see continuous improvements or backsliding?

Organizations need environments where performance improvement investments can systemically drive returns and advances in profitability. Temporary upticks followed by backsliding returns are all too typical. In my experience, the only way to get real ROI (return on investment) from operational improvement investments is to make them stick and enable continuous improvement.

Here are five ideas for ways to make operational improvements in machine safety stick:

1. Make real improvements.

Your employees are often the best resources for solid ideas involving performance and machine safety improvements. Instead of quick wins, look for meaningful wins that can drive solid measurable results tied directly to the team.

2. Announce the projects benefits and results.

Communicate, translate, and post the project benefits and results in employee areas in their terms for maximum understanding of their contribution. Balance sheets, return on assets (ROA), and turns are examples of terms generally not well understood. On the other hand, bar charts, pie charts, trend lines, hours for rework, injuries, days off work, and similar terms typically are more understood. Show comparisons to last week or month as well as to other divisions or competitors. Dashboards are a recent tool that can deliver the kind of engagement needed. Employee buy-in is the ultimate goal.

3. Celebrate every success.

Every success should be celebrated regardless of size or type of results. Don’t wait for the usual month, quarter, or year end. Tie celebrations to an organization and individuals to reinforce loyalty and enthusiasm and provide individual recognition. Also, stimulate competition.

4. Make “going back” painful. 

Sometimes organizations or individuals feel that the old way took less time or that it was easier even though it may not have been safer. Once the new solutions, tools, and automation are proven, ensure that the previous tooling, procedures, guarding, automation, methodologies, etc., are eliminated. Part of ensuring that employees know that management supports the operational improvements is to make it obvious that the old way is no longer approved or available.

5. Articulate, train, and enforce organizational disciplines. 

Training on work rules, new procedures and organizational and employee discipline require enforcement by management and must be clearly articulated to all staff. Management's failure to perform this measure can almost guarantee backsliding.

In my opinion, operational investments in machine safety can be expensive, but related ROI also can become a competitive advantage if the right mix of measures make the operational improvements stick.

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:

ASSE - Professional Safety Journal- Near-Miss Reporting, May 2013

OSHA – search for near miss

Contact:  for “Solutions for Machine Safety”. See links below.

No comments
The Top Plant program honors outstanding manufacturing facilities in North America. View the 2015 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...
Safety for 18 years, warehouse maintenance tips, Ethernet and the IIoT, GAMS 2016 recap
2016 Engineering Leaders Under 40; Future vision: Where is manufacturing headed?; Electrical distribution, redefined
Strategic outsourcing delivers efficiency; Sleeve bearing clearance; Causes of water hammer; Improve air quality; Maintenance safety; GAMS preview
SCADA at the junction, Managing risk through maintenance, Moving at the speed of data
Safety at every angle, Big Data's impact on operations, bridging the skills gap
The digital oilfield: Utilizing Big Data can yield big savings; Virtualization a real solution; Tracking SIS performance
Applying network redundancy; Overcoming loop tuning challenges; PID control and networks
Driving motor efficiency; Preventing arc flash in mission critical facilities; Integrating alternative power and existing electrical systems
Package boilers; Natural gas infrared heating; Thermal treasure; Standby generation; Natural gas supports green efforts

Annual Salary Survey

Before the calendar turned, 2016 already had the makings of a pivotal year for manufacturing, and for the world.

There were the big events for the year, including the United States as Partner Country at Hannover Messe in April and the 2016 International Manufacturing Technology Show in Chicago in September. There's also the matter of the U.S. presidential elections in November, which promise to shape policy in manufacturing for years to come.

But the year started with global economic turmoil, as a slowdown in Chinese manufacturing triggered a worldwide stock hiccup that sent values plummeting. The continued plunge in world oil prices has resulted in a slowdown in exploration and, by extension, the manufacture of exploration equipment.

Read more: 2015 Salary Survey

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.
This article collection contains several articles on the vital role of plant safety and offers advice on best practices.
This article collection contains several articles on the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and how it is transforming manufacturing.
This article collection contains several articles on strategic maintenance and understanding all the parts of your plant.
click me