Machine Safety - Am I Responsible?

Case examples cross my desk almost weekly asking, “am I responsible” or liable for for machine safety? These questions come from end users, OEMs, systems integrators, and suppliers. Initially, OSHA provides an answer, but beyond that...

02/11/2011


J.B. TitusAm I responsible for machine safety? How would you answer this question?

     In the U.S. we have to initially answer this question from the regulatory (OSHA) perspective. Therefore, we have the OSHA General Care and Duty clause OSHA that requires “each employer shall furnish to each of his employees, employment and a place of employment free from recognized hazards that are causing or are likely to cause death or serious physical harm to his employees”. In addition, consensus standards over the past decade have been consistently adding clarification to end user and supplier responsibilities for machine safety. Additionally, there are scores of local regulations, state regulations, and company policy’s that also influence the regulation side.

     With all of this “clarification," why does the confusion of who’s responsible seem to never go away?

     In my opinion, one reason is the liability side of the equation. Case examples cross my desk almost weekly asking, “am I responsible”? These questions come from end users, OEM’s, systems integrators, and suppliers. The scenarios range from an end user who contracted for an older machine retrofit adding an automated feeder system over eight years ago to another end user who moved a machine to another State where it was re-installed without touching any controls or electrical on the machine.

     The advice in all of these situations begins with and is not limited to:

  • Always check all applicable OSHA regulations, local codes & regulations, international standards,and domestic consensus standards
  • Check all terms and conditions in purchase agreements and contracts
  • Check all company policy’s involved in the project
  • And, this is just the beginning......

     There is no way to thoroughly and properly cover this topic in a short blog because the answer is most often different in every case. However, what is consistent is the simple fact that due diligence will always be the order for the day. There are far too many variables on the liability side for a simple and quick answer. Possibly the clearest example of this involves the discussion over “touching the machine.” Many interpretations of touching the machine means that having done so “you” are obligated to bring the machine to current code. So, by moving a machine are you obligated to bring the control system and machine guarding to compliance with current standards and regulations?

     Does anyone have a very clear answer?

     Does anyone have a definition for “touching the machine”?   

     In my opinion, these factors and many more collectively indicate that machine safety is everyone’s responsibility. What’s your opinion? Leave a comment below.

     DANGER - This energy source has been locked out - proper machine safety methods save life and limb, says the Control Engineering Machine Safety blog.INTEGRATED SAFETY COULD BE YOUR OPPORTUNITY – CONSIDER IT!

     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: Machine Safety – Am I Responsible?

Related articles:  

Machine Safety and Who’s Responsible?

Machine Safety And Your Safety Culture

Updating Minds About Machine Guarding

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



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...
2016 Product of the Year; Diagnose bearing failures; Asset performance management; Testing dust collector performance measures
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
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