Machine safety and layers of protection

Another study confirms the relationship between tasks performed and injuries and fatalities. Don't risk assessments find such relationships? Recognizing layers of protection can help.


Wow, have we come full circle? Another study confirms that there’s a relationship between “tasks performed” and “injuries/fatalities.” Isn’t that a main purpose of conducting a risk assessment?

Professional Safety (Journal of the American Society of Safety Engineers) in its July issue has a featured article, Fatality Prevention – Findings From the 2012 Forum. This Forum evaluated and developed three central points as discussed in the article:

  1. A new measure, the Fatalities and Serious Injuries (FSI) potential rate, is being used to measure an organization's risk for having FSIs
  2. Organizations can reduce FSIs by identifying, understanding and controlling the precursors of all incidents that have the potential to cause FSIs
  3. And, management of risk associated with FSI precursors must occur at the task level. 

Their answer – Layers of Protection (LOP).

In my opinion, apparently the approach for manufacturers is to establish a practice of measuring and reporting an organizations risk level for having FSI’s on a task by task basis. Then, based on an appropriate scoring system, apply one or more LOP measure(s) to further reduce the risk of an FSI incident. One of the bases behind this additional practice comes from evaluating over 300 sampled injuries. Apparently the FSI sub-level of events was at least partly the result of intentional and unintentional behavior. I assume their understanding is that after applying the required risk mitigation steps (including the Five Hierarchy of Measures) to achieve “acceptable” risk – some risk of an FSI incident still remains due to human behaviors. 

Therefore, additional mitigation guidelines are included in three layers of protection. Their LOP measures are broken into three groups: 1) Administrative LOPs, 2) Warning device LOPs and 3) Safety devices LOPs. Each of these groups includes multiple unranked measures. 

I endorse any and all measures that can effectively reduce injury incidents in manufacturing. In my opinion, companies should seriously consider learning about this best practice and how it might benefit their employee safety program and their business. 

Has this presented you with any new perspectives? Add your comments or thoughts to the discussion by submitting your ideas, experiences, and challenges in the comments section below. 

J.B. Titus, CFSE

Related articles:

ASSE – Professional Safety Journal - Fatality Prevention – Findings From the 2012 Forum

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

OSHA – search for near miss

Machine Guarding & The Hierarchy of Measures for Hazard Mitigation

Contact: 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...
Sister act: Building on their father's legacy, a new generation moves Bales Metal Surface Solutions forward; Meet the 2015 Engineering Leaders Under 40
2015 Mid-Year Report: Manufacturing's newest tool: In a digital age, digits will play a key role in the plant of the future; Ethernet certification; Mitigate harmonics; World class maintenance
2015 Lubrication Guide: Green and gold in lubrication: Environmentally friendly fluids and sealing systems offer a new perspective
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
Cyber security attack: The threat is real; Hacking O&G control systems: Understanding the cyber risk; The active cyber defense cycle
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
New industrial buildings: Greener, cleaner, leaner; New building designs for industry; Take a new look at absorption cooling; Offshored jobs start to come back

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.