Machine Safety: Are you staying on target?

Is changing my machine safety strategy necessary? What if your safety target has shifted? Have there been evolutional changes to industrial safety but your safety culture is mired in the past? Are there newer machine guarding solutions that are more cost effective? To stay on target consider updates to your safety culture and your machine guarding solutions practice.


Is changing my machine safety strategy necessary? What if your safety target has shifted? Have there been evolutional changes to industrial safety but your safety culture is mired in the past? Are there newer machine guarding solutions that are more cost effective? To stay on target consider updates to your safety culture and your machine guarding solutions practice. 

Hitting the safety target

In my opinion, when a director of safety realizes that safety policy is a little off target, she or he can (and probably should) take immediate action to fully assess the issues and the opportunities. 

When assessing the issues most directors of safety today are well attuned to the practice of mandatory risk assessments for all machinery. Let’s take that as a given. Having said that, what’s not, in my opinion, uniformly practiced is the director of safety taking time to  assess issues in the company's safety culture. My experience has shown me time and again that a best-in-class machine safety program is directly proportional to a best-in-class safety culture. Supporting this position I suggest first reviewing a recent study conducted by the Aberdeen Group comparing common traits of best-in-class companies and secondly the many writings of Steven I. Simon, PhD and his “Simon Open System Model.” These tools are great aids in helping a director of safety to assess the issues in an existing safety culture.

Opportunities are a different story. My expertise is entirely focused at Machine Safety.  Therefore, I will take the privilege of addressing the advantage of linking safety automation with improving operator safety and business performance. I have blogged many times about the recent developments of advanced safety technologies and their detailed application procedures via updated industry standards. I’ve also blogged about the convergence (harmonization) of global IEC and ISO standards in conjunction with domestic standards. The most recent example being ISO 13849-1:2006 & 2008 as of 1/1/2012 becoming required for compliance to the Machinery Directive in Europe and normatively (required) in several of our domestic standards. All of this points to the dramatic business opportunities for many manufacturers of adjusting their safety policy to accept these newer cost effective approaches to operator safety and improved business performance. Opportunities to reduce unplanned machine downtime while maintaining or improving operator safety and getting attractive returns on investment are not frequent events in industry. Large and small companies have realized these results over the past ten years and trends now show broad adoption evolving. 

So, is changing your machine safety strategy necessary? The first answer might be - NO! However, if your safety target has shifted you might need to assess the issues and opportunities and adjust your coordinates to stay on target. Additionally, you may also develop a competitive advantage for your business. 

J.B. Titus, certified functional safety expert and Control Engineering Machine Safety bloggerYour 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: Machine Safety: Are you staying on target?

Related articles:

Updating Minds About Machine Safety

Simon Open System Model”, Steven I. Simon, PhD

Integrated Safety Systems: Ensuring Safety and Operational Productivity, Aberdeen Group

Machine Safety – the myths of safety cultures.

Contact: 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...
Your leaks start here: Take a disciplined approach with your hydraulic system; U.S. presence at Hannover Messe a rousing success
Hannover Messe 2016: Taking hold of the future - Partner Country status spotlights U.S. manufacturing; Honoring manufacturing excellence: The 2015 Product of the Year Winners
Inside IIoT: How technology, strategy can improve your operation; Dry media or web scrubber?; Six steps to design a PM program
Getting to the bottom of subsea repairs: Older pipelines need more attention, and operators need a repair strategy; OTC preview; Offshore production difficult - and crucial
Digital oilfields: Integrated HMI/SCADA systems enable smarter data acquisition; Real-world impact of simulation; Electric actuator technology prospers in production fields
Special report: U.S. natural gas; LNG transport technologies evolve to meet market demand; Understanding new methane regulations; Predictive maintenance for gas pipeline compressors
Warehouse winter comfort: The HTHV solution; Cooling with natural gas; Plastics industry booming
Managing automation upgrades, retrofits; Making technical, business sense; Ensuring network cyber security
Designing generator systems; Using online commissioning tools; Selective coordination best practices

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 that compressed air plays in manufacturing plants.
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