Machine safety: DANGER: Machine without brain requires yours!

Who really has the brain, the machine or the person? Whether it’s the operator, maintenance technician, set-up technician, engineer, or clean-up staff, the human brain has capabilities that surpass any brain on the machine.


Think about machine safety. Danger! Machine without brain requires yours. Courtesy: J.B. Titus and AssociatesWho really has the brain, the machine or the person? Whether it’s the operator, maintenance technician, set-up technician, engineer, or clean-up staff – YOUR brain has capabilities that surpass any brain on the machine. Have you ever seen injuries on a machine that didn’t need to happen? Could they have been avoided? Did those involved simply make a mistake? Where were their brains?


Machines often have brains, either wired or solid-state intelligence. But can they listen? Can they anticipate a human injury? Do they know when an operator will take a chance? So what are we doing with machine guarding? Protecting someone from making a mistake in judgment?


The Department of Defense many years ago developed a standard, MIL-STD 882D, wherein they defined a term “mishap” as: “An unplanned event or series of events resulting in death, injury, occupational illness, damage to or loss of equipment or property, or damage to the environment.” Yet this seems to be directed (for personnel) at injuries inflicted on people that should be fully cognizant of every moment and ready to protectively respond to anything in a nanosecond?


Is that how the majority of machine related injuries occur? I think not! It’s been my experience that most machinery related injuries occur when personnel make a misjudgment or are temporarily disconnected from their brains. So, isn’t a majority of machine guarding required to protect personnel from themselves?  


What has your experience been? In today’s level of machine safety planning and implementation, are we:

1.    Protecting the machine from the person?

2.    Protecting the person from the machine?

3.    Or, both?

4.    Or, neither?

Your 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: DANGER: Machine without brain requires yours!


Related articles:

Machine Safety – does a risk assessment need to be updated for a minor modification to a machine?

Machine Guarding & The Hierarchy of Measures for Hazard Mitigation

Machine Safety: System degradation and incidence of injury


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