Don't overlook key steps in the safety process

Having a clear plan with executive management and safeguarding yourself against potential hazards for both the short- and long-term is vital

11/10/2012


What am I missing in my safety program?

If you think about it too hard, it’s one of those questions that can keep you awake at night. What am I missing in my safety program? Many companies would answer this question by looking at their machines and making sure that all the safeguards are in place. The answer, however, isn’t in the factory—it’s most likely in the corporate offices.

But where does it start? Safety starts at the top and filters down. In a successful program, everyone’s involved. In the most successful companies, safety is a separate item on the agenda for meetings of the board of directors. It’s that important.

First and foremost it’s important to have a clear plan with buy-in from executive management to assess all hazards and a commitment to safeguard (reduce the risk) for each hazard per the plan. This can and should be a long-term plan with milestones and budgets agreed to by the “top brass.” It should have approval for the necessary funding. Without these simple steps, you end up with an environmental health and safety (EH&S) person at the corporate level who is frustrated because he cannot get done what he knows needs to be done.

After management buy-in, from the perspective of the EH&S professional, the following often-overlooked information and processes need to be understood and implemented for a complete and lasting solution: 

  • Risk assessment process—always the beginning of the solution for a safe factory
  • Understanding of the hierarchy of controls (engineered solutions vs. administrative solutions)
  • Understanding of safety circuit design (including practicality, cost, etc.)
  • Identification and application of pertinent regulations (OSHA), standards (ANSI, NFPA, etc.), or directives (machinery directive, plant/corporate standards, etc.)
  • Determination of an internal acceptance of “acceptable (tolerable) risk” (including the difference between being “compliant” and being “safe”)
  • Stakeholder (operations, production, maintenance, etc.) feedback and buy-in for all remediation plans
  • Qualified remediation experts (either in-house or third-party)
  • Understanding of cost vs. value (cheaper usually isn't better)
  • Complete lifecycle review process (Plan, Do, Check, Adjust)
  • Administrative controls (training, documentation, supervision, maintenance, etc.) to maintain safeguarding solutions and practices.  

Whether you tackle these steps with internal resources or hire outside experts to handle your machine safeguarding, if you understand these points—and get executive support and buy-in—you are well on your way to a safer, more efficient factory. 

John Peabody is vice president of business development for Omron Automation and Safety, Fremont, Calif. www.sti.com.



Top Plant
The Top Plant program honors outstanding manufacturing facilities in North America. View the 2017 Top Plant.
Product of the Year
The Product of the Year program recognizes products newly released in the manufacturing industries.
System Integrator of the Year
Each year, a panel of Control Engineering and Plant Engineering editors and industry expert judges select the System Integrator of the Year Award winners in three categories.
May 2018
Electrical standards, robots and Lean manufacturing, and how an aluminum packaging plant is helping community growth.
April 2018
2017 Product of the Year winners, retrofitting a press, IMTS and Hannover Messe preview, natural refrigerants, testing steam traps
March 2018
SCCR, 2018 Maintenance study, and VFDs in a washdown environment.
April 2018
ROVs, rigs, and the real time; wellsite valve manifolds; AI on a chip; analytics use for pipelines
February 2018
Focus on power systems, process safety, electrical and power systems, edge computing in the oil & gas industry
December 2017
Product of the Year winners, Pattern recognition, Engineering analytics, Revitalize older pump installations
Spring 2018
Burners for heat-treating furnaces, CHP, dryers, gas humidification, and more
April 2018
Implementing a DCS, stepper motors, intelligent motion control, remote monitoring of irrigation systems
February 2018
Setting internal automation standards

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

The Maintenance and Reliability Coach's blog
Maintenance and reliability tips and best practices from the maintenance and reliability coaches at Allied Reliability Group.
One Voice for Manufacturing
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 Maintenance and Reliability Professionals Blog
The Society for Maintenance and Reliability Professionals an organization devoted...
Machine Safety
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
Research Analyst Blog
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.
Marshall on Maintenance
Maintenance is not optional in manufacturing. It’s a profit center, driving productivity and uptime while reducing overall repair costs.
Lachance on CMMS
The Lachance on CMMS blog is about current maintenance topics. Blogger Paul Lachance is president and chief technology officer for Smartware Group.
Maintenance & Safety
The maintenance journey has been a long, slow trek for most manufacturers and has gone from preventive maintenance to predictive maintenance.
Industrial Analytics
This digital report explains how plant engineers and subject matter experts (SME) need support for time series data and its many challenges.
IIoT: Operations & IT
This digital report will explore several aspects of how IIoT will transform manufacturing in the coming years.
Randy Steele
Maintenance Manager; California Oils Corp.
Matthew J. Woo, PE, RCDD, LEED AP BD+C
Associate, Electrical Engineering; Wood Harbinger
Randy Oliver
Control Systems Engineer; Robert Bosch Corp.
Data Centers: Impacts of Climate and Cooling Technology
This course focuses on climate analysis, appropriateness of cooling system selection, and combining cooling systems.
Safety First: Arc Flash 101
This course will help identify and reveal electrical hazards and identify the solutions to implementing and maintaining a safe work environment.
Critical Power: Hospital Electrical Systems
This course explains how maintaining power and communication systems through emergency power-generation systems is critical.
click me