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Safety Consultation

Are you challenged by today’s ever-changing safety standards?

We can help!

Are you responsible for designing equipment to meet the latest safety standards?

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Do you need to determine which safety standards should be used?

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Why is safety so important today? In today’s workplace, safety is quickly being recognized as one of the key metrics when evaluating the success of new equipment installations. In the past, many companies used to look at safety from a risk perspective. What are the chances that there will be an accident with a given machine? The typical answer was: minimal. As such most companies were willing to take the risk. Not so today. The reason behind this is simple: costs for litigation, OSHA fines, & insurance surcharges far outweigh the costs of integrating equipment safely. What hazards do we need to consider? The simple answer is that we need to review any hazard which can cause an injury requiring more than first aid (here in the U.S). Any injury which requires attention beyond first-aid is referred to as an OSHA recordable event. Anyone reading this is likely to know that you want as few of these events as possible. Some of the hazards to consider are:

  • Ergonomics & repetitive motion
  • Electrical hazards
  • High temperature hazards
  • Pinch point hazards

The costs for an accident in a manufacturing facility can cost anywhere from a mere $10,000 to $250,000 or more depending on the severity of injury, how much lost time was incurred, whether it occurred due to unsafe work practices, and if the equipment had the proper guarding in place or not. Whereas the costs for safety hardware can be as low as a few hundred dollars, all the way up to $10,000 or more. If one single injury is prevented, the time and money spent to make the machinery safe is clearly justified. This is the new perspective when companies are looking at equipment safety today.

With the high costs of automated equipment and longer lifecycles for this equipment the justification becomes even clearer. Since the equipment lifetime is longer, what are the chances of some type of an accident occurring over a 10 to 20yrs span? It actually becomes probable. Why? A variety of reasons. Operators become "comfortable" with the machine. They know the machine and hence think that they can't get hurt. Inadequate training is another reason. As the machine lifespan gets longer and longer, the people who taught operators how to do their job safely are no longer available, training materials & manuals have been lost, and in many cases even the manufacturer is no longer available. Other factors: guards get removed, safety circuits have been by-passed, or the machine has been "upgraded". Now think about this: when you consider any one of the items above, even for a machine with a fairly short lifetime of a few years, there is a strong possibility that someone will get hurt.

That someone won't necessarily be an operator either. The rule of thumb today is that you m-u-s-t protect any and all people that might come into contact with the machine. This includes operators, technicians, engineers, service personnel, even your cleaning crew. Not only that, but you also must make it safe for visitors, vendors that tour your plant, salespeople, potential investors, etc. On top of that, you also need to consider the installation and disposal of the machinery.