More Complex Machine Guarding Solutions

Much more complex machine, that needs to keep running, are notoriously difficult to effectively guard by using fixed guarding or continuously using lockout/tag out methods because the operator must frequently interact with the equipment. The CSA Z-432 Machine Guarding standard does allow for exceptions to locking out equipment if it is integral to the process and routine. When lockout/tag out isn’t practical, the standard allows taking the energy sources out of the equation. Installing a light-curtain protective system and personalized reset key keeps employees from coming in contact with energy sources during routine operating processes, such as clearing jams and doing minor maintenance. This type of protection is very effective if the employer and employees fully understand its use and, more importantly, its limitations.

When employing these effective safety solutions a Pre-start Health and Safety Review report (known as a PSR). The report included a hazard analysis, which identified the quality of the safety system based on the frequency of exposure, the severity of harm and the possibility of avoidance. The hazard analysis established the degree of redundancies necessary for the system, based upon the degree of exposure. The standard specifies that the higher the degree of exposure to harm, the greater the degree of redundancies. In this particular situation, the system was rated control reliable or dual channel with monitoring.

For Existing equipment (as opposed to brand new) the process of upgrading begins with an audit. The audit consists of a complete hazard analysis and solutions recommendations, followed by the design of a safety solution. The safety solution must be effective and have only a positive impact on the productivity of the machine. During the design stage, all pertinent drawings and bills of material are created. It is very important to have engineered drawings because they enable that tender process, as well as produce a record of what has been done. The next step in this process is the build and the completion of a final Pre-Start Health and Safety Review or PHSR. As you can see, this is a necessary and relatively lengthy process. We know from experience that it may take at least a month or longer to go through the process, depending on the complexity of the machine.

Based on Ontario’s Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) data, there were 80,863 lost-time injuries related to machinery in 2009 in the province. All the manufacturers should be proactive in making sure that all of the equipment in their factories is safe.