How to plan your machine safety system

Jim Sandzik

Today’s manufacturers often struggle to see beyond the current misunderstandings of machine safety. Here's a primer on how to remedy this.

More than safety components – Part I

In a series of conversations, I will be discussing what the benefits of advanced machine safety are, some misconceptions and hopefully help make it easier to understand what is needed to implement a sound machine safety system.

A common approach to machine safety is often focused on components that need to be purchased, or some new item implemented to improve part of the machine safety system.

Modern bottling machinery and associated conveyors and palletizing equipment may be as large as a football field. It will take both an engineered electronic machine safety system and custom safety fencing to keep personnel out of hazardous areas.
Modern bottling machinery and associated conveyors and palletizing equipment may be as large as a football field. It will take both an engineered electronic machine safety system and custom safety fencing to keep personnel out of hazardous areas.

Consider the bigger picture

The result of this is similar to buying business management software to manage your business instead of having a clear vision of where you want to take your company and a well thought-out business plan of how to get there. Yes, the new software might make the existing tasks easier, faster, and maybe even seem more profitable – but are those all the tasks that must be considered?

Companies should be focusing on the larger picture. This means planning the machine safety system as a whole to understand if it meets the demands of the safety standards.  Does the system properly protect those who are exposed to any hazards the machine may present?

It should be understood that the machine safety components are merely some of the tools needed to achieve a successful machine safety system. The components themselves are not the end result. There needs to be an overall goal set, the performance of comprehensive assessments to establish what is needed and a strategy created to accomplish it.

Large metal stamping operations that involve multiple machines requires a detailed machine safety planning.  Risk assessments must be performed in order to reach the proper level of safety to protect valuable personnel.
Large metal stamping operations that involve multiple machines requires a detailed machine safety planning. Risk assessments must be performed in order to reach the proper level of safety to protect valuable personnel.

Planning required

Corporations invest time and energy projecting an image of how safe they are. There are safety first slogans, annual safety awards and index boards displaying the number of days since the last accident. There are safety courses for every operator. However, many times there are no efforts to create long-term plans that should include the application and advantages of the latest machine safety system.

The end user and the machine builder may be unaware of the necessity for Machine Safety Evaluations or Risk Assessments. These types of Machine Safety Services are to determine if the current safety system meets the level of safety called for by the industry standards and what upgrades are necessary if it doesn’t meet those standards.

Manufacturers may not fully understand the many benefits of the advanced machine safety systems that are now available.  Smart businesses often consult and “partner” with experts and specialists such as ABB JOKAB SAFETY to assist in achieving their goals.

Automated assembly lines present many hazards to operators and personnel working around the area. Safety fencing and electronic machine safety systems are needed to reduce the hazard risks to acceptable levels.
Automated assembly lines present many hazards to operators and personnel working around the area. Safety fencing and electronic machine safety systems are needed to reduce the hazard risks to acceptable levels.

Time for change 

The times have changed and the technology used to protect your valuable employee resources while maintaining the highest level of production has changed as well. The comprehensive planning and designing of advanced machine safety systems can offer your company the opportunities to simplify your safety system. Advanced machine safety systems will raise your level of safety, reduce your machine downtime, and lower costs.

In an upcoming segment we will discuss how to select and foster a relationship with a company that specializes in machine safety. “Be Safe!”

To learn more about how ABB machine safety system solutions can help protect your personnel and valuable assets, click here.

About the author

Jim Sandzik

I am a Product Marketing Engineer for ABB JOKAB SAFETY. I have worked for nearly 25 years in various marketing positions to promote the complete Machine Safety Systems & Components and Machine Safety Services that ABB JOKAB SAFETY offers. All these years I have been associated with many talented professional machine safety experts. Anything I know about the subject, I learned and will continue to learn from them. My mission is to tell as many manufacturing companies as possible why machine safety is so necessary for their business.
Comment on this article
Community guidelines