4 ways to get to know your safeguarding options (video)

Nov 04, 2016

machine guardingYou're purchasing a new piece of equipment or upgrading an existing one, and need to know the best safeguarding options. Will a fixed guard do the trick? Or do you need a more advanced solution, such as a perimeter guard and/or light curtain?

"Choosing the right safeguarding for a particular piece of equipment requires a good knowledge of the operation and its risks, and what options are available," says WSPS machine safety specialist Michael Wilson. So how can you bring yourself up to speed? Michael shares four ways in this short video Machine Safeguarding - Know Your Safeguarding Options.

4 sources of information

Michael elaborates here on four safeguarding options available to you.

1. Stay up to date on standards applying to your machinery. "Standards don't dictate what device(s) you need to safeguard your machine, but they will guide you in doing a risk assessment, which helps you identify hazards," says Michael. "This, in turn, helps you determine what suitable safeguarding measures will be." Standards also provide information on the types of safeguarding available and what they protect against. CSA has several standards to help guide safeguarding with power presses, robots and general safeguarding.

2. Attend conferences and trade shows. "WSPS' annual health and safety conference and trade show in the spring, plus our regional shows, are the perfect place to explore safeguarding options," says Michael. "If you can't attend the seminars, just hit the trade show. You'll find many companies that specialize in safeguarding in one place, as well as WSPS consultants who can answer questions. You can walk the tradeshow floor in one day, have several different conversations, and get multiple ideas to solve the same problem."

3. Speak with suppliers and integrators of safety devices. Chat with technical service people, describe a situation that you've got, and get some ideas. Make sure you've done your homework on the hazards and risks beforehand. "The first question they're going to ask you is, 'What are you trying to protect workers from? From reaching in, with their fingers or their hand, or are you trying to protect people who are walking through?'"

Also, know your equipment and operation well, so you can point out any anomalies. Not every application is straightforward. "If a part of your machine is sticking out of the detection field of a light curtain, for example, it might trip the curtain and shut down the machine. So you may need to have the ability to turn off individual beams."

4. Take courses. Training on safeguarding your equipment, CSA standards, and robot safety are a great place to boost your knowledge about safeguarding options, says Michael. Make sure your maintenance staff, joint health and safety committee (JHSC) members and engineering staff also get exposure, "because they are always going to wind up dealing with safeguarding in some way."

"The term guarding often leads to concerns about lost production and thinking that tasks will be more difficult," explains Michael. "Understanding what options are available when you are looking at new machines or upgrading existing ones can save frustration down the road."

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