Honda has long been recognized for producing safe, reliable vehicles, but it's also recognized for a meticulous approach to machine safety. At the Honda of Canada Manufacturing (HCM) facilities in Alliston, Ontario, where a new vehicle drives off the production line almost every minute, a comprehensive pre-start health and safety review (PSR) program helps keep production line associates safe. The program also reinforces the facilities' health and safety culture by engaging stakeholders throughout the organization.
PSRs are legally mandated safety examinations, conducted by a professional engineer, of a new or modified apparatus, structure or protective element before it goes into use. The intent is to prevent injuries by building safety into the new equipment or processes.
Equipment & Construction Safety Specialist Dave Smith is one of the architects of HCM's PSR program. He draws on extensive experience at Honda, as a long-standing member of the technical committees for CSA Z434, CSA Z460, and CSA Z432, and as chair of the Canadian Mirror Committee to ISO TC299 Work Group 3, the technical committee developing the ISO 10218 international industrial robot standard.
Dave attributes the effectiveness of HCM's PSR program in part to a series of documented checks and sign-offs. In a conversation with WSPS eNews, Dave described some of the documents. Here's a sampling:
- A pre-screening sheet. The sheet lists eight risk elements that would require a PSR, as stated in Section 7 of the Industrial Establishments Regulation. A confirmed risk element automatically triggers a risk assessment conducted by a team of internal stakeholders. Among them: production associates, various departments (e.g. Safety, Engineering, Maintenance, Ergonomics), and other individuals. "We track every recommendation that is made in the risk assessment to completion," explains Dave.
- A PSR vendor expectation form, which identifies what's required of the engineering firm conducting the PSR. Components include a table identifying compliance requirements, which industry standard or section of the Industrial Establishments Regulation the requirements appear in, what's needed to achieve compliance, a PSR completion date, and more.
- A safety circuit validation, which involves reviewing any safety circuit diagram to ensure it will meet the required level of performance. "After a safety circuit has been installed we go into the field to make sure it was done correctly. We also perform a functional check of the equipment and its effectiveness in stopping the equipment or process."
- A letter of compliance from the PSR vendor. "We want to ensure we implement everything that the vendor has identified." Anything determined to be "non-compliant" is noted on a non-conformant summary sheet, which is tracked until compliance is achieved.
- A project check sheet that records all the steps required from start to finish. "For example," says Dave, "Did you conduct a risk assessment? Was a PSR performed? Did you follow up on recommendations? Have you done all your equipment safety checks? Has the pre-screening sheet been signed off by all stakeholders? At the very end, did you get your letter of compliance? Our managers and department managers check this before they sign off on the screening sheet."
These are just some of the documents HCM has gradually built, with input from stakeholders, into a PSR process that goes well beyond the Section 7 requirements. "The documents are great examples of effective, good practice approaches for minimizing the risk of unsafe or non-compliant apparatus, structures or processes," says WSPS Machine and Robotics Safety Specialist Rob Vomiero, who has worked closely with Dave Smith and HCM.
"Furthermore, involving stakeholders ensures everyone at HCM understands what a PSR is, what it's for, and how it contributes to overall safety and organizational performance - an essential step in keeping workers safe and building a corporate-wide health and safety culture."
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