Address Safety and Security Together
As industrial operations become more connected, organizations should review security risks in relation to safety risks. We all know security helps protect our intellectual property, operations and brand. Unfortunately, the inherent safety implications of security risks are too often overlooked.
By integrating safety and security programs and following key steps, you can assess, manage and mitigate the safety implications of security risks.
EHS is most directly responsible for worker safety but only directly controls the least-effective machinery-safety methods. Engineering focuses on technical standards yet has control of the most-effective machinery-safety methods. Often, these two departments view each other suspiciously, resulting in reduced safety and productivity.
A key element of safety maturity, mentioned above, is collaboration between the two – and with operations. In fact, a recent LNS Research study found that organizations in which these three functions collaborate experience a 15 percent lower median incident rate.
Perform Risk Assessments Early in the Design Process
Designing risks out of machinery, rather than building a machine and then trying to make it safer, is critical. Most companies perform a risk assessment at some point.
A key question for any new machine is when you will conduct a risk assessment on it. Is it early in the design process, when risks can be designed out? Or is it after the machine is designed, built, and ready to ship?
It’s vital to perform a risk assessment early in the design process and again after the machine is in place at its operating location to help verify compliance, safety, and productivity. Studies show that 60 to 70 percent of safety incidents occur outside of normal operating mode (during maintenance, repair, etc.). For more on the topic, please see this brief (PDF).
Design Ergonomic Machinery
Our industry’s changing workforce is creating new safety considerations. Younger and inexperienced workers are at higher risk for acute injuries. Older workers are at higher risk for musculoskeletal and repetitive stress injuries, which can often be chronic or career ending.
Getting the most from every available worker now requires building machines for a broader range of workers. This means including ambidextrous features and reducing repetitive motion, lifting and awkward placement of the body.
Use LOTO Alternative Measures to Improve Productivity
Safety doesn't have to come at the expense of productivity. Contemporary machinery design allows for minor service exceptions to lock-out/tag-out (LOTO) when procedures are routine, repetitive and integral to the use of the equipment.
When correctly used, alternative measures can improve productivity by reducing LOTO-related downtime while still maintaining compliance. In some cases, alternative measures can be the difference between mere compliance and operational excellence. Read more about using alternative protective measures (PDF).