The U.K. based Health & Safety Executive published a report (Out Of Control, which is due to be revised) that finds 47% of accidents are attributable to specification errors, hence the focus that many standards (such as ISO 11161 – Integrated Manufacturing Systems) place on the very first stage of the safety lifecycle where concept review is only successful when integrators, manufacturers and users perform a thorough concept review.
So here’s the disconnection: Rockwell Automation has solutions which, used correctly, are as safe as possible and fully compliant. The end user has a facility that uses machines from original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), including or specifying Rockwell Automation solutions. The equipment is fitted by a Systems Integrator (SI) with experience of the equipment and solutions being used. But has the SI checked that the use of the equipment is appropriate to the safety in place? What additional hazards might there be when connecting machinery into a production line? Are there additional risks that the equipment created when connected to other equipment? Is the SI up to date with the fast evolving safety requirements on both products and standards? Who should be responsible for ensuring that the SI is up to date?
Is the end user handing his Lamborghini to the right mechanic for new brakes? Even if it worked out of the garage, would he feel safe under emergency breaking from 120 MPH on the German autobahn?
The solution from Rockwell Automation was to develop a global Safety System Integrator Program that requires integrators to follow an extensive training program on products from simple limit switches to fully integrated solutions involving integrated safety controllers and motion control.
The programme also follows a TÜV Rheinland training scheme that takes them through from TÜV FSTech (Functional Safety Technician), ultimately to TÜV FSEng (Functional Safety Engineer), both of which have rigorous exam requirements. The objective of the 10 hurdles we ask our systems integrators to clear is to alleviate end users of the task of satisfying themselves that system integrators have the necessary competencies to deliver safety projects successfully. We’re making sure that they can work on your Lamborghini.
And the programme results in being listed as a Rockwell Automation safety RcSI (Recognised Systems Integrator) – a seal of assurance for all end users that the systems integrator is trained to deliver the levels of safety needed to be fully compliant and keep your workforce as safe as possible.
Accidents happen, even to people who should know better. When I’m not working, I’m usually to be found on my ‘toy farm’ in Scotland planting trees – 10,000 and counting – or repairing walls and the like. I love it up there. Remember I mentioned I have a tractor? I’m teased at work sometimes for managing to turn it over – nothing hurt except my pride – but it was a reminder that when operating machinery, there is inherent risk. In a way I’m glad I don’t own a Lamborghini.
If you want to know more about becoming a Rockwell Automation RcSI, or if you want to know more about what makes Rockwell Automation the world’s number one automation safety company, drop me a line or visit the safety section of the website here.