Industrial Automation
OMRON Scientific Technologies, Inc.
Expert Area
Company Info
Safeguard Integration Services
Assessing the Machine or Process: The Most Critical Step Toward Safety
Five questions to ask:
Why should I have a formal assessment?
In our experience over 90% of machines on the factory floor are not guarded in accordance with relevant regulations and standards. To safeguard a machine correctly and ensure the existing safeguards are adequate requires a documented machine safeguarding assessment.

A proper assessment helps ensure that your machine remains productive after the guarding is installed.

What is the assessment process?
The assessment process has two parts: Risk Level Identification and Risk Reduction.

Risk Level Identification - The process of interacting with your operators and maintenance personnel to understand the intended use of the machine, the required tasks and related hazards, and the level of risk associated with the operation of the equipment.

Risk Reduction - The application of protective measures appropriate for the identified level of risk in a manner that both reduces the risk to a tolerable level and achieves compliance with applicable regulations and standards. The goal is to have a machine that is both safe and productive.

What is the advantage of documented machine safeguarding assessment and risk reduction plan?
A documented machine safeguarding assessment provides a clear plan to reduce risk and bring machines into compliance. The report contains a high level overview and machine-specific risk reduction recommendations based on the identified risk level of the equipment as used in your facility. The report helps communicate the current status of your machine safeguarding program to all levels of your organization.

A documented assessment helps create priorities for safeguarding while taking into account measures that are currently working. This helps target funds where the most benefit will be realized while also planning for future upgrades. The assessment document can also be used to ensure machines remain in compliance by comparing the existing guarding system with the detailed guarding recommendations and drawings. This allows any deviations to be identified and addressed.

The assessment/risk reduction report can show government regulators, your insurance company and corporate headquarters what your plan is to achieve compliance.

Risk Assessment Quote

What information should be derived from the assessment report?
Assessment is a two part process and you will want to make sure that the report addresses both. The assessment company should provide you with a written report that contains usable information and includes a specific and detailed strategy on how to guard the machine correctly to achieve maximum safety and productivity. At a minimum, the report should contain thefollowing information and always consider the risk level of a given machine:

Applicable safety standards or regulations considered
Overview of the process used to determine the risk level for each machine
Explanation of the risk reduction requirements that apply
Detailed identification information for each machine
Types and descriptions of hazards associated with each machine
Factors and model used to determine the risk level for the machine
Safety-related control system performance requirements for compliance
Estimated risk level after guarding using the assessor's detailed recommendations
Detailed, written, risk reduction recommendations covering the type and location of the safeguarding measures and a description of how they will be applied to reduce the risk to a tolerable level
A drawing showing the guarding concept and approximate location of the guards and safety devices on the machine
Are there different types of assessments?
Absolutely! And it is important to understand the type of assessment that you will be getting. There are basically four types of assessments:

Compliance Assessment
Compliance Assessment with Generalized Recommendations
Risk Reduction (Product Oriented Solution)
Machine & Process Safeguarding Assessment and Risk Reduction Solution (Best Value and Most Usable)
Compliance Assessment:

Identifies compliance issues (typically comprised of intensive documentation)
Sometimes includes risk level identification
Provides no solution (risk reduction) Performed by:
Safety 'consultants' (typically with regulatory experience or some form of 'safety' certification, not necessarily with a specialization in machine safeguarding)
Software packages (assign levels of risk/compliance based on static list of questions)
Cost: Relatively high

Value: Low (only identifies mostly obvious deficiencies)
Compliance Assessment with Generalized Recommendations:
In addition to the information supplied by a Compliance Assessment, this report includes:

General solutions for risk reduction, but not specific enough to be used as a comprehensive guideline for budgeting Performed by
Safety 'consultants'
Cost: Relatively high Value: Moderate (identifies mostly obvious deficiencies with general solutions, but not enough information to identify an accurate cost of implementation)

Risk Assessment Quote

The best way to safeguard a machine correctly is by conducting a documented machine safeguarding assessment.

Risk Assessment Quote

Risk Reduction:

Identifies a possible solution (which typically revolves around product offering of the party conducting assessment)
Provides no risk assessment Performed by:
Safety component manufacturers/ representatives/distributors (typically based on fitting products immediately available to all applications - a "square peg in a round hole.")
Cost: Relatively low ('disguised quote') - sometimes free! Value: Low (only identifies partial solutions based on capabilities of 3rd party)

Machine & Process Safeguarding Assessment and Risk Reduction Solution:

Identifies existing risk level based on application and use of equipment
Determines performance requirements of safeguarding system based on level of identified risk
Evaluates existing safeguards to performance requirements identified
Provides solution to achieve required performance level while maintaining productivity
Prioritizes action list based on combination of risk level and compliant safeguards already in place
Performed by:

Qualified safety experts specializing in safeguarding industrial machinery
Experts on applicable regulations, directives, and standards
True solution providers capable of offering turn-key integration
Cost: Moderate Value: High (provides required document (risk level assessment) that justifies performance requirements and finds solutions based on achieving high safety and productivity)
How do I qualify a vendor to perform my assessments?
The vendor should:

Have extensive experience conducting machine safeguarding risk level assessments in accordance with all applicable standards
Be willing to provide you with a sample assessment report
Provide a reference list of companies and contacts where machine safeguarding assessments were conducted in the last 2 years and equivalent in scope to your requirements
Be able to provide proof of Professional Liability or Errors & Omissions insurance
Provide a written report of the assessment findings to include identified risk levels that validate the detailed risk reduction strategies
Be an active member of various trade organizations and participate on various industry consensus standard committees

Machine Safety Overview

Omron STI Qualifications to be Your Safety Expert

Educate Your Organization

Machine Safeguarding Skill Builder Seminar

Assessing Your Machine or Process

Engineering & Design: Implementing Integrated Safety

Supporting Each of Your Plant Locations

Service & Repair Offerings

Asset Relocation Services

Risk Assessment Quote

Did you know OSTI has a Maintenance & Repair Services Division in Southern California?


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