Design Engineering

Machine safety education: electrical, mechanical, essential


General DPN

Vickers-Warnick, a motion control and automation product industrial distributor based in southern Ontario, presented a Machine Guarding and Machine Safety seminar in October 2009 at the IAPA Centre for Health & Safety Innovation in Mississauga, ON, for close to 75 safety personnel from industry.

John Murphy, corporate manager of Fluid Power & Safety at Vickers-Warnick (below), recommended the CSA standards for the guarding of robots, punch presses, and other machinery. He detailed how the hand speed constant for reaction time of 63 ips applies to people and devices such as programmable controls, palm buttons, light curtains, safety mats and servomotors. “Ergonomics is also becoming more and more important,” he added.

Risk assessment is a job for all parties in a factory, since an operator might notice one thing and an engineer might notice another. Murphy noted that if you have 75 people in a room, you’ll 75 different “acceptable” levels of risk assessment.
Things to monitor when creating machine guarding are “can personnel be injured if they go over, under, through or behind” the protective measures? Murphy implored: “Ask yourself, ‘would I let my kids operate that machine?’”
Machine guarding risk assessment also becomes a tool for communication, for planning, for people involvement and for training, he explained.



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