Assess and reduce risk

Monday, 14 August, 2006

How do you ensure a machine is properly safeguarded? Chris Soranno from STI Machine Services has devised a 12-step process that offers a thorough risk assessment for the safe and efficient operation of industrial machinery.

Risk assessment and risk reduction may be foreign terms to many in the field of industrial safety. While occupational health and safety professionals are charged with the responsibility of providing a safe work environment for employees, machine safeguarding is just one of the many areas of human safety to be addressed.

Consensus standards such as those presented by the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) and our own Australian Standards draw on the expertise and experience of individuals with a direct interest in the topic covered by each publication.

Although the standards are intended for voluntary use, they may be applied as mandatory requirements in commerce and industry. These standards are reaffirmed, rewritten or withdrawn on a continual basis in order to keep up with the changes that occur in industry, and reflect the time-tested and most commonly used state of the art at the time of their approval.

It is difficult for someone responsible for plant-wide safety to become an expert in every field. As a result, these professionals must learn to identify their needs and call on the expertise of specialists in those areas.

When it comes to machine safeguarding, it's essential to have a basic understanding of risk assessment and risk reduction to ensure contractors are well versed in the current requirements and standards.

Machine safeguarding can be broken down into a 12-step process. When discussing risk assessment and risk reduction with a potential service provider, the contractor should be able to exhibit a detailed understanding of each step.

A detailed description of each of Soranno's 12 steps to machine guarding can be found in the August/September issue of Safety Solutions.

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