The purpose of the Risk Assessment (RA) is to identify the remediation (safeguarding) required to reduce the risk within tolerable levels and comply with all applicable safety regulations. In a RA, a multi-disciplined team identifies tasks and risks of the machine. The risk is scored (with and without safeguarding) and a safeguarding plan is developed. This RA document is then accepted by the team and forms the basis of the remediation (safeguarding) plan.
RA Services typically include the following:
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Often, companies just need help to know what to do and how to provide proper machine guarding. It is often overwhelming to consider the obligations, requirements, and options that are present. MSS on-site safety audits assess the existing machine safety, make recommendations, and provide guidance on risk reduction methods (guards, interlocks, signs, training, etc.).
Ideally, a hazard is either eliminated or designed out of a machine. If a hazard cannot be designed out, it may be mitigated by guarding or other means (use a Risk Assessment method similar to our Risk Assessment spreadsheet). Then, when all else has failed, use the appropriate PPE to prevent injury that cannot be designed out or otherwise eliminated.
Many users create a ongoing problem when they simply use PPE without eliminating the hazard by conducting a Risk Assessment. It is natural to try and do it this way– we all tend to do it. Who doesn’t want to try the “easy way out”? But it can be costly. How many times have you heard the expression “There’s always time and money to fix the problem after the big injury”?
What’s the downside in not eliminating the hazard by design? Repeated injuries, lost time and money. It is far better to design out the risk once, than to continually deal with the same injuries and forcing employees to use possibly unnecessary PPE. The cost of purchasing PPE over time can easily offset the upfront cost of conducting Risk Assessment.
Obviously, there are certain types of work and activity that require PPE even after a Risk Assessment. We are not advocating discontinuing the requirement for PPE.
What we encourage is for a company to conduct Risk Assessment to determine how to recognize a hazard and reduce the risk accompanying the task by eliminating the risk as much as possible.
As a point of information, this chart, or one similar, is referenced by all standards organizations, including OSHA.
We’ve been in the industry for a very long time and there’s plenty of reason for that. The main reason, as it pertains to you, the business owner, is our ability to keep up with all things OSHA, the consensus standards, and the latest enforcement trends. If OSHA comes out with a nuanced interpretation or standards change regarding a simple packaging machine, we know about it. We understand the nitty-gritty details and technical wording so you don’t have to. Machine Safety Specialists aims to simplify safety regulations for your understanding and properly safeguard your plant floor.
For more information regarding our Risk Assessment services, contact Machine Safety Specialists today.