Safety in the Manufacturing Environment

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USA & Canada - Responsibilities and legal implications:

Who is responsible for safety in a manufacturing environment?
We all are. You are responsible to go about your business in a safe and timely manner. Management is responsible to make sure you have the proper training and equipment to complete the tasks assigned to you. Ownership is responsible to make sure management has the tools to allow them to manage production and produce product, in a safe and profitable way.

Isn’t the machine manufacturer responsible to produce a product that is safe and complies with all applicable safety standards?
Not currently. After a machine has been installed on a factory floor and the plant owner / plant management have signed off, the responsibility is transferred to them. However, when placing an order for new equipment, the company should insist that as part of the machine specifications, the equipment meet current applicable standards.

If company management becomes aware that there is an unguarded danger point or generally an unsafe area on a machine, what is the best thing to do?
Call a safety professional. By clearly identifying the hazard, they will provide a safety solution using the hierarchal approach.

• Design it out (only applicable if the equipment has not been built yet)
• Apply engineering control (safeguarding technology)
• Awareness
• Training and procedures
• Personal protective equipment

What are the legal implications?
In case of an accident, there will be an investigation, which could result in serious legal consequences, if negligence can be proven.

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Canada

C.S.A. requirements, although voluntary, in each Province are referred to by the Judicial System as the minimum requirement when investigating and defending an industrial accident.

Each Province has their own guide lines. Some use the CSA documents, others use the CSA as their seed document and augment this document to suit their own needs.

Ontario, for example, now requires a “Prestart, Health and Safety Review”.

“The requirements for a Pre-Start Health and Safety Review are triggered when the applicable sections of the “Regulation for Industrial establishments” and their circumstances as listed in “Table 1” apply.

Subsection 7 (2) of the “Regulation for Industrial Establishments” requires a Pre-Start Health and Safety Review for the construction, addition or installation of a new apparatus, structure, protective element or process, or the modification to an existing apparatus, structure, protective element or process.” (extracted from MOL_PSR Guidelines)

By involving a safety professional, these variable provincial requirements will be followed regardless of where your equipment is installed.