Safety Standards were created and adopted locally and globally to ensure workers are safe, and products are created applying safety standards for user protection. These standards are evolving as technology evolves to ensure that safety requirements stay in step with new advances such as, integrated safety controls and robotics. In the past, machine safety was cumbersome and easily bypassed, and standards were often not implemented. Control systems were hardwired and gates and guards prevented access to the machine. Lockout Tagout was the primary method of ensuring workers were safe when entering the machine.
Today, there are multiple levels of safety standards created and enforced to ensure that workers have a safe working environment without impeding productivity.
- Assessment Standards make sure you identify and remediate risk hazards appropriately.
- Product Standards give you the confidence that the technology is being built correctly.
- Application Standards ensure the right technology is selected, installed, and used correctly.
- Performance Standards ensure each safety device as well as the safety system is designed in a reliable manner.
- Validation Standards makes sure everything was properly put together to ultimately reduce the risk.
The use of safety-rated devices, such as light curtains and sensors detect safety issues prior to the event occurring, providing an increased focus on safety standards that are implemented and enforced. This work environment enables productive work while minimizing worker risk, increases the likelihood for Standard Operating procedures to be followed and reduces the motivation to bypass safety devices. Lockout Tagout still remains the most preferred method of ensuring workers are safe when entering the machine.
We are seeing a safety environment emerge today where most manufacturing focuses on machine productivity and safety through integrated safety components, intelligent safety devices, a wider use of safety programmable logic controllers, and entire safety networks. These new safety technologies enhance operational efficiency with less disruption to production.
Combining the appropriate standards with the most appropriate technology provides a work environment that is safe and compliant for operational efficiency – with less downtime and safety incidents. This convergence of safety standards and technology increases the focus on design flexibility, more meaningful diagnostics, improved productivity, and safety as an integral part of the total manufacturing operation.