The field of health and safety at work is becoming increasingly complex and several sub-fields, which are often highly technical, are starting to appear or to evolve. Machine safety is a prime example of these sub-fields.
The CNESST’s “machine safety” action plan launched in 2005 has certainly raised awareness and improved the safety of a lot of equipment in Quebec, although there is still some way to go. It is the owner’s responsibility to ensure that their equipment is safe. This is the law (LSST, 2020).
According to the IRSST’s annual indicators on occupational injuries, the number of work accidents fell sharply between 2007 and 2012 (22% decrease in injuries with loss of time later compensated) (Duguay et al., 2016). However, in 2018, there were 62 fatal occupational accidents (CNESST, 2019). If we include deaths linked to occupational diseases, 226 are to be deplored in 2018 alone. Much prevention work therefore remains to be done.
Standard ISO 13857 on safety distances preventing lower and upper limbs from reaching hazardous areas, together with standard ISO 14120 concerning the general requirements for the design and construction of fixed and movable guards, are essential standards for the design and verification of the conformity of guards.
In Quebec, the health and safety of workers is a priority framed in section 2 of the Occupational Health and Safety Act (LSST), which defines its purpose by eliminating at the source of the hazards to health, safety and health and physical integrity of workers. In this definition, the dangers to the health, safety and physical integrity of workers are absolutely referred without mentioning any particular criterion to avoid any possibility of misinterpretation that may lead to depreciation or to neglect one or more corrective measures. However, because of the severity and the high frequency of certain situations, the CNESST has identified nine (9) points with zero tolerance that concerns all work environments.
In a workplace, ergonomics scientifically establishes, through the design of systems, the relationships between man, his tools, his methods and his workstation to ensure his comfort, safety and performance when carrying out his work. According to the “Society of Ergonomics of French Language”, this discipline is the science that includes both physiological knowledge or related sciences applied to human work in the perspective of a better adaptation to humans. It aims to understand the constraints factors specific to each workstation to make improvements by considering all the elements to determine how the work is done. It’s about the physical area, the physical development, the safety conditions, the amount of operations or informations to be used, the rate, the schedules and the physical characteristics of the operators (size, weight and gender).
One of the most frequently asked questions concerning the fastening of permanent protectors is the possibility of using a padlock as a means of fastening (conformity of fastening with a padlock).
It is a question that appears simple, but quickly becomes ambiguous when we try to rely solely on regulatory articles and applicable standards. This is a gray area where no clear answer can decide as to the conformity of this action. For this reason, deeper understanding and interpretations are needed to line up our actions with the true goals of these texts.
When electrical equipment is used in an area characterized by a presence of flammable gases, liquids, fibers or dust, the risk of fire or explosion becomes more significant.
The stick is a tool that simulates the limb you wish to keep from the danger zone (e.g. finger, hand, arm). Performing the permanent protector’s conformity check is done simply by making sure that the stick cannot reach the danger zone when inserted through the openings of the protector, according to its smallest opening.
For access to a danger zone during maintenance activities or assembly and installation activities, lockout or, in absence of lockout, any other energy control method that ensures equivalent safety must be applied, according to RROHS article 188.2. These other energy control methods are sometimes called ‘’alternative methods to lockout.’’
Many alternatives are available to allow for efficient control of access to the danger zones of equipment. The choice of one or many of these alternatives is mainly based on the need to access the danger zone, the frequency and the nature of the tasks to be performed inside the danger zone.
Access to the danger zone of a machine during maintenance, or even setup and installation activities, should only be allowed once all energies have been controlled by use of lockout, according to article 188.2 of ROHS.
The “Safe Torque Off” function, better known as STO function, is a basic safety function that can be integrated in motor drives.
A distinction between three concepts related to words “category” and “stop” should be made before detailing the main subject of this blog.
The safety standards hierarchy provides a solid basis for guiding machine designers and preventionists in their risk control efforts…
Major changes to the latest edition of CSA Z432 standard could be summarized under 4 topics:
For many years, Intervention Prevention inc., has been receiving several questions about access to danger zone.
From users to standards writers, many definitions based on different understandings are given to the reset function.
The emergency stop function is designed to reduce risk or eliminate an imminent or existing hazard that may affect the safety of people, machinery or work under progress.
Intervention Prévention Inc.
Intervention Prévention concentrates its operations in the field of work safety, offering specialized services following Standards CSA Z462 – Workplace Electrical Safety, CSA Z460 – Control of Hazardous Energy: Lock-out and Other Methods, and CSA Z432 – Safeguarding of Machinery.