Machinery Safety 101



Today marks a fant­ast­ic mile­stone for the Machinery Safety 101 blog – 1,000,000 views! When I star­ted writ­ing this blog back in Octo­ber 2008, I had high hopes that a few dozens, or per­haps as many as 1 000 people would find my art­icles inter­est­ing enough to spend some time read­ing. Nev­er in my wild­est ima­gin­ings did I think I’d ever see the kind of traffic we see every day, with typ­ic­ally 1 000 to 2 000 views.

Pie chart showing the top five countries based on readership of the MS101 blog
Top Five Countries

Top Five Countries

Most of our read­ers come from the USA, which isn’t too sur­pris­ing giv­en the size of the coun­try and the volume of machinery built there. About 77% of Cana­dian exports go to our NAFTA part­ners, the USA and Mex­ico [1]. We’ve had over 92 380 vis­it­ors from the USA, show­ing the depth of the friend­ship and trade between the US and Canada.

The UK is our second largest read­er group with more than 19 975 read­ers com­ing from that coun­try, and Canada comes third with 15 438 read­ers. Round­ing out the top five are China and India. China is a rel­at­ively recent addi­tion to our community.

Com­plet­ing the top ten coun­tries by read­er­ship, we have Aus­tralia, Ger­many, France, Switzer­land and Ukraine.

Our Most Popular Articles

Our most pop­u­lar post is still “Emer­gency Stop — What’s so con­fus­ing about that?” Since March 2009, this post has had more than 155 331 views!  I’ve updated the post a couple of times to keep it cur­rent, but WOW, I am humbled by how many read­ers have found this art­icle interesting.

One more art­icle that many read­ers have found inter­est­ing is “Emer­gency Stop Cat­egor­ies,” first pub­lished in Septem­ber 2010. More than 77 847 have read this art­icle dis­cuss­ing the fre­quently mis­un­der­stood Stop Cat­egor­ies, which are often con­fused with con­trol sys­tem archi­tec­ture cat­egor­ies. If you’re not sure of the dif­fer­ence, this post is for you.

Anoth­er very pop­u­lar art­icle is “Under­stand­ing the Hier­archy of Con­trols,” pub­lished in Feb­ru­ary 2011. This post has had 46 637 read­ers so far. Things are chan­ging in the way the Hier­archy of Con­trols is defined and used, and I’ll be updat­ing that post in the com­ing months to reflect those changes.

What’s next?

When I first wrote about the emer­gency stop func­tion in 2009, I thought that I might have enough mater­i­al for one or two posts. Since then I’ve writ­ten 14 art­icles on vari­ous aspects of the emer­gency stop func­tion, e‑stop devices, and related cir­cuit archi­tec­tures. In the com­ing, months I’m plan­ning to post on top­ics like

  • the pro­tect­ive earth/ground ter­min­al and how to cor­rectly con­nect bond­ing con­duct­ors to this ter­min­al to ensure a reli­able and robust con­nec­tion for both safety and EMC,
  • open­ings in guards and the safety dis­tance required behind the bar­ri­er where an open­ing exists,
  • the devel­op­ment of safety-related soft­ware,
    val­id­a­tion and veri­fic­a­tion of safety-related con­trol sys­tems, and
  • fault-mask­ing in inter­locks and emer­gency stop cir­cuits where mul­tiple devices are daisy-chained.

Online Training

CIC Training Centre header image showing a view looking down onto a desktop with a computer keyboard and a man wearing a blue short-sleeved shirt with his arms crossed over his chest as if contemplating his next move.

RA101 – Risk Assessment 101

2017 saw us open our online train­ing centre with the launch of Risk Assess­ment 101. This course has had great reviews from our stu­dents! If you need to learn how to do a risk assess­ment, this course is for you. The course includes 14 videos cov­er­ing the vari­ous aspects of risk assess­ment, two work­ing Excel risk assess­ment tem­plates, and 34 PDFs con­tain­ing tons of addi­tion­al inform­a­tion on risk assess­ment. It’s a remark­able course. No oth­er online train­er is offer­ing any­thing like it, and if you’re not happy, we guar­an­tee your money back.

Register Now!

FS101 – Functional Safety 101

Com­ing next is our Func­tion­al Safety 101 course, build­ing on our risk assess­ment course. There are some com­pan­ies offer­ing courses to cer­ti­fy prac­ti­tion­ers as “Machinery Safety Experts,” but most of these courses spend the bulk of the course on laws and reg­u­la­tions in Europe, and very little time on the “how-to” of func­tion­al safety. If you’ve ever sat down to try to read ISO 13849, you’ll know how con­fus­ing it can be. It’s not writ­ten for begin­ners, but for exper­i­enced con­trol sys­tems engin­eers. This course will take you through the entire pro­cess, from the link between risk and reli­ab­il­ity, defin­ing the safety func­tions, decid­ing on the neces­sary archi­tec­ture and dia­gnost­ic cap­ab­il­ity, and finally the crit­ic­al val­id­a­tion and veri­fic­a­tion steps needed to ensure that your design will keep users safe. Sub­scribers to our mail­ing list will get a sweet­heart deal when we’re ready to launch, so if you’re not on our mail­ing list now is a great time to sign up

Get in touch with us!

Need to know more? Want to sug­gest a top­ic for us to cov­er? Get in touch with us through the blog, or email us at [email protected]. We’d love to hear from you!


[1]     Stat­ist­ics Canada. “Table  12 – 10-0001 – 01   Inter­na­tion­al mer­chand­ise trade by com­mod­ity (x 1,000,000)”,, 2018. [Online]. Avail­able: [Accessed: 12- Sep- 2018].

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