CETA in force!

CETA comes into force today, 21-Sep-2017

If you are unfa­mil­iar with CETA, the Com­pre­hen­sive Eco­nom­ic and Trade Agree­ment, this ground­break­ing trade agree­ment between Cana­da and the Euro­pean Union will be a game-chang­er for Cana­da. Until today, the actu­al date for imple­men­ta­tion of the agree­ment has been a mov­ing tar­get. There were at least two pre­vi­ous dates announced by the Cana­di­an gov­ern­ment, but each time the dates passed with­out the agree­ment com­ing into force due to issues that need­ed to be resolved.

So what does this mean for Cana­di­ans? As of today, 98% of Cana­di­an prod­ucts can now enter into the EU tar­iff-free. With­in two years, 99% of prod­ucts will be tar­iff-free. The agree­ment embod­ies much of what the EU sys­tem is based upon: Four pil­lars of free­dom are entrenched in the agree­ment.

The Four Pil­lars include the free­dom of move­ment of peo­ple, goods, ser­vices and cap­i­tal. This phi­los­o­phy has brought sig­nif­i­cant pros­per­i­ty and free­dom to Euro­pean cit­i­zens. With­in the“Schengen Area”, EU cit­i­zens can move freely across nation­al bor­ders with­out pass­ing through cus­toms, in a very sim­i­lar way to Cana­di­ans mov­ing from Province to Province. EU cit­i­zens can work in any Schen­gen coun­try with­out the need for work­ing visas or cit­i­zen­ship in the new coun­try they have cho­sen. Sim­i­lar free­doms exist for goods, ser­vices and mon­ey.

Under CETA, sim­i­lar free­doms are avail­able to Cana­di­ans, although with some restric­tions since CETA does not mean that Cana­da is now an EU Mem­ber State. Goods can flow from Cana­da to the EU, and from the EU to Cana­da with­out tar­iff restric­tions, except in some lim­it­ed cas­es. Busi­ness­es who want to set up oper­a­tions in the EU can do this with lim­it­ed restric­tions, and Cana­di­an pro­fes­sion­al work­ers can move to the EU to staff these new oper­a­tions with­out the need for restric­tive work visas. Invest­ment in EU oper­a­tions has gained pro­tec­tions through EU law so that these invest­ments are bet­ter pro­tect­ed. Cana­di­an ser­vice busi­ness­es can now pro­vide their ser­vice prod­ucts to EU cus­tomers with lit­tle restric­tion. Cana­di­an busi­ness now has free access to a mar­ket­place of 500 mil­lion new cus­tomers, near­ly 14 times larg­er than the Cana­di­an mar­ket. The EU mar­ket is worth near­ly €2.4 tril­lion in exports alone. This is an oppor­tu­ni­ty Cana­di­ans can’t afford to miss.

With the insta­bil­i­ty being cre­at­ed by the cur­rent US admin­is­tra­tion and the bul­ly tac­tics that are being used to force the rene­go­ti­a­tion of NAFTA, Cana­di­an busi­ness should take the oppor­tu­ni­ty pre­sent­ed to us today to turn our eyes to the EU, a union of coun­tries who are open and friend­ly to Cana­di­ans. Peo­ple who want to work with us, who want our prod­ucts and ser­vices. Many Cana­di­ans sup­port scrap­ping NAFTA if key pro­vi­sions can’t be met.

For more infor­ma­tion on CETA and what it will mean for Cana­di­ans, please see Doing Busi­ness in Europe — CETA: Cana­da and the Euro­pean Union Ush­er In a New Era of Trade.

21-Sep­tem­ber-2017 is a day to cel­e­brate. The future looks bright!

Online Training Centre Opens

Online Training Centre Opens

You’ve been chal­lenged to start doing risk assess­ments on your machine designs, but you don’t know where to start. Per­haps you’ve bought a few stan­dards or a book or two, hop­ing to fig­ure it all out, but you nev­er seem to be able to stay focused long enough to get what you need from these mate­ri­als.

You need train­ing. You start the hunt in the Google search box, but find­ing the right kind of train­ing is daunt­ing. How do you know what you need?

Search no longer! Com­pli­ance inSight Con­sult­ing opened it’s online Train­ing Cen­tre this month and is now tak­ing enrol­ments for the char­ter class in Machin­ery Risk Assess­ment!

Risk Assessment 101

Risk Assess­ment 101 is designed for machin­ery design­ers, tech­nol­o­gists and engi­neers who need to get a han­dle on the basics of risk assess­ment. The course includes 12 mod­ules, cov­er­ing

  • the basics of risk
  • haz­ard iden­ti­fi­ca­tion and analy­sis
  • like­li­hood of injury
  • risk con­trol mea­sures
  • risk assess­ment work­flow
  • doc­u­men­ta­tion
  • next steps

The course includes a live class each week, unit quizzes to help learn­ers gauge their under­stand­ing, live office hours with the instruc­tor each week, a Face­book dis­cus­sion group, and much more. Stu­dents suc­cess­ful­ly com­plet­ing the course will receive a Cer­tifi­cate of Achieve­ment.

The Char­ter Class is lim­it­ed to 15 stu­dents and is being offered at a spe­cial intro­duc­to­ry price. If you’re inter­est­ed, don’t waste any time, enroll right away to secure a seat.

Future Courses

Over the next few months, addi­tion­al cours­es will be added to the Train­ing Cen­tre on top­ics like CE Mark­ing, Func­tion­al Safe­ty, Machine Guard­ing, and much more. Some cours­es will be self-direct­ed, while oth­ers will have live class­es as part of the pro­gram.

Our goal at CIC is to pro­vide our cus­tomers with a con­ve­nient, afford­able way to get the train­ing they need when they need it. We hope to see you in class soon!

Emergency Stop Failures

This entry is part 13 of 13 in the series Emer­gency Stop

I am always look­ing for inter­est­ing exam­ples of machin­ery safe­ty prob­lems to share on MS101. Recent­ly I was scrolling Reddit/r/OSHA and found these three real-world exam­ples.

Broken Emergency Stop Buttons

The first and most obvi­ous kinds of fail­ures are those result­ing from either wear out or dam­age to emer­gency stop devices like e-stop but­tons or pull cords. Here’s a great exam­ple:

Won’t be stop­ping this ele­va­tor any­time soon. from OSHA

The oper­a­tor device in this pic­ture has two prob­lems:

1) the but­ton oper­a­tor has failed and

2) the e-stop is incor­rect­ly marked.

The cor­rect mark­ing would be a yel­low back­ground in place of the red/silver leg­end plate, like the exam­ple below. The yel­low back­ground could have the words “emer­gency stop” on it, but this is not nec­es­sary as the colour com­bi­na­tion is enough.

Yellow circular legend plate with the words "emergency stop" in black letters. Fits A-B 800T pushbutton operators.
Allen-Bradley 800T Emer­gency Stop leg­end plate

There is an ISO/IEC sym­bol for an emer­gency stop that could also be used [1].

Emergency stop symbol. A circle containing an equalateral triangle pointing downward, containing an exclamation mark.
Emer­gency Stop Sym­bol IEC 60417–5638 [1]
I won­der how the con­tact block(s) inside the enclo­sure are doing? Con­tact blocks have been known to fall off the back of emer­gency stop oper­a­tor but­tons, leav­ing you with a but­ton that does noth­ing when pressed. Con­tact blocks secured with screws are most vul­ner­a­ble to this kind of fail­ure. Los­ing a con­tact block like this hap­pens most often in high-vibra­tion con­di­tions. I have run across this in real life while doing inspec­tions on client sites.

There are con­tact blocks made to detect this kind of fail­ure, like Allen Bradley’s self-mon­i­tor­ing con­tact block, 800TC-XD4S, or the sim­i­lar Siemens prod­uct,3SB34. Most con­trols com­po­nent man­u­fac­tur­ers will be like­ly to have sim­i­lar com­po­nents.

Here’s anoth­er exam­ple from a machine inspec­tion I did a while ago. Note the wire “keep­er” that pre­vents the but­ton from get­ting lost!

Instal­la­tion Fail­ures

Here is an exam­ple of poor plan­ning when installing new bar­ri­er guards. The emer­gency stop but­ton is now out of reach. The orig­i­nal poster does not indi­cate a rea­son why the emer­gency stop for the machine he was oper­at­ing was mount­ed on a dif­fer­ent machine.

sure hope i nev­er need to hit that emer­gency stop but­ton. its for the machine on my side of the new fence. from OSHA

No Emergency Stop at all

Final­ly, and pos­si­bly the worst exam­ple of all. Here is an impro­vised emer­gency stop using a set of wire cut­ters. No fur­ther com­ment required.

Emer­gency stop but­ton. from OSHA

If you have any exam­ples you would like to share, feel free to add them in com­ments below. Ref­er­ences to par­tic­u­lar employ­ers or man­u­fac­tur­ers will be delet­ed before posts are approved.


[1]     “IEC 60417–5638, Emer­gency Stop”, Iso.org, 2017. [Online]. Avail­able: https://www.iso.org/obp/ui/#iec:grs:60417:5638. [Accessed: 27- Jun- 2017].