Machinery Safety 101

Five reasons you should attend our Free Safety Talks

Banner for the Free Safety Talks

Reas­on #1 – Free Safety Talks You can­’t argue with Free Stuff! Last week we partnered with Schmersal Canada and Frank­lin Empire to put on three days of Free Safety Talks. We had full houses in all three loc­a­tions, Wind­sor, Lon­don and Cam­bridge, with nearly 60 people par­ti­cip­at­ing. We had two great presenters who helped…

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Q & A: Can Safety PLCs be used for Lockout?

Disconnect Switch with Lock and Tag
This entry is part 2 of 2 in the series Q&A

The ques­tion of lock­out and the use of safety PLCs as a means to meet the lock­out require­ments comes up more and more fre­quently these days. Can Safety PLCs be used for lock­out? Safety pro­fes­sion­als don’t always agree on this con­tro­ver­sial top­ic! Dur­ing the Free Safety Talks that we did with Schmersal Canada and Frank­lin Empire, this…

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Safe Drive Control including Safe Torque Off (STO)

Graph illustrating STO Function
This entry is part 12 of 16 in the series Emer­gency Stop

Ed. Note: This art­icle was revised 25-Jul-17 to include inform­a­tion on safe stand­still. Safe Drive Con­trol includ­ing STO Motor drives are every­where. From DC vari­able speed drives and index­ing drives, through AC Vari­able Fre­quency drives, servo drives and step­per motor drives, the cap­ab­il­it­ies and the flex­ib­il­ity of these elec­tron­ic sys­tems has giv­en machine design­ers unpre­ced­en­ted…

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Industrial Exception” Becomes Permanent in Ontario

A group surrounding a computer discussing a problem.

The “Indus­tri­al Excep­tion” The “Indus­tri­al Excep­tion” is a clause in the Ontario Pro­fes­sion­al Engin­eer­’s Act that per­mits unli­censed people to do work nor­mally reserved for licenced engin­eers. Ontario is the only Cana­dian Province or Ter­rit­ory to have this kind of excep­tion. Ontario Fall Eco­nom­ic Out­look The Ontario Gov­ern­ment com­mit­ted to main­tain­ing the “indus­tri­al excep­tion” in the Pro­fes­sion­al…

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Presence Sensing Devices – Reaching over sensing fields

This entry is part 2 of 7 in the series Guards and Guard­ing

I recently heard about an applic­a­tion ques­tion related to a light cur­tain where a small gap exis­ted at the top of the sens­ing field, between the last beam in the field and the sur­round­ing struc­ture of the machine. There was some con­cern raised about the gap, and wheth­er or not addi­tion­al guard­ing might be needed to close the gap.…

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Interlocking Devices: The Good, The Bad and the Ugly

This entry is part 1 of 7 in the series Guards and Guard­ing

Note: A short­er ver­sion of this art­icle was pub­lished in the May-2012 edi­tion of  Man­u­fac­tur­ing Auto­ma­tion Magazine. When design­ing safe­guard­ing sys­tems for machines, one of the basic build­ing blocks is the mov­able guard. Mov­able guards can be doors, pan­els, gates or oth­er phys­ic­al bar­ri­ers that can be opened without using tools. Every one of these guards…

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Understanding the Hierarchy of Controls

The Hierarchy of Controls illustrated as an inverted triangle with each level of the hierarchy written one above the other, starting with Inherently Sfe design, then Engineering Controls, then Information for Use, then Administrative Controls and finally descending to PPE at the bottom. An arrow with the text "Effectiveness" on it runs parallel to the triangle and points downward from Inherently safe design to PPE.
This entry is part 4 of 5 in the series Hier­archy of Con­trols

(Eds. note: This art­icle was ori­gin­ally writ­ten in 2011 and was updated in Nov. 2018.) The “Hier­archy of Con­trols” is one approach to risk reduc­tion that has become entrenched in the Occu­pa­tion­al Health and Safety (OHS) sec­tor. There are oth­er approaches to risk reduc­tion which are equally effect­ive but are less rigidly struc­tured. If you…

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ESA Manufacturer’s Registration Deadline postponed

If you’ve been fol­low­ing the dis­cus­sions on the EMC/PSTC list serv­er and else­where about the ESA Man­u­fac­turer­’s registry in Ontario, you may not be aware that ESA has dropped the August 30 dead­line for regis­tra­tion. It seems that the Ontario Gov­ern­ment and ESA are review­ing the dead­line fol­low­ing a cab­in­et shake-up at Queen’s Park. There is no word on when or if the dead­line will be rein­stated. Need to know

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ESA Manufacturer Registration in Ontario, Canada

Do you make elec­tric­al products sold in Ontario, Canada? Are you aware of the need to register your com­pany with the Elec­tric­al Safety Author­ity (ESA) in order to sell your products leg­ally? If not, spend some time and catch up on the new ESA Man­u­fac­turer­’s Registry!

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Emergency Stop – What’s so confusing about that?

Emergency Stop on machine console
This entry is part 1 of 16 in the series Emer­gency Stop

I get a lot of calls and emails ask­ing about emer­gency stops. This is one of those decept­ively simple con­cepts that has man­aged to get very com­plic­ated over time. Not every machine needs or can bene­fit from an emer­gency stop. In some cases, it may lead to an unreas­on­able expect­a­tion of safety from the user, which can lead to injury if they don’t under­stand the haz­ards involved. Some product-spe­cif­ic stand­ards

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