Machinery Safety 101

Why should you get involved in Standards Development?

It’s now been more than 30 years since I first learned about stand­ards, in the form of the Ontario Elec­tric­al Code. I was study­ing elec­tri­city and elec­tron­ics in high school, and Steve Struk, the Elec­tri­city Teach­er at Erindale Sec­ond­ary School in Mis­sissauga, intro­duced us to the rules. My first encounter with inter­na­tion­al stand­ards was 25 years ago, when I was tasked…

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Risk Assessment Blunders

Updated 7‑Jul-2014 Recently I read a blog post writ­ten by Dav­id Cant, called, “Are You Mak­ing These Risk Assess­ment Blun­ders?”. Writ­ing in the UK, Mr. Cant spoke to some of the com­mon kinds of prob­lems that can occur when employ­ers con­duct risk assess­ments. Many his points are equally applic­able to machine build­ing: No Risk Assess­ment – This seems self…

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Translation Bafflement

I’ve been noti­cing a trend with some of my cli­ents that I am hav­ing a really hard time under­stand­ing – maybe a read­er can help me get this… A basic require­ment in the EU is that manu­als and oth­er inform­a­tion a man­u­fac­turer provides to their cus­tom­er be provided in the offi­cial lan­guage of the coun­try where the product is being…

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Get the Basics Right!

For more than 15 years I’ve been teach­ing people about risk assess­ment, machinery safety and CE Mark­ing of machinery in private, onsite classes and through present­a­tions at safety con­fer­ences. Things are about to change! This fall, Com­pli­ance InSight Con­sult­ing will begin offer­ing open-enrol­­ment work­shops in CE Mark­ing, Risk Assess­ment Func­tion­al Safety, and Machinery Safety, all with a focus…

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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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How to become Instantly Incompetent

Many engin­eers and design­ers fall into a really simple trap, one that makes them instantly incom­pet­ent. These are not stu­pid people. They have the qual­i­fic­a­tions, so what is it that can catch someone out this badly? It’s called ‘com­pla­cency’. Com­pla­cency is that state we all get into from time to time where we feel like we know what’s going…

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31-Dec-2011 – Are YOU ready?

This entry is part 8 of 8 in the series Cir­cuit Archi­tec­tures Explored

31-Decem­ber-2011 marks a key mile­stone for machine build­ers mar­ket­ing their products in the European Uni­on, the EEA and many of the Can­did­ate States. Func­tion­al Safety takes a pos­it­ive step for­ward with the man­dat­ory applic­a­tion of EN ISO 13849 – 1 and ‑2. As of 1‑Janu­ary-2012, the safety-related parts of the con­trol sys­tems on all machinery bear­ing a CE Mark will be…

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Why I wear a Poppy on 11-Nov

In a recent art­icle in the Inde­pend­ent, Robert Fisk writes that the poppy has become noth­ing more than a fash­ion state­ment in the UK. Merely a way to show that you are Brit­ish, or to score points with the boss, or to make a polit­ic­al state­ment. He believes that wear­ing a poppy on 11-Nov mocks our war dead. He says…

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Inconsistencies in ISO 13849 – 1:2006

This entry is part 7 of 8 in the series Cir­cuit Archi­tec­tures Explored

I’ve writ­ten quite a bit recently on the top­ic of cir­cuit archi­tec­tures under ISO 13849 – 1, and one of my read­ers noticed an incon­sist­ency between the text of the stand­ard and Fig­ure 5, the dia­gram that shows how the cat­egor­ies can span one or more Per­form­ance Levels. If you look at Cat­egory 2 in Fig­ure 5, you will notice…

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Interlock Architectures Pt. 6 – Comparing North American and International Systems

industrial Control Console
This entry is part 6 of 8 in the series Cir­cuit Archi­tec­tures Explored

I’ve now writ­ten six posts, includ­ing this one, on the top­ic of cir­cuit archi­tec­tures for the safety-related parts of con­trol sys­tems. In this post, we’ll com­pare the Inter­na­tion­al and North Amer­ic­an sys­tems. This com­par­is­on is not inten­ded to draw con­clu­sions about which is “bet­ter”, but rather to com­pare and con­trast the two sys­tems so that…

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