Machinery Safety 101

ISO Withdraws Machinery Risk Assessment Standards

This entry is part 1 of 9 in the series Risk Assess­ment

ISO has with­drawn three long-stand­ing basic machinery safety stand­ards used inter­na­tion­ally and in the EU and replaced them with a single com­bined doc­u­ment. If you design, build or integ­rate machinery for sale inter­na­tion­ally or with­in the EU, this new stand­ard needs to be on your BUY list!

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How Risk Assessment Fails

Fukushima Dai Ichi Nuclear plant before the meltdown
This entry is part 2 of 9 in the series Risk Assess­ment

The events unfold­ing at Japan’s Fukushi­ma Dai Ichi Nuc­le­ar Power plant are a case study in ways that the risk assess­ment pro­cess can fail or be abused. In an art­icle pub­lished on, Jason Clen­field item­izes dec­ades of fraud and fail­ures in engin­eer­ing and admin­is­tra­tion that have led to the cata­stroph­ic fail­ure of four of six…

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The purpose of risk assessment

This entry is part 3 of 9 in the series Risk Assess­ment

I’m often asked what seems like a pretty simple ques­tion: “Why do we need to do a risk assess­ment?” There are a lot of good reas­ons to do risk assess­ments, but ulti­mately, the pur­pose of risk assess­ment is best summed up in this quo­ta­tion: “Risk assess­ments, except in the simplest of cir­cum­stances, are not designed for mak­ing judge­ments,…

The Problem with Probability

This entry is part 4 of 9 in the series Risk Assess­ment

Risk Factors When risk is ana­lyzed, at least in the indus­tri­al sec­tor, we usu­ally fol­low a pro­cess defined in ISO 12100. This approach defines two broad para­met­ers, sever­ity and prob­ab­il­ity, and then fur­ther sub­divides prob­ab­il­ity into sub-para­­met­ers that are help­ful for ana­lyz­ing machinery haz­ards. This post explores the dif­fi­culty with assess­ing the prob­ab­il­ity para­met­er. If you’re inter­ested…

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What did TEPCO know about Fukushima before 11-Mar-11?

Fukushima Dai Ichi Nuclear plant before the meltdown
This entry is part 5 of 9 in the series Risk Assess­ment

I recently had a col­league point out an inter­est­ing paper pub­lished in the “Bul­let­in of the Atom­ic Sci­ent­ists” about the level of know­ledge that exis­ted between the start of con­struc­tion of the Fukushi­ma Daii­chi nuc­le­ar plant and the dev­ast­at­ing tsunami of 11-Mar-11. If you are inter­ested in know­ing more, I highly recom­mend this paper. The full text…

How Risk Assessment Fails — Again. This time at DuPont.

Casualty Evacuated by EMS
This entry is part 6 of 9 in the series Risk Assess­ment

A recent report released by the US Chem­ic­al Safety Board (CSB) looks at a series of acci­dents that occurred over a 33-hour peri­od on Janu­ary 22 and 23, 2010 at the DuPont Corporation’s Belle, West Vir­gin­ia, chem­ic­al man­u­fac­tur­ing plant. Copy­right secured by Digi­prove © 2011 – 2014Acknow­ledge­ments: US Chem­ic­al Safety Board for excerpts more…Some Rights ReservedOri­gin­al con­tent here is pub­lished under these license terms: X License Type:Non-com­mer­cial, Attri­bu­tion,…

Scoring Severity of Injury – Hidden Probabilities

This entry is part 8 of 9 in the series Risk Assess­ment

I’ve been think­ing a lot about risk scor­ing tools and the algorithms that we use. One of the key ele­ments in risk is the Sever­ity of Injury. There are hid­den prob­ab­il­it­ies attached to the Sever­ity of Injury scores that are assigned that are not dis­cussed clearly in any of the risk assess­ment stand­ards that are com­monly…

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The Probability Problem

This entry is part 9 of 9 in the series Risk Assess­ment

In Occu­pa­tion­al Health and Safety (OHS), risk is a func­tion of sever­ity of injury and the prob­ab­il­ity of the injury occur­ring. Under­stand­ing the sever­ity por­tion is usu­ally fairly easy, although advanced tech­no­lo­gies, like lasers for instance, take advanced haz­ard ana­lys­is meth­ods to assess cor­rectly. Prob­ab­il­ity, on the oth­er hand, is a  chal­lenge. Math­em­at­ic­ally, prob­ab­il­ity cal­cu­la­tions go from…

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Understanding Risk Assessment

A group surrounding a computer discussing a problem.
This entry is part 10 of 9 in the series Risk Assess­ment

When people dis­cuss ‘Risk’ there are a lot of dif­fer­ent assump­tions made about what that means. For me, the study of risk and risk assess­ment tech­niques star­ted in 1995. As a tech­no­lo­gist and con­trols design­er, I had to some­how wrap my head around the whole concept in ways I’d nev­er con­sidered. If you’re try­ing to fig­ure out risk…

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