How Machinery Safety is achieved

Machinery Safety - from risk assessment to solution

Machinery safety is often considered a cumbersome field of “secret arts”. That is a misconception. It is quite simple. It all starts with finding out what could happen during the “life” of the machinery, meaning the phases from transport and installation, through commissioning and use, to maintenance and discarding.

To find out machinery manufacturers perform what is called “risk assessment”, analysing all tasks in connection with the machine to find out about hazards. Warn operators of risks, that could not be reduced (sufficiently) by step 1 and 2, e. g. by warning signs, labels, warnings in the instructions handbook.

Then hazards are handled in a three-step procedure. One of those steps has three sub-steps. That is why we at Axelent say: “2 x 3 = safety!”:

  1. Remove the hazard or reduce the injury risk by design (inherent safety)
  2. Add safeguards
    i. Lock the hazard in (or people out), e. g. by fencing
    ii. Monitor the contact of people and hazard, stop the hazard in time, e. g. by safety switches, light barriers, laser scanners etc.
    iii. Give the operator control of the hazard, e. g. by an enabling button or two-hand control
  3. Warn users of hazards that could not be removed or where safeguards do not work (fully)

How risk assessment is to be done, which safeguards are allowed and how to make them, as well as how to phrase and design warnings is all presented in European and international safety standards.”