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Risk assessment service for machines from Treotham Automation

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Treotham Automation  has instigated a dedicated service for performing risk assessment on several sort of machines, not in relation to its control products but also the mechanical aspects of the unit.

This new service sees the company's electrical engineer, Raju Kotecha, going on-site to make detailed inspection and analysis on a company's most likely machine hazards.

“We believe this is a rather unique service because what we do is made a complete analysis and an offer the client a prescription rather than an ambiguous multi page report,” said Raju Kotecha.

“A service like this is well overdue because more often than not, perhaps due to complacency more than anything else, aspects of machine safety are given lip service, so in the current era big companies are fearful of the cost of accident.

“It is a black box for most people; in fact most operators do not know what they need. Because they have been working a machine for a long time they underestimated the risk associated with it.”

Some of the more common sites see machines operating with no guards or manipulation of the guards or by passing over the guards.

A lot of people have pressure during production and when the machine breaks down they tend not to follow the proper safety procedure to save time.

Other times, some business owners have been doing things the same way for 20 years and do not realise they are doing it wrong.

For example most state’s OH&S Regulations and Act demands risk assessment on the machine regardless of hold old the machine is.

Assessment can be performed regardless of the energy sources on the machine: electrical, pneumatics, hydraulics, coolant or cooled water.

In one of Treotham Automation's recent risk assessments made at a Sydney fabrication plant, the following were among the problem areas identified:

Non-compliant hinged guard switches, non-interlocked fly wheel guards, missing fasteners, unintended exposure to moving parts, noncompliant pneumatics safety switches.

Treotham Automation’s risk assessment for this company outlined the severity of potential injury, particularly those in relation to moving parts of the machine.

It determined frequency of exposure and/or exposure time to each hazard, the possibility of injury avoidance, and provided a categorised selection for safety-related parts of the control systems.

It also outlined hazardous events which are most likely to cause an accident and the existing measures already taken to prevent potential hazards with moving parts.

Treotham Automation also provides a risk matrix outlining the potential severity of injuries, frequency of exposure and/or exposure time to the hazard time, the possibility of avoiding the hazard and categories for safety related parts of control systems.

Risk control recommendations are then made to guide the machine owner on the good way of maximising safety levels around the machine.

For example, in one recent risk assessment for a Sydney company, it was determined the structure and devices of interlocking systems should comply with AS 4024.1501-2006.

Recommendations made included the following:

  • That a safety controller be installed to monitor wiring devices for the occurrence of faults
  • Double channels circuits be installed from the monitoring devices to power control devices (such as motor contactors, pneumatic and hydraulic valves, etc)
  • That safety system devices should have independent test approvals for use in category 4 systems

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