A medical manufacturer with several locations had complex equipment. Many of their manufacturing lines were designed and built by their engineers, and all were different. Each machine had multiple functions, from taking raw material that was loaded onto the line, processing it, cutting it, inspecting it at several points along the line, to ultimately packaging the products. As they always seemed to be improving their lines, there were frequent changes. And with that came frequent machine jams. With pressure to keep production going, the operators had figured out how to bypass safeguards to clear jams quickly.
Machines are faster than people. When the interlocks and guards were bypassed, people got injured. CHESS had already been working with the company on their safety programs and safety committee. We were asked to conduct extensive machine guarding assessments.
Through those assessments, we helped the company identify places where minor adjustments would reduce jams and where mechanical devices could be used to clear jams. We identified ways to ensure employees did not bypass safeguards. Working with the engineering and production staff, we were able to recommend modifications to the machines so employees could safely access the parts of each machine that they needed to access without being exposed to points of operation, cutting devices, orother moving parts.
CHESS also provided training for the maintenance staff and engineers on machine guarding. And because maintaining the machines required staff to work on energized equipment, we arranged for electrical safety/arc flash training for their staff.