Magazine article Occupational Hazards

Built-In Safety: Fundamental OSHA Compliance and CSP Certification

Magazine article Occupational Hazards

Built-In Safety: Fundamental OSHA Compliance and CSP Certification

Article excerpt

Early involvement of a safety professional in the design and installation of plant equipment offers the best route to cost-effective safety.

Which is more cost-effective? A part-time safety person (wearing one of many hats) consulting with the plant maintenance supervisor and engineering supervisor on how to make a new machine "comply with OSHA standards" as it is being uncrated...or a Certified Safety Professional (CSP) consulting with an engineering staff over the drawings of a soon-to-be-built piece of production equipment?

Most of us would agree that a CSP meeting with the engineering staff is the most cost-effective way of maximizing safety while assuring OSHA compliance on a new piece of equipment.

In the first scenario, the part-time safety practitioner has many barriers to overcome. These include:

* The machine has already been fabricated and may require the company to make major expenses for even minor mechanical improvements.

* The plant probably does not have the engineering expertise readily available to address potential OSHA compliance or safety problems.

* The safety practitioner may not have the knowledge or experience of a CSP.

* In-plant personnel may not have time available for the new safety project.

* A plant manager may not be very receptive to a request for additional safety improvements on a new piece of equipment if the improvements cost thousands of dollars.

* The equipment may end up over budget because of a safety issue.

* It may be very difficult to assign engineering and maintenance personnel to a safety project when the plant is straining its resources to get a new piece of production equipment on line.

Most of these difficulties can be avoided if the plant requires that a CSP certify "Fundamental OSHA Compliance." This certification should occur during both the design and construction phases of the equipment, and the process can be defined as a "certified safety review." The certification ensures that the design process and the design functionality will be examined, using a "what if" review format. The equipment and the actual process functions are also certified compliant during the customer run-off.

Tip of the Iceberg

Anybody who has added a sophisticated safety device to an existing machine soon learns that the major costs are hidden below the surface. These costs can include:

* Increased design time.

* Less-efficient installation.

* Electronic programming and potential complications.

* Technician travel expenses.

* Down time.

In reviewing "built-in" vs "bolt-on" costs, it soon becomes clear that it is not only smarter to think before you act, but less costly. Reviewing one safety component, a 36 inch light curtain, highlights the actual cost differences between "built-in" versus "bolt-on" [ILLUSTRATION FOR FIGURE 1 OMITTED]. These cost comparisons are true for any component.

The costs are directly related to doing the work "in-house" versus needing a contractor's "field service." For example, if the plant is more than four hours away, field service requires a plane trip. Hotel, car rental and food costs would also be added to the quotation.

The hours required to complete service in the field are always longer. The new plant equipment may be located up to a half-mile away from a usable in-plant machine shop. Tools that were not carried with the field service person are more difficult to obtain at the customer's plant. If assistance is required by the service personnel, e.g., a person to hold something, or the service person needs to use a forklift, work stops while the service person tries to find the company representative. If this representative cannot answer the need, he may need to find someone else who can.

Field service costs more than service at home. The field service personnel are experienced in more phases of the job and require less supervision. …

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