Workforce and Productivity Discussed At Safety Conference

Workforce and Productivity Discussed At Safety Conference

Rockwell Machine Safety Maturity ModelI’m wrapping up my coverage of the EHS Today Safety Leadership Conference held last week in Greenville, SC. I covered the Technology Track sponsored by Rockwell Automation.

Steve Ludwig, safety program manager at Rockwell Automation, presented on the impact of the evolving workforce on safety.

Workforce changes

“We are facing a shortage of skilled workforce, and it is a global issue,” began Ludwig. “The average age of skilled worker is 56,  and this demographic is prone not to delay retirement. Add to this the fact that birth rates have declined for the last 35 years, so we do not have the usual situation of increasing population to fuel economic growth.

There are now more inexperienced workers who are more at risk. This is not just a situation for your plant, but also for the plants of all your suppliers. Businesses face supply chain interruption, reputational / brand risk. Businesses face not only an aging workforce that may be prone to injury, but also a younger, less experience workforce that tend to have more frequent acute injuries.

When Ludwig asked attendees, “How do we improve with a changing workforce?” most responded that they were proactively going out to schools to recruit and evangelize manufacturing. They were also assuming much responsibility for helping train young people.

Connected enterprise for safety

Jeff Winter of system integrator Grantek discussed connecting the enterprise for safety. He noted a problem that continues to exist is that dashboards rely on manual data collection and input.

There are three “Eras” of safety technology–initially just preventing access; then detecting access (something that increased both safety and productivity); today controlling access (integrated safety into machine, about as productive as you can get).

“EHS must get a chair at the table when data collection and analysis are being discussed in the plant or company,” he concluded. Winter continued with this advice, “Ask for data on actions such as emergency stops, intrusions, shut downs.”

Beyond lockout, tagout

Turning to electrical safety specifically, Jimi Michalscheck business development manager for safety looked at going beyond Lockout Tagout (LOTO). His point was how to balance safety with production. He posited a system of engineered safety control, which he called a new way of addressing LOTO.

“If you haven’t designed an alternative, then you must use LOTO (OSHA). To prevent unexpected restart of the equipment during service from causing harm to employees.”

Engineering safe alternatives. Think of your machine as simple components. For example, a case packer. Notorious for frequent need for getting into it, so also for citations. Using Alternative Protective Measure (APM), design the machine in components. Task specific, area specific, documented (know that the service area is protected for the reach of the worker). APM developed must provide the same or greater level of protection as LOTO in order to comply with CFR1910.147.

Workforce and Productivity Discussed At Safety Conference

Developing A Culture For Machine Safety Required

Rockwell Machine Safety Maturity ModelRockwell Automation sponsored a technology track at the EHS Today Safety Leadership Conference October 27-28, 2015 in Greenville, SC. The seven sessions discussed a variety of issues facing Safety Leaders in industry. These sessions focused on machine safety. Process safety is an entirely different ball game.

Shawn Galloway, president of ProAct Safety, and Steve Ludwig, safety program manager, presented ideas on Improving Safety Performance in a quick, TED-Talk-like pair of presentations. Even though this was the “Safety Technology” track, the seemingly soft topic of company culture was the topic to set the table for the day.

Galloway quoted Winston Churchill, “First we shape our dwellings, then they shape us.” The idea is that we set our culture and then it shapes the overall focus of the company. The key is to reinforce positive behavior.

He drew a circular diagram for the chemistry of safety cultural excellence: vulnerability->communication->measurement->passion->focus->expectations->proactive->accountability->reinforcement

Maturity Index for Machine Safety

Ludwig addressed Rockwell Automation’s Safety Maturity Index. You can find a podcast interview on this topic on my podcast site, Automation Minutes.

The Safety Maturity Index delineates three focuses: Culture (Behavioral), Compliance (procedural), Capital (technical). Each focus contains four levels: minimize investment, attain compliance, cost avoidance, operational excellence.

The key point is that one of the first things manufacturers need to do is to pay attention to developing a safety culture.

Connect Manufacturers to Machine Safety System Integrators

Connect Manufacturers to Machine Safety System Integrators

I’ve worked with the safety system team at Rockwell Automation for many years. We’ve done a couple of podcast interviews that were among my most downloaded. This one on Safety Maturity Index and this one on Safety Automation Builder. Below are details of a new machine safety program.

To help manufacturers identify best-in-class safety system integrators – with current safety standards expertise, a proven track record in building safety systems, and knowledge of productivity-enhancing safety technologies – Rockwell Automation has created the Machinery Safety System Integrator program.

“A recent Aberdeen report found best-in-class organizations are 81 percent more likely than low performing organizations to leverage outside services to design and install compliant machinery safety solutions,” said Mark Eitzman, manager of safety market development, Rockwell Automation. “The challenge comes in finding and vetting the most capable provider for the job. Rockwell Automation created the Machinery Safety System Integrator program to ease that process and connect manufacturers to machinery safety system integrators they can trust.”

Program candidates must meet stringent requirements and complete a rigorous, months-long assessment and education process. Only existing Rockwell Automation Solution Partners or Recognized System Integrators can qualify for the program. Candidates must have three to five years of demonstrated machinery safety experience. Rockwell Automation recognizes third-party certification from industry-accepted organizations, such as TÜV or exida.

Upon meeting these initial requirements, Rockwell Automation machinery safety experts conduct a candidate assessment to determine if additional training or experience is required. The candidate’s safety engineers must then complete training modules on topics, such as global safety standards, safety risk assessment practices, and different types of safeguarding applications. Lastly, the candidate must submit a machinery safety project to ensure it demonstrates methods consistent with global standards.

The collaborative nature between Rockwell Automation and its Machinery Safety System Integrators allows for seamless assessment, design, mitigation and validation of machinery safety systems. And as members of the Rockwell Automation PartnerNetwork program, these companies also commit to an active and extensive relationship with Rockwell Automation to provide the most productive and cost-effective automation solutions to their customers.

Twenty companies have joined the Machinery Safety System Integrator program in the following countries:

  • Belgium: DC Engineering (Langemark-Poelkapelle), Egemin Automation (Zwijndrecht)
  • Columbia: TREETEK SAS (Cali)
  • Denmark: 3Tech Automation (Fredericia)
  • England: AND Automation (Ilkeston), Bilfinger Industrial Automation Services (Chesterfield, Derbyshire), Newfield Automation (Congleton), Westbury Control Systems (Leicester)
  • Germany: Gundlack Automation GmbH (Verden)
  • Mexico: Advanced Machine Control SAPI de CV (AMCO) (Cuautitlán, Izcalli), IDTec Automatización (Guadalupe, Nuevo León), Target Robotics (San Luis Potosi)
  • Netherlands: Egemin Automation (Gorinchem)
  • Scotland: H&G Systems (Broxburn)
  • Spain: Sistrol (Madrid)
  • United States: Automation Solutions of America (Beloit, Wisconsin), Barry-Wehmiller Design Group (St. Louis, Missouri), E-Technologies Group (West Chester, Ohio), Polytron (Duluth, Georgia), TBD Solutions (Ogden, Utah)



Rockwell Automation Opens Call for Nominations for Manufacturing Safety Excellence Award

Manufacturing SafetyThe product and marketing group for machine safety at Rockwell Automation has been quite creative in its efforts to promote safety to manufacturers. Now the company has decided to sponsor a variety of safety awards to be presented during the America’s Safest Companies Conference.

  • What: Rockwell Automation Manufacturing Safety Excellence Award
  • Who: Any manufacturer that demonstrates a strong commitment to safety
  • When: Deadline – Aug. 31, 2013
  • Where: Award will be presented at the America’s Safest Companies Conference – Oct. 28 to 30 in Atlanta
  • Award Cost: FREE
  • Entry Form: For entry form or more information click this link.

As the number one global supplier of machinery safety systems (according to the ARC Advisory Group), Rockwell Automation is pleased to open nominations for the Manufacturing Safety Excellence Awards, celebrating the world’s safest manufacturing companies – those with a strong safety culture, well-executed compliance procedures, and effective use of contemporary automation technology. The award will also recognize collaboration between environmental health and safety (EHS) departments and engineering departments to help ensure compliance, worker safety and increased productivity.

Entrants can range from end-user manufacturers to machine and equipment builders and system integrators, as long as they demonstrate a true commitment to safety.

Nomination forms must be submitted by Aug. 31, 2013 to [email protected] or mailed to the following address:

Rockwell Automation

Attn: Steve Ludwig – Safety Excellence Award

1 Allen Bradley Drive

Mayfield Heights, OH 44124



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