Excellent post Richard. I feel every company large and small should have a safety "officer"--someone responsible for training and making sure employees have the necessary PPE. I think one huge problem comes with making employees adhere to existing and published safety standards. In the places I consult with, safety is an ongoing issue. I am frequently amazed at the number of times maintenance workers completely ignore "lockout-tagout" requirements when working on equipment. They feel leaving for a 10 or 15 minute break gives them cause to ignore this one safety rule. I have been made aware of several near tragedies as a result. Again, good post highlighting a very important issue.
What has been demonstrated repeatedly over the years is that when a product has finally been made fool-proof, somebody arrives with a new and improved fool. This has been demonstrated repeatedly by individuals with credentials far better than mine.
The issue of personal responsibility recently came up in the case of the Toyota floormat recall. Its seems many vehicle owners used improper floormats in their vehicles, and Toyota had to recall 154,000 vehicles to "prevent problems that might occur when improper floormats are used by owner." Toyota said one owner stacked eight carpet remnants on the floor in front of the accelerator.
Why is it that so often the courts, and the juries, find in favor of the very dumbest of people? Why does anybody believe that stupidity should be rewarded? That concept is so very foreign to my thinking that it amazes me.
What ever became of the concept of personal responsibility for one's actions?
"Safety first. That's a motto we hear all the time, and many manufacturers not only preach and believe it,"
Richard, you are right. Eventhough saftey come first, most of the employers are neglecting it for their own financial benefits. If something is happens to employees also, from management side their involvement is minimal. So I think employees has to be take care about their saftey and some software run tools or automation may help for rescue purpose in industrial floors.
I agree, Naperlou. My anecdotal view of the situation is that factories in the West seem to be safer than they were many years ago. One of the differences is in visibility. Today's factories are far brighter than the ones we may remember from the 1960s and '70s, and employees seem to be more aware of safety issues than they used to be.
My first question is about the veracity of that claim about the number of accidents and injuries. I do not accept assertions that are not attributable. They are only as good as gossip, and probably not as reliable. they may even be total fabrications.
Of course it is our duty to design safe equipment, there can't be any question about that. BUT do we need to take extrordinary efforts to protect the drunks bent on self destruction? Electrcal panels are a good example. Not only do the doors need to be interlocked with the disconnect switch, so that power must be switched off to open the door, but also, all of the terminals inside must be guarded so that they can't possibly be touched. This means that to replace a failed motor starter a lot of time must be wasted removing the shields before it is possible to start removing the starter. And changing a fuse, which should only take a minute, instead takes 10 minutes to remove all of the guarding. That might make a small amount of sense, except that those doing the work are experienced service people, not somebody who wandered in off the street.
My point is that so often the safety standard is in place to protect those who should never be in the area at all, and who have no reason and no business being near the hazardous hardware. Why do we need to be so very over protective of the people who would never be in the area? Why would somebody who does not know where the high voltage terminals are, or even what the high voltage terminals are, be poking around in the electrical enclosure in the first place? Worse yet, why should we expect that they would be poking around? Does anybody have a rational answer that does not include the vulkture lawyers?
Another angle to this problem is that of employee cooperation. As a test engineer for a major semiconductor company, I often designed and build test sets for our plants that were located out of the U.S. Not only did we keep safe operation in mind when designing our test sets, we had to take it even further and try to predict how employees might try to defeat our built in safety measures. For example, one test set I built had a cylinder that came over the test bed with some force. In an effort to prevent someone from getting their hand caught, I used dual sensors that required the operator to place their hands on either side of the tester to in order to actuate the cylinder. One of our engineers called me during his visit to the plant and informed me that the employees simply put a glove to block the sensor on one side - intentionally defeating the built in safety measure...
I have also seen shortcuts taken in pressure situations - the employee felt that their job was at stake and so they bypassed normal safety protocol to get a job done more quickly. Safety must also become cultural - it must come from the top down and also be enforced as the priority in any situation regardless of the perceived need for speed...
I'd be careful with that staggering statistic of yours.
1. "Somewhere in the world" is probably concentrated in those countries which do not have a well developed safety and accountability ethic.
2. Some jobs are inherently more dangerous than others. Spilt that statistic into agricultural, manufacturing, technology, infrastructure jobs etc and it will look might uneven. For example, where I live the highest statistic is in construction work, in other fields it is close to zero.
3. What is a work accident? According to the local law in my country, if I trip over the cat outside my front door on my way to work (or returning from work) thats a work accident. If I'm involved in a traffic accident while driving to a sub-contractor, is that a work accident or a traffic accident? Technically, a work accident, but the lawyers will check first which category has the higher compensation.
What should be the perception of a product’s real-world performance with regard to the published spec sheet? While it is easy to assume that the product will operate according to spec, what variables should be considered, and is that a designer obligation or a customer responsibility? Or both?
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