Top Five Reasons to Conduct Machine Safety Inspections

Inspection of machines is important for several crucial reasons, primarily centered around safety, efficiency, and compliance. Regular and thorough machine inspections help ensure the proper functioning, longevity, and safety of equipment in various contexts, including industrial, manufacturing, and more.

Here are some key reasons why machine inspection is important:

  1. Safety: The primary reason for inspecting machines is to ensure the safety of operators, workers, and anyone in the vicinity of the equipment. Malfunctioning or poorly maintained machines can pose significant safety hazards, leading to accidents, injuries, or even fatalities. Regular inspections help identify potential issues before they escalate into dangerous situations. See below, See B11.TR8
  2. Preventive Maintenance: Routine inspections allow for the detection of wear and tear, damage, or deterioration in machine components. By identifying problems early, maintenance can be performed proactively, reducing the risk of unexpected breakdowns and costly repairs.
  3. Compliance: Many industries are subject to regulations, standards, and codes that mandate regular inspections of machinery to ensure they meet safety and operational requirements. Compliance with these regulations is not only essential for safety but also to avoid legal and financial consequences.
  4. Product Quality: Machines that are not functioning properly or are out of calibration can lead to defects in the products they produce. Regular inspections and maintenance help maintain consistent product quality and reduce defects.
  5. Operational Efficiency: Well-maintained machines tend to operate more efficiently and reliably. Regular inspections help optimize machine performance, reduce downtime, and increase productivity.

B11.TR8 specifies three forms of inspections that can be useful for any organization to adopt:

  • Conversation Inspection:
    • Review past conversational inspections before starting a new one,
    • Include operators that run the machine as part of the conversation,
    • They know the machine the most,
    • Approach as a conversation and not as a means to point the blame,
    • Praise employees for doing their tasks safely/correctly,
    • Ask what can be done better.
  • Visual Inspection
    • Review past visual inspections,
    • Check for the presence of the existing risk reduction measures (fixed guards, interlocks, light curtains, etc.),
    • Check for the presence of the mounting screws onto fixed guards, to ensure proper fixing,
    • Ensure that Emergency stop devices are accessible and not hidden.
  • Technical Inspection
    • Review past technical inspections,
    • Test the operation of the risk reduction measures (interlocks, light curtains, laser scanners, etc.) to ensure hazardous motion stops,
    • Test the operation of the risk reduction measures (interlocks, light curtains, laser scanners, etc.) to ensure hazardous motion can’t be started (in case risk reduction measures are being used as a prevention of unexpected startup),
    • Check the presence of jumper plugs that defeat safety devices or safety functions, within the control panel.

In summary, machine inspections are essential for maintaining safety, operational efficiency, compliance with regulations, and overall equipment reliability. They play a critical role in preventing accidents, reducing lead times (due to proactiveness in inspections), minimizing downtime, and ensuring that machines function effectively, benefiting both the workforce and the bottom line of an organization.

Below is a webinar recorded on the Inspection of Risk Reduction Measures, organized by SIEMENS and presented by Mike Douglas and Chris Gerges.

Link to Webinar on B11.TR8 Inspection of Risk Reduction Measures