Worker injuries resulting from inadequate machine safety controls can be debilitating and even fatal. It is the OEHS professional's responsibility to recognize machine hazards, assess risk factors and suggest methods of control. TheANSI B11 machine safeguarding risk assessment series consensus standard have always been the gold standard in risk assessment to machine hazards. They provide guidance on the intermediate step of recognition, evaluation, and control.

Understanding Risk

In order to properly evaluate machine hazards and ultimately perform a risk assessment, it is important to understand the terms hazard and risk.

Hazard vs. Risk

Hazard is the potential source of harm. This is typically identified as the point of operation (point at which, for example, cutting, shaping, boring, or forming is accomplished upon the stock) or other moving machine part which may cause injury to the worker. It is one variable used in the risk assessment process.

Risk is the combination of severity of harm and the probability of the occurrence of harm. Severity of harm can be used interchangeably with injury severity, which ranges from a minor cut to amputation to a fatality as a result of worker contact with a moving machine part. Probability of occurrence or likelihood is defined as how likely injury is to occur. This ranges from injury not likely to occur to imminent injury. Risk can be quantified as follows:

Risk=Severity of Harm X Likelihood

The Machine Safeguarding Risk Assessment sequence adds a third variable, a guarding factor to identify the potential for contact with the machine hazard.

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