Overview of machine safeguarding
Business owners, managers and other stakeholders are required by U.S. federal law to provide a safe work environment for your employees. Specifically, this general duty clause of OSHA regulation 29 CFR 1910 requires you to provide a workplace free of recognized hazards.
Our machine risk assessment and safeguarding audit services can help stakeholders, such as factory owners, asset owners and employers, proactively meet their regulatory workplace safety needs and may protect against injuries and loss. In the unfortunate event of an OSHA citation, injury or loss, our services can provide expert assessment of cause and identify additional hazards with options for addressing and mitigating risks.
Why conduct a machine risk assessment or safeguarding audit?
The complexity of today’s automated machines, collaborative robots (cobots) and robotic cell integration establishes a new workplace environment with additional risks and hazards. Upgrades, retrofits, aging machinery, periodic maintenance, worker modifications and other machine interactions can change the original configuration of your machines, creating a potential hazard. Watch our video to understand the importance of machine risk assessment.
To effectively manage risk, you must know where potential hazards exist and minimize or eliminate the hazard. In addition, workplace hazard assessments are required by law under 29 CFR 1910:
The employer shall verify that the required workplace hazard assessment has been performed through a written certification that identifies the workplace evaluated; the person certifying that the evaluation has been performed; the date(s) of the hazard assessment; and, which identifies the document as a certification of hazard assessment.
Machine safeguarding standards
We provide on-site risk assessments and machine safeguarding audits of industrial machinery to OSHA, ANSI, NFPA, RIA and applicable ISO standards. Audits and risk assessments include identification of hazards, risk level estimates and recommended risk reduction (safeguarding) methods.
Our assessment services are based on the following standards:
- ANSI B11 Machine Safety Standards (includes general and specific machine type standard)
- ANSI B11.19 Performance Requirements for Safeguarding
- ANSI/RIA R15.06 Industrial Robots and Robot Systems
- ANSI/NFPA 70 National Electrical Code®
- ANSI/NFPA 79 Electrical Standard for Industrial Machinery
- ASME B20.1 Safety Standards for Conveyors
- Applicable OSHA machine guarding and safety standards
- Other standards dictated by machine type
Download the machine risk assessment tool
The free risk assessment spreadsheet provides a starting point for industrial machines installed in the U.S. only. For larger or more complex machines, or modern machinery including robotics, please contact us.
Machine safeguarding assessments – service levels
We provide three levels of machine safeguarding assessments. Choose the level of assessment that fits your needs.
- Level 1: Machine hazard assessments (cost-effective solution for the entire plant)
- Level 2: Machine safety assessments (detailed assessment by a senior safety engineer)
- Level 3: Risk assessment (task-based risk assessment ANSI/RIA process led by a senior safety engineer)
Detailed descriptions of each level are shown below. Contact us for questions or a discussion on which type of assessment is right for you. We can provide example reports upon request.
Machine hazard assessments (Level 1)
On-site hazard assessments identify machine hazards and risk estimates, and provide machine safeguarding recommendations. This approach is typically applied to multiple machines and is a cost-effective method for performing plantwide machine safety assessments. For identical and similar machines, one typical report is generated that can be applied to all machines.
Each machine hazard assessment report includes the following:
- Identification of machine safety hazards
- Inspection for bypassed safeguards
- Machine risk rating (with existing safeguards) and required functional safety performance level (PL)
- Recommended risk reduction measures (safeguarding)
- Recommended corrective actions
Machine safety risk assessments (Level 2)
A machine safety assessment includes all inspections and activities from the hazard assessment, plus inspection and observation of a machine in operation to identify existing hazards, machine safeguarding, safety systems and risk reduction measures. This inspection may include discussions or interviews with operators and maintenance personnel.
Each machine safety assessment report includes the following:
- Machine hazard assessment report criteria
- Compliance gap analysis – includes gap analysis of machines against current OSHA regulations, applicable U.S. standards (ANSI and NFPA 79) and applicable corporate safety standards (provided by the customer)
- Hazard identification – includes photographs (where permissible) and notes/observations of observed machine guarding noncompliances and machine safety hazards
- Safeguarding (hazard abatement) recommendations – includes safeguarding (hazard abatement) recommendations for mitigating hazards, hard guarding, safety systems and controls and/or administrative risk reduction measures with illustrations where feasible
- Functional safety – includes determination of the required functional safety performance level
ANSI/RIA machine risk assessment (Level 3)
A machine risk assessment includes all inspections and activities in our machine hazard and machine safety assessments. As part of the process, we also incorporate interviews and discussion with your staff including engineering, operators, maintenance and safety personnel (as available), and completion of an ANSI/RIA risk assessment document in addition to the safety report.
Each ANSI/RIA machine risk assessment report includes the following:
- Machine hazard assessment report criteria
- Machine safety assessment report criteria
- Completed ANSI/RIA risk assessment for each machine
- Task and hazard identification
- Risk estimation level (negligible, low, medium, high, very high) based on severity of injury potential, exposure to hazard rating and avoidance of hazard
- Functional safety
- Risk reduction measures
ANSI/RIA Team-based Machine Risk Assessment
This assessment pairs our experts with the customers’ key staff roles to perform an in-depth assessment of the machine. Our experts will facilitate machine inspection, guide discussion, and provide a compliant ANSI/RIA risk assessment spreadsheet. You will be responsible for the following authorized personnel during the assessment: operator, maintenance, engineering and environment health and safety (EHS).
Our experts will guide the customer’s team as needed to:
- Identify hazards
- Review drawings and technical details
- Score the hazards in terms of severity, probability and frequency
- Assist in the use of the spreadsheet tool
- Checking, correcting and approving
- Facilitate team discussions and team engagement
Additional machine risk assessment services
To help ensure that we can meet all of your assessment needs in one place, we offer a full range of additional machine risk assessment and safeguarding audit services, including training, advisory and industrial safety solutions.
Machine safety training
We provide an extensive library of courses to support you in developing a culture of safety and a healthy workplace environment. Our courses are available as open registration public workshops, on-site training courses or on-demand e-learning programs. Course topics include:
- Machine guarding and safety
- How to conduct a risk assessment
- Alternatives to lock-out/tag-out (LOTO)
- U.S. machine safety standards and codes
- Risk assessment workshops
- OSHA 10 and 30
- Lock-out / tag-out safety (LOTO safety)
- NFPA 70E – electrical safety in the workplace
To view a comprehensive list of our training courses, please visit UL’s Knowledge Solutions and PureSafety® on Demand.
- Functional safety certification services – We help system integrators ensure the safe and reliable operation of subsystem components and assemblies.
- Safety system design review – including functional safety and control reliability reviews
- On-site validation
- Development of risk assessment program
- Other custom services
- UL’s PURE® – Self-service safety management software for your workforce
- Occupational Health Manager® (OHM) – OHM includes powerful injury tracking software to improve case and return-to-work management programs, helping you ensure regulatory compliance and reduce injury costs while getting employees back to work faster.
Why UL for machine safeguarding assessments and audits
Since 1894, we have been trusted with safety, providing engineering expertise and helping our customers manage risk. We are an unbiased independent third party, providing risk mitigation services that create safe work environments and peace of mind. We are experienced on the factory floor, and our expanded services offer site and machinery safety assessments to protect against injuries and loss.