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Empowering effective teamwork for machine risk reduction in the workplace.

Proceedings of the ASME 2003 International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition (IMECE2003), November 16-21, 2003, Washington, DC. New York: American Society of Mechanical Engineers, IMECE2003-41252, 2003 Nov; :1-6
New ANSI guidelines (B11 TR3-2000) for reducing risks associated with machines encourage engineers to participate in teamwork to reduce the risks to personnel performing tasks on industrial machines. Specifically, the guidelines state that "...a team of involved personnel (e.g.,operators, maintenance, engineering) should participate in the risk assessment and reduction effort." The goal of such teams is to achieve tolerable risk. To be effective team members, engineers require skills in team leadership; identifying tasks and their associated hazards; using risk assessment tools; developing consensus about degree of risk; and selling the team's proposed risk reduction measures to management. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has successfully trained 6 teams in a 2- day workshop titled "Machine Risk Reduction" based on the new ANSI B11 TR3 "A Guide to Estimate, Evaluate, & Reduce Risks Associated with Machine Tools." The workshop was the first step in a NIOSH research project to evaluate the effectiveness of this new consensus guideline that tailors the concepts of ISO 14121, "Safety of Machinery - Principles of Risk Assessment" to the U.S. workplace. The workshop was designed to educate team participants from a variety of industries (automotive, industrial and consumer products, metal stamping, and medical devices) on the TR3 risk assessment process. Software tailored to the TR3 process was used to facilitate and document assessments. As the TR3 study proceeds, participating companies focus on two machinery systems for study; one will have the TR3 risk assessment process applied, and the other will remain in use without utilizing the TR3 risk assessment process. At the end of one year, these two machinery systems will be evaluated by NIOSH for safety and productivity improvements. Upon completion of the workshop, participant teams were able to communicate the organization and use of the TR3 document and risk assessment process; understand maintenance risk assessment applications; lead a risk assessment team through a TR3 risk assessment; and comprehend risk assessment implementation issues. The study is currently in the intervention stage as the 2-person teams return to their workplace to form and train their machine risk reduction team with additional engineering, maintenance, and operating personnel. Facilitating the 6 teams requires frequent communication and keeping management informed and supportive. Team engineers must get constant feedback to develop the motivation to continue (Mitchell, 1998). And, constant evaluation not only lets you know where you are, but it also does the same for your team engineers. NIOSH anticipates that engineers will be vital to the success of these machine risk reduction teams.
Traumatic-injuries; Injuries; Injury-prevention; Machine-operators; Safety-measures; Safety-research; Safety-monitoring; Safety-engineering; Risk-analysis
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Proceedings of the ASME 2003 International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition (IMECE2003), November 16-21, 2003, Washington, DC