Risk assessment in safety of machinery

Impact of construction flaws in risk estimation parameters
In the risk assessment approach as defined in the International Standard ISO 12100: 2010, risk estimation is an essential step that allows machinery designers and users to determine the level of risk, and to identify the most critical hazardous situations. Previous studies demonstrated that the numerous qualitative tools proposed to estimate risks in safety of machinery take several forms, and that many of their features can significantly influence the level of risk obtained.
In this study, the impact of some of these features was assessed, and construction rules regarding the parameters used in risk estimation tools were validated through an experimental study involving several users mainly from the industry. Five potential construction flaws of the risk estimation parameters were analyzed. The experimental results show that when the users perceive a certain challenge in the utilization of a risk estimation parameter, they are usually able to associate it with the presence of the flaw affecting the parameter. The results also demonstrate quite clearly that the impact of the construction flaws in the parameters is not uniform. In addition to the presence of the flaws within these parameters, the results obtained suggest that the assessment of the probability of harm is a problematic aspect of the risk estimation process in safety of machinery that requires further research. These results could contribute to the improvement of the robustness and the reliability of the existing tools, and help to support the training actually given by the partners in the risk assessment field.

Source: Gauthier, F., Chinniah, Y., Burlet-Vienney, D., Aucourt, B. et Larouche, S. (2018). Safety Science, 109, 421-433.
https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ssci.2018.06.024

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