A holistic assessment tool to estimate the probability of bypassing safeguards on machinery

Bypassing safeguards is a contributing cause of work-related accidents. Organizations must pay attention to the incentives of bypassing and ways to prevent it. This paper proposes a holistic assessment tool that estimates the probability of bypassing safeguards on machinery as high, significant, moderate or low based on a comprehensive list of literature-based incentives to bypass safeguards. The proposed tool is developed in four steps. Step 1 identifies all activities and operation modes associated with the machine. Step 2 investigates whether bypassing exists. Step 3 identifies and estimates the existing incentives to bypass. Step 4 estimates the probability of bypassing to help occupational health and safety (OHS) practitioners determine the corrective and preventive actions to promote the use of safeguards in industries. The tool is tested with five scenarios. Some of the results illustrate that: (i) OHS practitioners could identify the existing incentives in enterprises among a comprehensive list of incentives presented in the tool; next, they could determine the impact of the incentives; (ii) OHS organizations and practitioners from enterprises with limited resources could prioritize improvement actions to reduce or eliminate the incentives to bypass based on the probability levels estimated with the tool. The bypassing issue should be integrated with the elements of the OHS management system in organizations to promote the use of safeguards and to reduce accidents due to bypassing of safeguards on machinery.

Source: Haghighi, A., Jocelyn, S. et Chinniah, Y. (2019). Safety Science, 120, 561-574.

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