Friday, June 02, 2006

An Area-Guarding Puzzle

Safety guards for lasers ...

"With the introduction of new machine-guarding technologies, design engineers are faced with the challenge of choosing the right technology to meet both production and safety needs.

The introduction of laser scanners over the last few years adds another exciting technology that can be used on the manufacturing floor for combined safety and productivity. The puzzle a design engineer faces is when to use one in place of other established area protection technologies such as safety mats and light curtains.

Area-guarding design starts with the same process that is applied to safeguard any machine: the safety review. If physical guarding is needed to lower risk – but methods such as mechanical barriers, interlocked fences, siding gates and pull-back restraints are too restrictive for operations – then area-guarding technologies will be necessary. To maintain safe operation, since there is no barrier from the hazard, the layout and size of the safety zone must be determined so that the machine can be safely stopped. This "safe minimum distance" takes into account how far the person can walk during the machine's stopping time."   continued ...   (Via Occupational Hazards)

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