Terry McDonald: Site Safety

Equipment manufacturers and their representatives could do more to promote the safety features incorporated into their design, and potential buyers should make a point of asking about these features.

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What did we see at IMTS that should interest us in the safety field? The thing that I noticed the most is that machine tool vendors still don’t promote safety related features. They seem to leave it up to us, as consumers or users of their equipment, to ferret out the available safety features they incorporate into the design of their machinery. I hope that, as buyers of equipment, you related your safety concerns when looking at new equipment purchases. Other than this omission, I was impressed by the turnout and the new technologies available. All of the people I ran into at the show were focused on getting the most out of their visit, and I find this to be a very good sign for our industry. I hope that you were able to attend the show, and that it proved to be a valuable experience.

There have been some interesting articles in some of the industrial magazines lately that I would like to bring to your attention. There was a short note in the April issue of Cutting Tool Engineering noting that the Independent Lubrication Manufacturers Association is aligning itself with OSHA to protect workers from hazards by developing training and education programs on the proper use of lubricants. This might be worth looking into for your in-house safety training. Also, in the July issue of Modern Machine Shop there was a note on a new Web site [www.osha.gov/SLTC/metalworkingfluids]. This is another source that is available to all of us for safety training purposes. Both of these sources are dealing with fluids used in our manufacturing environments. There was also a very good article in the September issue of Modern Applications News titled “Dodging Dermatitis During Dryer, Cooler Months Ahead.” This is an issue of health and safety that involves all of us, but is sometimes overlooked. This article does a good job of pointing out the problems and offering solutions.

Another article I found quite interesting was in the October issue of QUALITY. It was titled “When Quality Isn’t the Top Priority,” and it points out how safety and quality go hand in hand, describing the advantages that can be gained by following good safety practices. This is the magazine’s “Year in Revue” issue, and I hope that some of the ideas I have discussed in this column throughout the year have proved to be useful to you. I appreciate the opportunity to have this page to promote safety in the workplace, and I hope that in some small way I have conveyed a sense of urgency to each of you. I think that each and every one of us will be better off for the time we invest in making our workplace safer, and a more-pleasant place to spend our time. After all, we typically spend more of our waking hours at work than we do any other place in our lives.

I would like to close this month’s column with a sincere wish that each and every one of you have a safe and happy holiday season, and I am looking forward to 2005 and the opportunities that it presents.

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is partner and manager of Repair Parts, Inc., and a current member and past–chairman of the American National Standards Institute B11.11 Subcommittee on Safety Requirements for Construction, Care, and Use of Gear Cutting Equipment. McDonald writes this monthly column specifically for Gear Solutions magazine, and he can be reached at (815) 968–4499 or rpi@repair–parts–inc.com. The company's Web site is [www.repair–parts–inc.com].