We break down what you need to know about risk assessments

Employees responsible for safety are faced with complex laws, regulations, labeling measures, and guidelines. Understandably, it can be difficult to remember all the minute details of this process. Risk assessments completed by certified safety experts can help you to achieve an acceptable residual risk concerning hazardous situations.

What is a Risk Assessment?

A risk assessment is a sequence of logical steps based on the systematic analysis and evaluation of risks. The machine is designed and operated according to the results of the risk assessment. Where necessary, risk reduction follows a risk assessment by applying suitable protective measures. This methodology will identify the potential hazards associated with a machine or group of machines and quantify the associated risk by:

  • Identifying hazards for a machine work cell or production line during setup, operation, maintenance, and cleaning
  • Evaluating and categorizing all safety-related parts of the control system
  • Assessing circuit architecture and guarding (controls, hard guards)

Risk assessments are conducted on all types of machinery, including mobile robots and industrial machinery. Machine builders, end users, robotics integrators, and other customers all benefit from the knowledge gained from risk assessments. The extensive safety and application knowledge of SICK benefits customers from a targeted evaluation of a machine. This not only increases safety, but also improves productivity.

Risk Reduction Process

For the entire machine life cycle, from planning to commissioning and operation to safety-related modifications, SICK safety experts recommend solutions that protect people and machines from dangerous environments.

The process of risk reduction is achieved by applying suitable risk reduction measures. Should a new risk arise from the application of risk reduction measures, it is assessed and reduced. A repetition of the entire process (risk assessment and risk reduction) may be necessary to eliminate hazards as far as possible and to sufficiently reduce the identified or newly emerged risks.

For the final assessment, we consider the integrity of the protection systems, the priority of the machines, and organizational measures.

Through the risk assessment process and the documentation, a machine manufacturer and an employer can prove due diligence in providing a safe workplace and a quality product. The advantage of this simple approach is that for a reasonable cost, you are given the planning resources for internal organization and for collaboration with supervisory bodies. Tangible actions for future safety strategies can be derived from this.

Types of Risk Assessments Offered by SICK

  • Conceptual Machine Design Risk Assessment and Safety Concept: This can be conducted when machines are still under design and have not yet been built. This ensures OEMs can build safe machines and not have to retroactively make safety improvements and additions.
  • Machine Guarding Risk Assessment: This traditional risk assessment analyzes and evaluates the hazards and risk associated with machine operation, using a proven, task-based methodology in accordance with relevant safety standards. Risk assessments can be completed on all types of machinery, including AGVs and AMRs.
  • Virtual Risk Assessments: Much like a traditional risk assessment, a virtual risk assessment can be conducted virtually without having to bring a safety expert in your facility.

Your Safety Partner

In the end, there are many different sensor technologies available for a wide variety of use cases. It is always best to consult with an expert to find the right solution for your application.

SICK has numerous services available to provide support during the risk assessment process. We are your safety provider. We are your consultants. We can partner with OEMs who require an expert with safety knowledge and competence. In addition, we can provide safety services support for end users.

Want to learn more about risk assessments? Contact a SICK representative today!