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Engineering Out the Hazards of a Machine Shop

[+] Author Affiliations
Sean Wirth, Ruben Montes, Susan Bell, Michael Saltzman

Baker Hughes, Houston, TX

Paper No. IMECE2011-63072, pp. 421-430; 10 pages
  • ASME 2011 International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition
  • Volume 9: Transportation Systems; Safety Engineering, Risk Analysis and Reliability Methods; Applied Stochastic Optimization, Uncertainty and Probability
  • Denver, Colorado, USA, November 11–17, 2011
  • Conference Sponsors: ASME
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-5495-2
  • Copyright © 2011 by ASME


A machine shop environment presents a high potential for occupational injuries and fatalities. A combination of rotating spindle, coolant spatter, cutting tool activity, and sharp airborne chips, occurring during the metal cutting process, creates a significant hazard for equipment operators. The danger of working in this environment is reflective in industry TRIRs (Total Recordable Incident Rate) which fall between 2.7 (Oil and Gas Manufacturing) and 5.5 (Metal Manufacturing) based on the latest USA Industry and Illness Data. This case study highlights how the Navigation Manufacturing facility (500 employees, 100 CNC machines) — identified numerous safety issues in its machine shop environment and processes, and undertook a three-step program for “engineering out” those hazards. 1. The first step involved modifying machinery guarding and improving the internal visibility of parts during machine operation. 2. The second step took traditional secondary process tasks performed manually outside the machine — de-burring, marking, cleaning — and incorporated these tasks into the machining effort to reduce potential operator hand injuries that could occur during interaction with the part. 3. Thirdly, the handling of production parts was improved with the use of parts catchers, modified forklifts, and new safer material lifting devices, further reducing the likelihood of other bodily injury. Implementation of “hands-free” machine and equipment improvements and enhanced process practices has allowed the facility to achieve over two million hours without a Recordable Injury (TRIR), over 9 million hours without a Days Away from Work Case (DAFWC), and a TRIR of less than 0.4 for the last 5 years.

Copyright © 2011 by ASME
Topics: Machine shops



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