Over a quarter of all occupational accidents occurring on machinery are caused by the defeating of protective equipment. In most cases, defeating can be attributed to an inadequate safety concept: if one or more items of protective equipment on a machine obstruct the performance of certain tasks, an incentive exists for them to be defeated. The more defeating of protective equipment facilitates operation of the machine, the more likely it is to occur.
Companies manufacturing and operating machinery have an obligation to make safe machines available to the operating personnel. Machines presenting a high incentive for the defeating of protective equipment cannot be regarded as safe and should not be placed in service. Whether the item of protective equipment on a machine presents an incentive for defeating or not, is therefore a pertinent question for both the company manufacturing the machine and the company operating it.
In order for the incentive to defeat protective equipment to be evaluated, IFA has developed a method that has already been incorporated into a standard (EN ISO 14119). This method is now available in the form of an app for use on smartphones and tablets running on Android and iOS. IFA recommends its use on tablets. Alternatively, evaluation can be performed by means of an MS Excel table; the method implemented in this case is the same as that of the app. All versions of the software are available for download free of charge.
Evaluation should be performed by persons who are familiar with operation of the machine. It can be performed at any time, for example during design of the machine, before it is delivered, or when it is already in operation. If an incentive to defeat the protective equipment of a machine has been identified, measures are required in order for this incentive to be reduced. Further information can be found at www.stop-defeating.org and www.dguv.de/ifa.