Consider Your Emergency-Stop Needs
Jane Alexander | January 25, 2018
The emergency-stop pushbutton is a simple way to quickly and completely freeze machine operation to prevent operator injury and/or costly damage to a machine.
However, according to information from AutomationDirect (automationdirect.com, Cumming, GA), machines that can pose danger to operators typically require a more thorough safety system. The company’s automation experts have some advice for those trying to determine if an emergency stop for a machine or production line is needed, or how many emergency-stop stations would be required and where they should be located.
The first step is to consult OSHA (osha.gov) and other applicable safety- and standards-related websites/sources regarding any mandates, recommendations, and requirements for your specific area or industry. This will help ensure you meet all safety requirements that apply to your operations.
Once those compliance issues are clear, you can begin considering your actual emergency-stop needs. AutomationDirect’s experts offered a number of recommendations. Among them:
• Carefully inspect all areas of your machines and production lines to make clear assessments of areas where danger zones can be identified. It’s preferable for a safety expert or engineer to perform this inspection.
• When a risk area that can benefit from an emergency-stop station is identified, ensure that the location is easily accessible by operators. They must be able to quickly and effectively push the emergency-stop pushbutton.
• Emergency-stop stations should be clearly visible. They are commonly bright-yellow stations with a red-pushbutton operator that makes them easy to identify. They should not be obstructed from clear view in any way.
• The emergency-stop pushbutton should be tied to a control system that requires some type of system reset once the e-stop pushbutton itself is reset. The control system ensures that all safety covers and devices are in place and that resuming machine operation is safe.
REMEMBER: As noted in this edited version of information taken from the AutomationDirect Library, the above recommendations are just that: recommendations. You are strongly encouraged to always follow local and national safety requirements for the best-possible safety of workers and equipment. (Read the complete article here.) EP
For more information on wide range of automation strategies, products, and related topics, go to automationdirect.com.