ISSA at ACHEMA 2015 “People and machines”
"People and machines – a safe and sure combination!" Ensuring a safe interface between humans and machines, especially in regard of ergonomics and demographic change, was the focus of an international symposium co-organised by the ISSA Chemistry Section and the ISSA Section on Machine and System Safety as part of ACHEMA 2015 in Frankfurt in June 2015. Renowned speakers from Europe and overseas discussed the issues of "Tampering with safety systems", "The human factor" and "Communication and risk assessment".
The "Tampering with safety systems" subject block dealt with key issues in occupational safety. All too often, safety systems are disabled in the workplace because they are found to interfere with the work itself. The most frequently named reasons for this are supposedly or actually making work easier, productivity pressure, bad ergonomics, convenience and ultimately ignorance and a lack of hazard awareness. A study by the German Statutory Accident Insurance discovered that around one third of all safety systems on machinery are tampered with. Thousands of severe and fatal accidents involving machinery every year result from safety systems that have been disabled. What is the best way of addressing this issue? How can companies and employees be made more aware of safe behaviour? Key experiences from Switzerland and Germany highlighted tried-and-tested approaches that have been developed for practitioners on site in the companies.
The "Human factor" provided the focus for the second subject block. Demographic change is affecting a wide range of aspects of social security. Prevention plays a key role in dealing with the challenges associated with demographic change. How can social insurance schemes respond to this? How can internationally active companies respond with preventive measures to ensure their workforces stay healthy in their working lives? What role do diversity issues play in a globalised world?
The theme of the third set of presentations was "Communication and risk assessment". This is an important area of international occupational safety and poor communication can lead to huge risks if employees do not receive sufficient training. How can safety briefings be organised in such a way that the messages are also implemented? What role do ergonomic considerations play in the design of workplaces to prevent hazards occurring in the first place? And how can complex hazards in the workplace be correctly assessed using a practice-oriented tool, so as to develop and implement effective and efficient protective measures?
Safety – Ergonomics – Demographics. Exciting themes from a successful ISSA Chemistry Section symposium. The symposium showed that the interface between humans and machines is still and will remain an important issue.