Tuesday, July 1, 2014

OSHA Compliance for Lifting Systems

Lately, my company has been asked to review numerous lifting systems for compliance to safety standards. I have been asked to review equipment that is a derived version of an existing device where the existing system DOES NOT meet the OSHA/ASME standards. Surprisingly, I find that the purchaser doesn't realize that they will be held accountable by OSHA for applicability of the lifting system usually resulting from an accident investigation or safety complaint. Did you know OSHA holds the employer responsible for design and applicability of lifting tools?

Handling and moving materials and products often requires special lifting equipment. Heavy lifting applications are found in both construction and maintenance applications. As the employer, you are responsible to ensure that all lifting devices are used appropriately and in compliance with the OSHA standards. Are you sure your lifting devices are in compliance?

OSHA 1926 provides clear instructions regarding the usage of lifting devices. Sadly, some companies find out too late that their lifting systems are not in compliance. How can you be sure that your system is safe and meets the OSHA requirements? To start:
  • Ensure that all purchased products are designed to applicable industry standards, require a statement of compliance
  • Ensure that each device includes operating instructions approved by a qualified engineer.
  • Specifically applicable to below the hook devices (Ref: ASME B30.20, ASME BTH‐1, ASME B30.9):
    • Require proof that the system was designed to meet the applicable standards.
    • Devices shall include placards that list maximum rated load, serial number, design category (ASME BTH‐1), and device weight, device manufacturer.
    • Devices shall include a placard that specifies date of last proof load test, date of lastinspection, and required date for next proof load test.
    • Request the proof load inspection report.
    • Require that all devices include maintenance and inspection plans.
  • Use the device only in accordance with approved procedures, all deviations must be reviewed and approved by a qualified engineer.
  • Any deviations or modifications to the lifting devices must be approved in writing by a qualified professional engineer
OSHA 1926.32 defines a qualified person as:
  • One who, by possession of a recognized degree, certificate, or professional standing, or who by extensive knowledge, training, and experience, has successfully demonstrated his ability to solve or resolve problems relating to the subject matter, the work, or the project.
Most states define a qualified engineer as one that is licensed to practice in that state (Professional Engineer). Please consult the laws of your state.

KTM Solutions is an engineering services company that specializes in lifting devices and material handling systems. All lifting designs are approved by licensed engineers (PE). Manufacturing services are available as well.

Need assistance ‐ Contact us at info@ktmsolutions.com

Saturday, March 1, 2014

He Could Go All The Way

The phrase made famous by Chris Berman of ESPN. The receiver has the ball and is running down the field. As he approahes the end zone, the crowd cheers. They know that 6 points is just a few steps away. Normally, when that phrase is used, there is no chance of missing the touch down. But, then the unexpected happens. He drops the ball. The other team is right there and they recover the fumble. Celebration turns into disappointment.

Did you ever have an engineering project go that way? You thought everything was going perfectly. You were on the last leg and about to deliver when the unexpected happened. Somebody dropped the ball. Perhaps your parts didn't get ordered. Or maybe the wrong parts arrived. Or worse still, the engineering was wrong, parts were built but didn't fit when they arrived. Celebration turns to disappointment. Like the football player that drops the ball, this kind of foul up could cost you the game, maybe even your position on the team.

So what can you do? Can these mistakes be prevented? In short, yes. Good football is played by committing to the basics. Blocking and tackling. Protecting the ball. Moving the ball down the field. Unlike a football game, usually in an engineering project you are not fighting against an unfriendly opponent that wants to prevent you from moving forward. But, the basic mechanics of project planning and systems engineering must be followed to enhance your chances of winning the game.

Do you understand how system engineering works? Do you know how to identify risk areas, manage them, and mitigate the risks? Do you know how to integrate your team to keep everuone moving in the same direction? Need help delievring a completed system? Perhaps KTM Solutions can help. Let us help you. You could go all the way!

Monday, February 3, 2014

Dancing Naked on Table Tops

A long, long time ago at a company far, far away, one of my staff members wrote in status report that they "danced naked on a table top during their staff meeting." Obviously, this got my attention. I asked my staffer what this was all about. The associate told me that they didn't think that anyone actually read their report, so they put this in to see if anyone noticed.

Admittedly, I didn't always do the best and most thorough job of reading status reports. To be totally honest, sometimes I didn't read them at all. Many times, I just passed the information along to my bosses. In fact, I could easily have missed this one. But, thank heaven, I did read this report. The message behind the message got my attention. If you are a manager or leader, have you stopped to consider if your direction adds value, your requests are necessary, and if these requests are helping your team to succeed?

I had an influential boss named Jeff Peace. A very capable manager, leader, and unknowing mentor of mine. I learned a lot from that man. When I worked for him, he was the program manager on one of the large aircraft development programs at that company far, far away. He was unique from all the other managers I supported. He didn't care about status updates. Could care less about reports. In fact, when I sent him my first report, he told me that he gave me a responsibility and expected it to get done so why did he need a report? If I failed, I would be held accountable.

Don't get me wrong, he cared deeply about the project and wanted to know when we needed help. Afterall, his neck was on the line too. In fact, I can only imagine what it was like when he went to his superiors and they asked him, "How's the project going? Is it on schedule? Are there any issues?"  And his response would be ... "I assume fine" or "I haven't heard about any problems", or "Everything's going great?" but had nothing to show them. What a statement about responsibility, accountability, and trust. Jeff knew our capability and he trusted us.

Here are some things to consider and use as a test for yourself. Do you trust your people? Do you ask for reports and information that you never intend to use except to justify your position? Do your people feel ownership, accountability and a sense that they are trusted to complete the job? Does your team know that they will be held accountable but that they can also come to you for help anytime they need it? And, if they come, do you take the responsibility back or do you help them to succeed within their charge?

I don't know if he will ever read this blog, but thank you, Jeff, for trusting me and teaching me to trust those I manage and lead. As always, I welcome comments.