• Ernie P. Menold

New Machine Safety Analyses (MSAs) in our Shop

Updated: Nov 16

Our Workplace Cooperation Committee is a Certified Safety Committee by the Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry. The Committee is a group of employees from the office, shop, and field operations who meet monthly to discuss ways of making our business more safe, efficient, and productive. In early 2021 we began an initiative to update our Machine Safety Analyses (MSAs) on all our equipment in our shop. While we had existing MSAs on all our equipment, an improved look that was more clear and visible was needed.


As a Committee, we worked to identify, document, eliminate, and reduce hazards with every piece of equipment/ machinery in our shop. Our machines require various levels of PPE and safeguarding, so it became imperative to go machine by machine and asses every component and safeguarding practice to identify and call-out potential hazards. We had discussed that stock safety signs lose their prominence when too many are applied to a machine. We wanted all the information to live in one, clear visual sign for our Shop personnel.


OSHA regulation 1910.145(e)(2) provides a guide on the nature of the wording used on safety signs, stating "the wording of any sign should be easily read and concise. The sign should contain sufficient information to be easily understood." We made an effort to make these signs as concise as possible, and keep text to a minimum.


OSHA Regulation 1910.145(f)(4)(vi) specifies that safety messaging must be a single word or major message, so our Committee chose the following categories to include on each MSA:

  1. Danger Signs

  2. Danger tags shall be used in major hazard situations where an immediate hazard presents a threat of death or serious injury to employees.

  3. Caution Signs

  4. Caution tags shall be used in minor hazard situations where a non-immediate or potential hazard or unsafe practice presents a lesser threat of employee injury.

  5. Warning Signs

  6. Warning tags may be used to represent a hazard level between "Caution" and "Danger," instead of the required "Caution" tag

  7. “DO’s” of the Machine

  8. General guidance on actions on/ around each machine

  9. “DO NOTs”

  10. General guidance of actions to not perform on/ around this machine

  11. Golden Rule(s)

  12. Machine/ Equipment specific rules that are of the utmost importance

We used these categories as our Templates for evaluating each machine. We drafted up new MSAs, reviewed them as a Committee, and handed drafts out to Shop Personnel for feedback and any edits they may have. We stressed that someone who has never operated a machine should be able to easily understand the hazards of the machine. Here are some of the MSA digital files we created:



We then installed each MSA prominently on each machine. We use these new MSAs as our outline when we pick a machine to review in our weekly Tuesday Toolbox Talks.

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