What should you expect to see in a PHSR report? (sticky post)

Lately I’ve been seeing customers that want a PHSR for a piece of equipment that another engineering company already did a PHSR on.  Why? If an engineer puts his seal on a document you can trust that and carry on business.  Obviously these customers didn’t trust the reports they were given, they thought the other company missed something, and more than that they are exercising their responsibility for due diligence.

Let me start by giving you a bit of an idea on what some of these reports looked like.  Some of the reports were a single double sided page that made a few statements and didn’t provide any background information or provide the customer with enough detail of the specific deficiencies. Some contained risk assessment charts that were not filled in, and those of you that are familiar with CSA Z432 know that the required performance level of safety circuits depends upon the result of the risk assessment. Others missed deficiencies. One even made the statement that a single channel safety circuit provided a sufficient performance level which the customer did not agree with. (For what it’s worth, most machines I review require a control reliable safety circuit performance level.)

This is what I believe you should expect from a PHSR report from a Professional Engineer.

  1. The specifics of the equipment under review such as make/model/serial number, location, equipment owner and contact information.
  2. The reviewer’s seal and contact information.
  3. The defined scope. That is, what equipment is covered by the report. So for example, a report for a robot cell may exclude ancillary equipment that might have been covered under a separate report. I also include here additional notes to the reader including some verbiage about the need for lock-out-tag-out procedures and the responsibilities of the equipment owner and end-users.
  4. A list of the machine’s safety features, such as guards, interlocked doors, emergency stop buttons, pneumatic air dump valves, etc. Photographs of the design features help on a machine walk-around. This also generally covers the machine’s safety deficiencies, such as gaps in guarding, a lack of a dump valve, etc. For gaps in machine guarding I like to include my “gotcha stick” in the photo to make it clear not only where the problem is, but also to gauge the size of the problem.
  5. A summary listing of the machine safety control system deficiencies.
  6. The risk assessment matrix. This is necessary to determine whether the safety control system is adequate.
  7. A summary listing of the safety deficiencies (non-compliances) and recommended solutions. This should refer to sections of the appropriate code and also any other pertinent details of the other sections in the report. A statement of the corrective action completes the list and gives the customer the “To-Do list”.
  8. A list of supporting documents, such as schematics.
  9. A list of references; standards to which the machine was reviewed to.
  10. I also like to include the machine drawings at the end of the report. It may not seem necessary to include documents the customer already has, but it make a nice little time-capsule of the state of the equipment at the time of the review.

That is it in a nutshell.

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