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Failure Modes and Effects Analysis

Applying FMEA to Manual Material Handling at XYZ inc.

Drew Douglas

on 28 March 2014

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Transcript of Failure Modes and Effects Analysis

Why do it?
Manual Material Handling frequently results in “higher risk outcomes…[such as] musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs)”.
The Evaluation of Risk
XYZ has a risk management strategy
in line with Z1002, in place to calculate risk based on severity and likelihood (occurrence).
“material” is used to describe anything being pushed, pulled, lifted, lowered and/or carried.
Two potential effects of failure modes:
damaged materials, or
injured employees.
There is an opportunity for improvement through the creation of procedures for the yellow indicated failure modes. The yellow failure modes with regards to material storage could be controlled through a housekeeping policy outlining how materials should be shelved, stacked and the design of the shelving. XYZ may even benefit from banning the storing of materials at heights that require ladders and stepstools for access. Further, the housekeeping procedure could outline that materials of certain sizes and or shapes have adequate space around them for easy access. In regards to overweight materials, further training would need to be provided to ensure employees know that carts and dolly’s are available for use.
There are further opportunities for improvement with regards to the shape and type of materials manually handled. From a procurement perspective, XYZ could look at the shape and type of materials being purchased that will be manually handled and decide to substitute for materials that are more ergonomic in nature or are made from a substance that allows the user to easily grip it.
What is it?
Traditionally used for complex systems and equipment; however, it can be used for simple workplace tasks and their effects on employees (Chappell).
Involves breaking a complex process into its parts and identifying and evaluating all potential failures. FMEA establishes the current controls in place to prevent and detect the identified failure modes.
Manual Material Handling
A presentation applying Failure Modes and Effects Analysis (FMEA) to all Manual Material Handling at XYZ company
Breaking Down
Manual Material Handling
Application of FMEA
Results & Action Items
the failure mode is evaluated based on how serious the outcomes or effects of it could be.
A methodology to analyse every
potential failure and its subsequent effects on a
process, system, product or task.
MSDs are an important issue for workplaces because they represent “44% of all lost time claims, 41% of all lost-time injury claim costs, and $112 million in Workplace Safety and Insurance Board claims”(Health and Safety Ontario).
Similar figures exist across North America. Although the figures do not specifically refer to manual material handling, or overexertion injuries, A large quantity of MSDs most likely hinge on these contributing factors.
The detection element will be evaluated according to the following table taken from Chappell’s course notes.
The process of manual material handling includes four sub-components:
accessing the stored material;
lifting the material;
carrying the material; and
depositing or storing the material;
Accessing and depositing materials have similar failure modes so these 2 components have been combined to simplify the table.
Including tools, equipment, banker boxes, etc.
Each failure mode is then ranked based on 3 components:
The 3 evaluated components are multiplied together to reach a Risk Priority Number (RPN).
the likelihood or probability of the failure mode happening to the system or process.
the ability for current controls to detect the failure mode.
Once RPNs are established, action plans can be made in order to implement further controls with the intention of preventing / eliminating the failure mode.
If elimination is not possible, controls could be set in place to severity, occurrence rates or detection methods, thus the detection value, resulting in a RPN.
RPN = (Probability of Occurrence) * (Severity Ranking) * (Detection Ranking)
failure modes
material falls
employee reaching
employee bending
employee falls
(from height)
improper lifting
employee falls
(same level)
employee twists
employee drops
I can't see
Hope I don't slip
All of the failure modes have been evaluated in terms of severity and likelihood with the current controls in place as per the XYZ Risk Calculator.
Most of the failure modes have been ranked as a 3. This is due to the fact that the specific type of incident has not yet occurred at XYZ, but it is very probable that it could occur one day.
The exceptions being the employee overexerting themselves upon lifting, not follow proper procedures and suffering from a slip, trip or fall while carrying an item.
An employee attempting to lift too much is not very likely due to the fact that XYZs procedures outline cutoff values for which employees can safely lift. For example, no employee who is an office worker and whose primary tasks do not include manual lifting or carrying will be required to manually lift materials in excess of 23 kg (50.6 lbs). Anything that may look close to these values would not usually be attempted. However, there is still potential for someone to overexert themselves by lifting an item beyond their limit.
Both failure modes resulting in an employee suffering a reversible disabling injury from improper lifting techniques and slipping or tripping while carrying material have occurred at XYZ before and have thus been assigned Almost Certain likelihood values.
Detection methods in place when it comes to housekeeping items and storage are highly effective. Monthly inspections are in place at XYZ and they are very effective at detecting and mitigating many causes of the aforementioned potential failure modes.
With regards to the employees actually performing work however, the detection methods are not as effective. Either the employee would have to complain about the work, begin avoiding similar tasks or actually complete an incident report if they injured themselves. This fails to detect the failure mode beforehand but it can be used as a lagging indicator to detect future comparable failure modes.
Supervisory observation is another detection method in place when it comes to the employee completing the task. However, it is not very effective and has been ranked higher as such. This is because the supervisor cannot be expected to witness every employee about to perform a lift.
Effects of Failure
The severity of damaged material depends on its monetary value.
In most cases, the material being manually handled will have a value of less than $5,000, thus, the severity of all of these damaged materials failure modes would be ranked as minor (1).
Therefore, we will use the severity number in terms of personal injury, since each of these tasks also have personal injury associated with them.
The employee can be injured in one of three ways, all of which will have varying levels of severity:
suffer from a slip, trip, or fall;
be struck by the material they are manually handling;
suffer from a MSD injury such as a sprain or strain.
Most failure modes have been ranked as a 3. This is due to the fact that most MSDs result in modified work or lost time.
The lowered exceptions being material falling on an employee, or the employee dropping the material. These failures may result in a medical aid but are unlikely to cause any disabling injuries.
The one severity element ranked at a 4, has been ranked as such because the fall may take place from the height of a stepladder. This could potentially result in a permanently disabling injury.
Require further controls immediately. First of all, with regards to safe lifting techniques, managers must hold employees accountable for not following procedure. Additionally, managers need to make positive comments when employees do perform safe lifting techniques in order to change the culture of lifting at XYZ.
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