Now is as good a time as any to start a new commitment towards product safety. Making your products safe and compliant is not only an ethical business practice, it is a great way to avoid dealing with regulatory bodies and all the fines and costs associated with them. In that spirit, we reached out to you and asked what kind of failings were the most common in 2011. Thanks to everyone who took part in our survey. We put these mistakes into three different categories: management, engineering/knowledge, and financial. These mistakes can definitely be driven by more than one. Make sure you don’t make these mistakes in 2012.
Top Eighteen Mistakes Not to Make in 2012
These first ones are the result of bad engineering practices or from a lack of knowledge.
- Relaying grounding/earthing/bonding. (Is relaying used throughout the inputs? – “daisy chaining” – in brackets after relaying perhaps?)
- Creepage/Clearance/Distance through insulation inadequate; and/or failure of dielectric test.
- Implementing Insulation strategy between circuits.
- Enclosure openings.
- Critical Components unsuitable for intended application/country/region/”Conditions of Use.”
- Over-temperature/overcurrent protection for internal/external circuits/interfaces.
- Flammability requirement thickness/Live parts
- Temperature limits of insulation/plastics/Critical Components
- Not fulfilling the Marking requirements. ( i.e. the Directive, and/or the standard)
- Warnings and Symbols – product/manual/maintenance instructions
- Not performing a Risk Assessment
- Not designing equipment so that maintenance can be accomplished safely
We felt like the next four were probably more a result of bad management practices or attempts to cut costs where costs should not be cut.
- Lack of Audits
- Out of date or no safety standards in design. (It is unreasonable to expect an engineer to remember more than 200 detailed requirements – each engineer should have a copy of the standard to which they are designing.)
- Failure to recognize when they need expert advice
- Using generalist consultants and not experts in specific disciplines. (Example: using a specialist EMC consultant for EMC design or an expert Product Safety Engineer for Product Safety design; ditto OSHA, REACH, environmental professionals, etc.)
These last two might be Engineering, Knowledge, Management or Financial Problems. Tell us what you think.
- Safety issues associated with installation, commissioning, maintenance, repair, decommissioning.
- Relying on equipment installers to correct any design errors
That’s our list. If you have anything to add, put them in the comments. We want to thank everyone who gave us insight into this list. Happy 2012!