A new access control system designed by Western Australian company CASWA is gaining acceptance all over the world for its ability to reduce OHS and business risk associated with equipment use in industrial environments.

CASWA’s AccessPack is an innovative Australian access control system designed to control operator access to high risk equipment; however, its success, simplicity and versatility has led to its installation on a wider range of equipment across diverse industries. Major existing users of AccessPack include companies such as Schlumberger, BHP Billiton, Rio Tinto, FMG, Weatherford, UGL, Komatsu, Hitachi, Disney, Rolls Royce and Whiting Corporation.

AccessPack access control system uses smart card technology to prevent unauthorised operators from using high risk or critical equipment, improving safety outcomes at the workplace by requiring users to have current and appropriate ‘tickets’ including qualifications, accreditation, training and/or inductions to operate the equipment. AccessPack records specific user information, creating and maintaining a culture of operator accountability, and typically improving availability as authorised users instinctively take greater care of the equipment. Additionally, the system provides Health, Safety and Environment (HSE) staff with access to information required for effective incident investigation and proactive training needs analysis.

Conventional access control systems are designed to restrict perimeter access. In addition to needing expensive communications infrastructure connecting the control point and a backend computer, these systems will not stop anyone from operating an individual machine once the person has passed security.

CASWA Managing Director and the developer of the technology, Mr Paul Kelly explains that AccessPack is fitted to the actual equipment that needs to be managed. The equipment will only operate for individual persons who are authorised to do so, and only for the period that this authority is valid. The machine will simply not start for anyone else.

According to Mr Kelly, controlling devices individually also enables the company to tackle the difficult people part of the HSE equation because making behavioural changes is difficult. AccessPack logs authorised use, achieving behavioural change by merely providing the means to accountability. This change will often stay with the operator when they use any other equipment.

AccessPack also doesn't rely on any communications system to operate, and can be installed quickly and inexpensively on a wider range of equipment. This makes it suitable for use on mobile and battery powered equipment that isn't bolted down and can easily wander in and out of Wi-Fi or 3G range.

This unique feature also makes AccessPack a universal solution for all types, makes and models of equipment with organisations able to employ a single access control technology across their entire operation, with only one associated management system.

AccessPack access control system is ideal for cranes, production critical machines, hydraulic power packs, lathes, presses, CNC plant and breakout machines, as well as vehicles such as forklifts, diggers and elevated lifting platforms. The system can also replace most logbook controlled cabinets or rooms by fitting an AccessPack to an electronic safe or door.

AccessPack can be fitted to any number of units or different equipment types on a site. Installations can be a single machine on one site, a type of machine across multiple sites, or a total enterprise solution for all types of critical or hazardous equipment, making it an infinitely scalable access control solution without incurring any sunk cost along the way.

Operating the AccessPack is extremely easy; once the system is fitted to a machine, all the operator has to do is swipe their access card to start the machine. The system also prevents unqualified personnel from being pressured into using hazardous equipment by over-eager or time-stressed supervisors.

AccessPack features also include the ability to track maintenance or servicing schedules, keeping equipment in good working condition and ensuring operator safety. Equipment can also be tagged out for any reason including maintenance, ensuring no one can physically use the equipment until it is safe to do so.

Administration of the access control system is just as simple with a secure web interface enabling access rights to be granted or changed using a few drag and drop actions.

Recently, CASWA signed a license agreement with the Whiting Corporation, a major manufacturer of overhead cranes, foundry equipment and rail maintenance lifting equipment in the US, for distribution throughout North America.