Providing Safety
Personalised safety keys for interlock devices

Using personal safety keys

To ensure the safety of workers when entering a dangerous area, interlocks are used.
Interlock devices are often used in machinery to ensure safe operation by preventing certain actions unless specific conditions are met. Personal safety keys are one component of this system, typically designed to grant access or enable specific functions only when the key is inserted and turned. 

Personal safety keys

Mechanical Interlocks

Interlocks can be used without electricity as they are fully mechanical. Trapped key interlocking can be used to enforce complex safety sequences, particularly where multiple energy sources are involved.

Fortress Interlocks is a company that specializes in safety interlock systems for industrial applications. Their safety interlock devices are designed to ensure the safety of personnel and prevent accidents in hazardous environments. Personal safety keys are often used with Fortress safety interlock devices to provide an additional layer of security and control access to machinery or hazardous areas. 

How might interlocks and personal safety keys be used together?

Keyed Interlock Switches: Fortress offers a range of keyed interlock switches that require a personal safety key to operate. These switches can be installed on doors, gates, or access panels to prevent them from being opened while machinery is in operation. The personal safety key is required to unlock the switch and gain access to the area.

Access Control Systems: Fortress also provides access control systems that use personal safety keys to grant access to specific individuals based on their authorization level. These systems may include electronic keys with RFID or biometric technology to authenticate users before granting access to machinery or restricted areas.

Safety Key Exchange System: In some applications, Fortress safety interlock devices may incorporate safety key exchange systems, where multiple keys are required to operate machinery safely. Each key is assigned to a specific individual, and all keys must be inserted into the interlock device before it can be activated, ensuring that multiple people are present and aware of the machinery’s operation.

Different types of keys

Standard differs are assigned to each ‘lock’ and the compatible ‘key’ which will operate it. They can be assigned to multiple locks or can be individually and uniquely assigned within a sequenced system. Locks can only be operated by the key which is assigned to that lock.

A master differ can be assigned to any lock within the system. Therefore this key can open any lock of the system. “A key which can open multiple locks of different coding” is what a master key is.  It is recommended that management maintain control over all master keys, which will be considered in the risk assessment. Any lock that has been assigned a master differ can be opened with the Master Key. To accept keys for both standard operation and the overall Master key, each “Master” lock will therefore have both a “Standard Differ” and a “Master Differ.”

IMPORTANT: There is a chance that master keys will allow you to avoid following the steps in a stuck key sequence.

Safety keys by Fortress are robust and have a fail-safe design. You can personalize the keys, with personalized engravings and custom colours. They offer 200,000 unique combinations. Additionally, you can add instant identifiers to keys with coloured seals and bows.

Personal keys play a crucial role in mechanics for several reasons

Safety: Personal safety keys are often integrated into safety interlock systems, ensuring that machinery cannot be operated unless the key is inserted and turned. This helps prevent unauthorized access and ensures that only trained individuals can use the equipment safely.

Security: Personal safety keys provide a level of security by ensuring that only authorized personnel have access to sensitive or valuable equipment. Keyed locks and interlock systems help deter theft and vandalism, protecting assets and maintaining productivity.

Accountability: Personal safety keys can be assigned to specific individuals, allowing for accountability in the use of machinery and equipment. By tracking who has access to certain systems, organizations can better manage usage and address any issues or concerns that arise.

Customization: Personal safety keys can be customized with unique identifiers such as serial numbers, codes, or biometric data, making it easy to track and manage key distribution. This customization also helps prevent unauthorized duplication of keys.

Compliance: In certain industries, regulations and standards mandate the use of personal safety keys and safety interlock systems to ensure workplace safety and compliance. By implementing these systems, organizations demonstrate their commitment to maintaining a safe working environment.



Application example

Bear enclosure prevent entrapment and escape

An example of the use of a trapped interlock system and safety keys is that of the bear enclosure in ‘DierenPark Amersfoort’ a zoo in the Netherlands. We were able to work together with them to create a safe enclosure for their bears. So it would be safe for the animals and the caretakers.

The doors and hatches of the enclosure are fitted with mechanical locks. To open a door, the keys are required from the locks of the shutters adjacent to the same room as the door. A key can only be released from the lock of a hatch when this hatch is closed. The key needs to be put back into the lock to unlock this hatch.

Now the safety key comes into play. The lock on door A, as specified in this picture, is fitted with a personal safety key. The caregiver takes this yellow key inside. As long as this key is not inserted into the lock, the door cannot be closed. To make sure the caregiver is not locked in and the animal cannot come into the same space as the caregiver.

Using personal safety keys with Fortress safety interlock devices helps enhance workplace safety by controlling access to hazardous areas and ensuring that only trained and authorized personnel can operate machinery or access restricted areas. It’s essential to follow proper safety protocols and training procedures to ensure the effective use of these systems.

Want to learn more about trapped key interlocks, such as the mGard range by Fortress Safety? Check out the product page for trapped key interlocks on our website!

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