Machinery Safety: We’re All Here for It!

An Interview With idealworks’ CMSE, Charbel Chemaly

4 min readMay 19, 2022

Great news are what we like best, and safety is what idealworks is all about: Following the announcement of our ISO/IEC 27001:2013 certificate we acquired earlier this year, guaranteeing that our company’s security infrastructure is of the highest standard, we are proud to share that we now have a Certified Machinery Safety Expert among us. An interview with idealworks’ Senior Functional Safety Engineer, Charbel Chemaly.

Charbel Chemaly, idealworks’ Senior Functional Safety Engineer & CMSE

Charbel, with all those abbreviations bustling about, what does CMSE really mean?

CMSE stands for Certified Machinery Safety Expert. It is a qualification that is recognized worldwide, providing a wholesome understanding of the field of machinery safety and its lifecycle, from legislation, standards and safeguarding techniques to a detailed review of safety areas.

What are the requirements to become a CMSE? Are there any specific target groups for such a certificate?

Well, first of all, you need to have some work experience proving that you have knowledge in the area of machinery safety. This is either a minimum of five years of professional experience or training in one or more sectors of machinery safety, such as technology, safety-related production or maintenance; or at least one year of practical experience in one or more of those machinery safety sectors, plus a two-year experience acquired during a degree in natural sciences, engineering, technology, design and construction, or maintenance and repair of machines from a (technical) university.

It sounds like a lot, but really what it means is just that the person needs to have some kind of profound knowledge and experience in the field. In general, the certificate is for mechanical designers, control engineers, system integrators, technicians, engineers, etc.

Why did you decide to become a Certified Machinery Safety Expert?

That’s a good one! It pretty much started when we began to develop the iw.hub. I was handed my first safety-related task: I had to integrate the safety PLC into the robot. Doing so, I discovered two things: First, I enjoy working on safety-related topics and second, I instantly understood how important and critical safety is when it comes to the development of any type of product — and especially robots and machines. Fast forward to the launch of idealworks in November 2020, having gradually increased responsibility in safety, I decided to challenge myself and set myself a target to become a Certified Machinery Safety Expert, enhancing my expertise and progressing my career.

It was Christoph Ryll, founder of Robotics Consulting, who encouraged me to embark on this journey. Christoph used to be a tutor for CMSE in Germany and translated the first CMSE course material for the German market almost ten years ago. I am glad to have had him as my mentor.

What are the benefits of participating in the Certified Machinery Safety Expert qualification?

First of all, every participant receives an internationally acknowledged TÜV NORD certificate after successful participation — which is a great additional qualification for their professional development. Plus, receiving the certificate goes hand in hand with becoming part of a worldwide community of safety experts. It is pretty much a benefit for both the companies the CMSEs are working for as well as their very own careers.

How challenging was the course and how did you get prepared for the exam?

Hands down, I had been through many nights of learning all kinds of safety regulations and norms, reading standards and directives, and applying those to the workplace over a 2-year span to get prepared for the training and the corresponding exam. The training itself was challenging but rewarding. All the material discussed in the course was explained very well and backed by real-life examples, which I appreciated. The exam is a multiple-choice test.

What does your newly acquired qualification mean for idealworks?

For idealworks, having a Certified Machinery Safety Expert in the team leading the company‘s robotics safety and hardware development stream generally means three things: It does not only show that idealworks considers safety as one of its top priorities and that it aims to deliver products at the highest safety ratings, but also that the company is capable of efficiently developing customized solutions for its clients by bridging the gap between safety on one side and hardware development on the other. It also emphasizes how invested idealworks is in its team. The company pushes us to reach new heights, supporting us in becoming our very best, and for that I will always be grateful.

How long is your CMSE certificate valid for?

The CMSE certificate needs to be renewed every four years. In order to do so it is necessary to attend a one-day training session which entails a fee, and that’s pretty much it! I’ll let you know how I will go for my recertification!

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