5 ways technology can help workers avoid injury on the plant floor
by Bryan Christiansen, Founder and CEO of Limble CMMS
Industry 4.0 has safety benefits for manufacturing plant workers that are sometimes overlooked.
Creating a safer manufacturing environment has always been a priority for industry leaders, especially regarding worker safety.
And as we’ve become more tech-savvy, we’ve been able to take advantage of new technology and use it to create a safer and faster manufacturing environment.
Moreover, modern equipment has been one of the most significant contributors to new technology, creating a safer manufacturing facility. That’s why in this article, we want to highlight five ways in which technology makes manufacturing safer.
5 Ways Technology Makes Manufacturing Safer
1. Technology on plant floor designs and layouts
Plant floor designs and layouts depend heavily on the machinery and equipment used in manufacturing. Often, companies spend thousands to millions of dollars calculating the types of machines needed for their plant floor based on product demand forecasts.
This is possible through specialized software that calculates the space required by components or well-finished throughputs.
There’s more emphasis on plant floor layouts – one could even consider them an art form in today’s world. A well-thought-out plant floor layout will ease the material flow, avoid bottlenecks, and maximize throughput over time.
2. Manufacturing ergonomics
Technology has also introduced safer methods of manufacturing ergonomics. Many companies today optimize their production, and the ergonomics they implement lead to processes whit very little to no errors at all.
These companies have introduced stricter quality control measures, including:
- More automated manufacturing processes
- Better training of employees, and
- Streamlined production procedures.
3. Protective gear in manufacturing
With the advancement of technology, there has been a significant increase in working safely with protective gear. Technology has improved safety standards for the employees and cuts costs for employers by reducing the number of accidents.
There are monitoring tools to check whether employees are wearing the required protective gear. With the proper monitoring software, safety surveillance can be effective.
However, there should be a certain percentage of random checks and scheduled ones to carry out inspections. Employees who fear such random inspections can sometimes alter their behaviour to reduce the risk of accidents and injuries.
4. Implement a safer management system
There are enough benefits of using technology to implement a safer management system. For example, you can use it to track the location of your employees and deliver real-time updates on their health and wellness, as well as to improve your plant’s maintenance.
This is mandatory in any industry, especially in industries where safety is a priority. Some of the reduced risks when implementing new technology are:
- Reduced human error and increased accountability
- It can help reduce the number of work-related injuries and fatalities
- It can protect employees from potential threats or hazards.
Unlike traditional management systems, a technological system can be built and improved over time. It will allow for new features as the business grows, including:
- Industrial control system
- Advanced computer-assisted dispatch (CAD) and tracking systems
- Real-time reporting for managers and supervisors
- Improved safety performance through the timely identification of potential risks or hazards
- Prevent possible violations by monitoring the employees’ real-time activity – be it via video or using sensors to detect breaches in safety rules
- Deliver real-time updates on productivity
5. Safety equipment for heavy machinery
When it comes to operating heavy machinery, technology is continuously improving and making things easier for the operators. This has resulted in several benefits, including:
- Reduced wear and tear on the machinery, resulting in lower operating costs
- Increased efficiency through better ergonomics
- Greater ease of monitoring different parts of the machinery simultaneously, particularly on large equipment
The latest technologies include hands-free operation, voice control, and robotics. For these applications to be successful, safety equipment is necessary. Therefore, manufacturing plants are obligated to have specific safety equipment for employees handling heavy machinery.
Avoiding injuries on the plant floor is a huge safety concern faced by plant owners and management alike. Many factors contribute to the possibility of accidents, such as machinery malfunctions, human error, and more.