Technology in the manufacturing industry has made leaps and bounds in terms of development, particularly in the safety department. The use of modern technology allows manufacturers to improve workplace safety and safeguard the health of workers. In turn, these improvements make the workplace more efficient, less prone to mistakes, and more cost-effective.
Here are the different types of technology that improve workplace safety in the manufacturing industry:
1. Digital signage
Communication is crucial in a fast-paced environment like a manufacturing plant. Workers often have trouble communicating with each other over the noise and chaos in the workplace, which can lead to errors and an increased risk to the health and safety of workers.
Digital signage aims to help manufacturing plants to overcome this challenge. With the use of LED displays, management can notify workers of immediate dangers and provide notices of back-ups in the assembly line. Furthermore, digital signage can display information to particular employees without the need to create new notices time and time again.
Another benefit of digital signage is that it easily captures the attention of workers more than traditional signs. For instance, LED screens can display flashing elements to grab the attention of workers in case of immediate danger, helping reduce the risk of accidents in the workplace.
Drones have been around for quite some time now, but it has not been until recently that manufacturing plants have integrated their use in operations. Drones can be used to carry messages or items from one area to another without exposing workers to hazardous situations. When there is a chemical spill or radiation risk in an area, drones can be used to gather data in the area so that workers can solve the problem without exposing themselves to danger.
Drones have also proven to make work more efficient, especially in a large workplace like a manufacturing plant. For instance, when a high-quality automated box folding machine needs a new part, a worker can use a drone to pick up the part in the depot and bring it back in the fastest way possible so that operations can continue with minimal delay.
3. Flexible safety barriers
Flexible safety barriers seem low-tech in comparison to drones and digital signage, but their importance is paramount in the manufacturing industry or any other industry for that matter. These barriers provide impact protection for workers, equipment, and vehicles alike. In terms of human safety, flexible safety barriers are proven to be more effective in preventing injury in a collision due to their ability to disperse the shock throughout the barrier.
Similarly, vehicles, equipment, and other moving machinery experience minimal damage when they collide with the barriers, helping manufacturing companies save money bottom line.
Moreover, flexible safety barriers can be transported from one location to another easily and quickly, making work more efficient and safe for everyone.
4. 3D scanning technology
Industrial operations have a lot of occupational risks, which is why identifying and mitigating potential hazards is extremely important. 3D laser scanning technology helps facility managers spot potentially hazardous situations by scanning the workplace environment and providing accurate information. This data can then be used to fix hidden issues, remove potentially hazardous elements, and ultimately design a safer working environment.
5. Smartphone apps
Smartphones can be used as personal safety tools in the workplace. Workers can use dedicated safety apps that allow them to send an alert to management (and possibly other workers) in case of an emergency, such as a fire, accident, or criminal activity. These apps can also automatically call emergency services in case the worker is immobile.
6. Automated Guided Vehicles (AGVs)
The use of automated guided vehicles (AGVs) in industrial operations provides numerous benefits, including increased workplace efficiency, reduced labor costs, and reduced risk to both structures and products. Furthermore, AGVs help improve workplace safety by performing tasks that are too dangerous for human workers, such as moving hazardous substances, handling heavy materials, and working in areas that are too hot or too cold.
Another important feature of AGVs is smooth and consistent acceleration and deceleration. Unlike manually operated forklifts that can move around at high speeds, AGVs reduce the risk to workers who might get in the way, as well as prevent damage to surrounding structures, equipment, and products.
Ensuring safety in the workplace is a never-ending process. Luckily, modern technology helps improve the safety of industrial operations in the most efficient and cost-effective ways possible. Seeing as these technological solutions have already made significant impacts on the manufacturing industry, we can expect even more solutions to increase workplace safety in the near future and beyond.