6 Ways Technology Improves Workplace Safety in Manufacturing
If you've paid attention to the progression of technology over the years, you've probably noticed some of the ways that it helps society run better. There are traffic lights on timers and electrical grids that can handle hundreds of thousands of homes. When it comes to businesses, technology has provided even more benefits. There are VoIP phone systems that allow people to work from home. There are computers and cloud storage solutions that enable collaboration. Technology in healthcare enables people to live longer and healthier lives.
And in manufacturing, technology has allowed companies like Amazon to become behemoths who can get packages to your door within two days of ordering. The possibilities are limitless when you use the right technology. Here are some of the ways that technology improves workplace safety.
While you might think of a sci-fi movie like Pacific Rim, did you know that robotic suits exist? These powered exoskeletons have uses in manufacturing, military, construction, oil and gas, and so much more. With one of these suits, people can lift up to 200 lbs. with ease. This protects people's physical health and enables them to do more strenuous solo work. It no longer takes the efforts of four strong men to do what one can do in one of these suits. Technology has come a long way, and the results are amazing.
Think of your Apple Watch on steroids. What if you had a wearable device that could not only track biometrics, but could also scan barcodes, track standards, and sense dangers? Safety wearables could also include specialized vests that keep you cool, ones that monitor you for heat stressors, and even air quality sensors. The idea with wearable is that you don't need to hold multiple devices, but that you can combine safety and work into one useful tool. With wearable technology, manufacturing becomes safer for the people who work in it.
Sometimes it's not safe to pull something off a tall shelf. Drones in manufacturing help alleviate some of the dangers associated with manufacturing. They can be used to help with inspections and access high places that are too dangerous for people. This minimizes fall risk and increases workplace safety. Drones can also be used to assess issues and perform certain tests from afar.
This seems basic, but ergonomic workstations in manufacturing reduce the risk of injury. Using technology, stations can be swiftly moved to accommodate everyone. Those settings can be saved as a profile that the worker can access later. This is especially helpful in industries like manufacturing where repetitive motion injuries can be severe. Ergonomic workstations mean that everything is set to the unique needs of the person working. With table tops that can go up and down automatically, screens that can be adjusted at the push of a button and tools that are designed to fit in your hand, technology help in every way.
Want to give your staff the opportunity to use the equipment safely before they ever touch the equipment? Safety training is just one of the many ways that virtual reality technology can be used to help keep manufacturing sites safer. Instead of training directly on the equipment and risking injury, VR helps people simulate tasks and learn proper safety protocols before they even touch the real thing. They can complete real-life scenarios with workplace dangers. Then they learn what to do to protect themselves without ever being in real danger. This gives more opportunity for trainers and managers to correct mistakes and make suggestions without risking anyone's safety.
If you can't remember how to do something safely, how will you do it right? Safety apps on your smartphone can act as reminders for things like safe lifting, safe ladder habits, and how to handle hazardous materials. These apps can also help measure and monitor noise levels and remind workers to wear protective devices on their ears. Apps can also provide audits, give feedback on safety inspections, and help with management and compliance. By using apps, you make the workplace safer and can measure how well your staff are doing. These are the simplest ways to use technology to keep manufacturing facilities safe.