Very often, industrial safety is seen as a major block to increasing productivity. Business owners falsely assume that with an increased emphasis on safety, production will take a hit.
But, what if you could use safety as a means of improving productivity? Check all about the future of industrial safety with the Smart Technology revolution.
What is Smart Safety?
Just like other smart technologies like Industry 4.0 and smart manufacturing, smart safety leverages the potentials of latest technologies like AI, automation, machine learning, big data, and others. Smart safety uses connected devices and real-time analytics to deliver seamless industrial safety.
Smart safety doesn’t just monitor your safety performance and efforts but also helps you enhance productivity and operations.
By introducing devices that monitor safety into your operations, you provide your employees with more insights that help them identify and resolve problems quicker, thereby enhancing overall productivity.
The Immense Benefits of Using Smart Safety Devices
Until now, organisations had no access to real-time data about safety. With smart devices like sensors, monitors, you can now access relevant real-time safety insights. This data provides you with valuable and accurate insights about key aspects of your operations. For instance, these devices can track where safety-related failures are likely to occur, monitor whether employees are following standard operating procedures and predict machine failure before it happens.
Ways in which you can Use Smart Safety Devices to Boost Production
The data and insights gathered by smart safety devices on the factory floor can be used in several ways to boost productivity. Here’s how:
- Uncover Issues in Productions and Operations
Think of data collected by your smart safety devices as a trail of breadcrumbs that help you uncover the problems in production and other plant operations. For instance, a production manager may spot that a guard door is being closed and opened frequently, thereby reducing production speed significantly.
When he notices this data via smart safety devices, he then discusses the reason for high usage levels of this particular door with concerned operators. He could find out that employees are opening and closing the guard door frequently, to adjust a malfunctioning device.
Thus, safety data collected via smart sensors help you get to the root of the problems affecting production and regular operations, thereby boosting productivity.
- Reduce Downtime Caused by Safety Problems
One of the biggest reasons for downtime is a discrepancy between safety policies and operating procedures. Today, it’s not possible for safety managers to keep an eye over all workers to find out whether they are misusing safety devices. With smart safety devices, safety managers could get all this info right at their fingertips.
For instance, a group of workers may be pressing the emergency stop button at the end of the cycle to bring a machine to a quick stop. According to the procedure, the emergency stop button should be used only for emergencies and not at other times. These e-stop buttons not only cause machines longer time to start-up but also impact the lifecycle of the machinery.
Smart safety devices will be able to monitor when and why particular safety devices are used, thereby helping prevent misuse of safety devices.
- Switch from Reactive Maintenance to Predictive Maintenance
As you begin to collect safety data from smart devices over time, you can easily track the performance of these devices over time. This will help you predict when a machine is nearing the end of its lifecycle or when it’s likely to fail.
This will help maintenance staff repair or replace the device before it fails. Thereby, reducing downtime significantly and improving productivity.
- Reduce Complex Wiring in your Factory Floor
Traditional safety devices require extensive wiring. This not only clutters up the workspace but also makes it challenging to identify and distinguish the data collected from several devices.
On the other hand, smart safety devices are generally wireless, thereby reducing the overall complexity of the system.
- Make Troubleshooting Simpler
Monitoring the condition of safety devices is one of the biggest challenges facing safety engineers. With smart safety devices, you can quickly view the status of each connected device from a single interface like a PC or mobile device. This way, when a safety issue arises, you can quickly identify the malfunctioning safety device, diagnose the problem and then repair or replace it.
Safety managers can also log the device problems and monitor patterns to maintain the safety devices in the future proactively.
Smart Safety Devices Can Also Improve Safety Levels and Performance
While there’s no doubt denying the fact that smart safety devices enhance productivity, they also help in improving the safety levels at your workplace. By connecting all your equipment and worksites, you ensure that your employees enjoy enhanced safety at work.
Smart safety devices provide better visibility into your operations, thereby helping employees make safe decisions when working with heavy machinery or hazardous materials.
Additionally, these connected safety devices act as an extra pair of eyes and keep a lookout for employees working in harsh environments. For instance, mine operators can wear GPS sensors that track and monitor their location in real-time. Safety managers back at the headquarters can continuously monitor mine operators heading into live mines. They can use voice and video to give instructions to miners and get them back to safety, in the case of an accident.
Additionally, greater connectivity provides employees with the capability to monitor machinery in isolated locations remotely. For instance, critical equipment at hard to reach locations like off-shore oil and gas wells, pump stations, and others can be monitored from remote locations. This reduces the need for employees to travel to these remote locations, thereby reducing worker injuries.
Transform Your Industrial Operations with Smart Safety
Smart safety in manufacturing and other industries is indeed a huge game changer. Several businesses have already jumped on the smart safety bandwagon by using connected sensors, IoT and data to boost production and enhance overall safety.
Smart safety devices offer a triple bottom line – increase in productivity, reduction in downtime and improvement in overall safety performance.