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How technology is creating safety for workers in manufacturing

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(© jeson – stock.adobe.com)

There are many manufacturing facilities in Virginia. It’s worth noting that most of them take a strong approach to ensure OSHA compliance is upheld and that they provide a safe work environment. Safety has come a long way over the years, and much of it thanks to emerging technology. The manufacturing industry is known for its abuses, but with technology, it helps keep companies accountable, while also giving workers a safer place to work. Here are some of the ways that technology is keeping workers safe.

Data security

Your personal information is stored when you get hired by a company. Businesses with poor data security processes put themselves and their employees at risk. Technology empowers businesses with the tools they need to protect not only their data, but their employees’ as well. Data security is critical when it comes to running a business. And in manufacturing, the right data security programs and protocols protects workers from theft.

Robotics

Manufacturing plants have changed tremendously over the years. Employees are at risk of injury due to a lot of heavy lifting. But technology alleviates much of this. The use of robotic arms in manufacturing is nothing new, but advances have brought manufacturing plants even further into the future. A Sarcos powered exoskeleton, for example, has many uses in manufacturing. It helps protect the health and safety of workers. It allows them to lift more without injury. These robotic suits do a lot to promote a safe work environment in manufacturing.

Specialized protective gear

Manufacturing plants expose workers to many dangerous and harsh conditions. Protective gear that’s customized to each worker helps reduce injuries and accidents in manufacturing. Anything from specialized gloves, to fitted headgear, to high tech goggles can help. Technology makes it possible to create materials that provide greater levels of protection from heat, cold, and chemicals used in manufacturing.

Cooling vests

Workers who are in hot conditions are more prone to dehydration, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke. Cooling vests are revolutionary technology that help workers stay cool while still enabling them to do their work. These vests use a form of refrigeration technology to help cool body temperatures for people who work in hot environments. Whether the manufacturing plant lacks proper cooling, or employees work around heated materials, these vests can literally save a life.

Heating vests

On the other side of the coin are heated vests. Some manufacturing plants have cold storage and people work in freezing temperatures. These heated vests use modern technology to regulate temperatures to warm people up. This protects workers from frostbite and other cold related injuries. With the right kind of jackets, hats, and boots that also leverage warming technology, employees can stay safe and warm even when they must work in cold storage facilities.

Sensors

Sensors can monitor temperature, air quality, and the presence of harmful chemicals. This technology has been used in Hazmat situations and in manufacturing to ensure the work area is safe for people. By leveraging sensors, manufacturing facilities have been able to reduce accidents involving harmful chemicals and air quality. They also ensure that equipment is working effectively and isn’t putting staff at risk of injury or wrongful death.

Data analysis for machinery

Machinery that’s connected to computers is being constantly monitored. They are looking for weaknesses and vulnerabilities that can lead to unsafe working conditions. In manufacturing, it’s essential that everything works the way it’s supposed to. When equipment gets out of alignment, it can lead to injuries. By leveraging data analysis, management can oversee the equipment without needing to do constant visual inspections. It improves accuracy and allows them to focus on making the right repairs.

Inventory management software

Software systems that help manufacturing companies manage their supplies can also improve workplace safety. By managing supplies effectively, they reduce the risk of oversupply. Oversupply means that extra materials are often stored in less desirable ways. When there isn’t proper storage for materials it increases the hazards in the workplace. At manufacturing facilities, it’s critical to manage the inventory of supplies appropriately. You do not want to store too many things in one location especially if it could cause materials to leak or fall down. Good inventory management technology helps owners oversee these critical supplies.

Story by Anne Davis