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In a world where worker injuries are the leading cause of medical expenses, absenteeism, and turnover rates, promoting safety in the workplace is a priority for operations leaders. Luckily, industrial automation technology is a great tool for improving workplace safety. Here are five ways it can help keep your workers safe while boosting productivity and efficiency.
Reduces the Risk of Injuries
Injuries at work are one of the most significant issues facing manufacturing and logistics today. With the COVID-19 pandemic straining productivity, supply chains, and health and safety regulations, manufacturers want to automate their processes to improve efficiency and minimize risks. Automation can reduce the risk of work-related injuries by eliminating repetitive tasks resulting in musculoskeletal disorders, such as carpal tunnel syndrome, back pain, and rotator cuff tears. This can also help reduce employees’ time on sick leave due to injuries, boosting employee morale and leading to a higher return on investment (ROI).
The process is further enhanced by robotics, which can perform many of the same jobs as humans. These robots can perform more safely than humans can, thereby reducing the risk of workplace injuries.
Despite the benefits, some are still concerned about how automation impacts worker safety. The most notable is the potential for automated systems to alter human behavior in ways that cannot always be predicted.
The use of automation in factories has fueled productivity increases by freeing workers to perform more valuable tasks. However, the process also shifts compensation from workers to business owners. Industrial automation is a process that replaces human decision-making with robotics and computerized control systems to carry out the manufacturing process. Examples of this type of automation include machining tools, assembly lines, and conveyors. Automation can also reduce the risks of downtime and performance problems by monitoring plant data. This allows for the early detection of these problems and enables proactive maintenance that can mitigate them before they cause an interruption to production. In addition, industrial automation can help keep workers safe by removing dangerous tasks associated with repetitive motion and lifting objects. This frees workers to focus on more critical tasks and makes them healthier. Workers must have adequate training before they are allowed to operate industrial automation equipment. Multiple sessions may be necessary to ensure they can safely use all machinery in an automated factory.
Increases the Reliability of the Process
One of the biggest benefits of industrial automation is increased process reliability. Automated processes work according to standard operating procedures without introducing any variability. This ensures that the machines run smoothly and that the manufacturing process is consistent throughout the production cycle. Another benefit of industrial automation is that it improves the safety of workers in the workplace. This is especially true when employees work in spaces that pose a risk to their health, such as environments with extreme temperatures or toxic chemicals. By deploying robots that can handle hazardous situations, manufacturers are improving the safety of their workers. For example, advanced steel mill cranes are used to lift and move manufactured materials in and out of places where the temperature is too high, or the environment is too dangerous for humans to handle.
In addition to reducing the risk of injuries and accidents, industrial automation also improves product quality. Automated processes typically have error rates as low as 0.00001%, much lower than the average rate for manual processes.
Reduces the Risk of Damage
Industrial automation can take the risk out of certain processes that may be hazardous for employees. The robots used to automate these processes can handle the dangerous materials, electrical voltage, and high temperatures of these environments without exposing workers or operators to any risks. Safety in the manufacturing industry is often a concern because of the nature of the work. It is vital to ensure that the processes are safe for employees and that all precautions are taken to avoid accidents. Many industries rely on automation to improve their production processes, which can be a great way to keep workers safe. Besides, automation can also improve the quality of the work. This is because the machines can work at higher speeds and consistency. They can also do this without human intervention, reducing the chances of any mistakes occurring.
The risk of damage is reduced because the equipment can sense any potential dangers and shut down before it becomes a problem. Thermal sensors, for example, can monitor the factory’s temperature and alert operators of any spikes that can cause damage. While this can be a great way to reduce the risk of injury, it is still essential to understand the hazards that come along with automation technology. In addition, ensuring that your employees are properly trained to use the machines is essential. This is because there are laws in place that require this, and the procedures used for maintenance should be well understood to ensure the safety of everyone involved.