With employee safety being the main concern for every manufacturer, technology that eliminates risk is becoming increasingly prevalent. Some of the devices common across many shop floors are palletizers, wearable technology, and analytics software. These technologies are extremely important now more than ever due to OSHA’s new employee incident report system that is going into effect this week. This new system requires all businesses to send every employee incident to OSHA and these reports will be made available online for the general public.
Robotic Palletizers are nothing new for the manufacturing industry, but thanks to the constant innovations brought by the IIOT, this technology has never been better. One example of this is the Yaskawa’s MPL line of palletizing robots. These automated tools are able to organize pallets in any manner the manufacturer sees fit with use of a simple program. Designs can be made, uploaded to a USB, then programmed into the robot all without having to halt production. This means that multiple products can be palletized by the same robot, making sure employees don’t suffer any unnecessary back injuries.
Another great piece of technology helping to keep employees safe are wearable patches. These patches are able to detect harmful gases in the area and can warn the user before they are in serious danger. Right now, one of the two gases they can detect is hydrogen, this common gas can lead to explosions and early knowledge of an issue can prevent catastrophic incidents. The second gas the patch can alert the wearer to is nitrogen oxide. This toxic gas is one of the leading causes of smog and making sure it does not build up where employees are working is imperative. More research is being done to further improve these useful patches, such as having them monitor UV levels to make sure radiation is at a safe quantity.
One last piece of technology many manufacturers should be using for employee safety is predictive analytics software. These programs can help in all aspects of a manufacturing business but most importantly, employee safety. This technology is able to monitor every machine on a factory floor and quickly find early indications of an unstable piece of equipment. These software programs can also help find defects in products, this means that they increase both consumer and employee safety. These programs also come with the added benefits of improving supply chain efficiency and finding ways to cut costs.
Employee safety is something manufacturer’s cannot ignore. With new technology designed specifically for this purpose, manufacturing is getting safer with every new innovation. Those working in manufacturing have less and less reason to worry about a career ending injury and are now able to focus more on their passion in the field. Hopefully with OSHA’s new injury report system these already amazing technologies can be made even better and help create new devices to make sure no one gets hurt on the job.