Data analytics in manufacturing facilities has provided safety managers with in-depth knowledge on worker
performance, efficiency, and even maintenance and operations. As manufacturers aim for operational excellence, data analytics is also helping to improve overall safety within facilities and plants. By gaining insight into safety-related issues, safety managers can proactively mitigate workplace risk and injuries.
Manufacturers are often wary of digital transformation within their facilities. However, by utilizing technologies that meets specific needs, they can benefit from bolstered productivity and decreased injuries. Using new mobile and IIoT solutions, manufacturers can ensure that data is being tracked in real-time for greater accuracy and improved business intelligence. It also allows them to address any concerns immediately and prevent reccurrences. As manufacturers continue to adopt new solutions to provide more robust reporting and analytics measures, there are several specific tools they should consider.
Enterprise mobility enables manufacturers to be more strategic and opportunistic. Mobile-first solutions like tablets and smartphones allow every worker to be connected on a single system to drive business processes and safety. Mobile solutions can also work online and offline, which becomes crucial in manufacturing facilities where Wi-Fi may not always be available. If there is a safety-related issue, it can be reported immediately, with a call-to-action sent directly to the relevant teams to institute corrective actions.
Becoming mobile-first also enables employees to track operations remotely. For example, an employee delivering services can accurately report on the location of products and time of delivery. If there is an ergonomic injury, such as a strained back that occurred while moving heavy products, an employee can easily update a corrective action to be taken to wear a back-support belt while moving this product. This alert ensures that the next employee on a delivery is utilizing the right personal protective equipment (PPE).
In manufacturing organizations, wearable devices provide a wealth of information on employee safety and well-being. By utilizing these devices, organizations can improve preventive health and ensure employees are taking the right precautions on the plant floor. For example, if a plant has a high-pressure area or one with dangerous chemicals where a hazmat suit may be needed, safety managers can ensure employees are wearing the right PPE based on their body temperatures recorded by wearable devices.
Wearable devices can also inform safety managers if a worker has an incident on the job. For example, a wearable device can report on whether a worker has been horizontal for a long period of time. This may indicate that they are seriously injured and need immediate medical attention. Data from wearable devices can also integrate with back-end systems to streamline compensation benefits and enable the employer to easily spot employee injury trends and take corrective actions to prevent incidents.
By having a holistic view of equipment status via sensors, safety managers can mitigate those worker risks that are due to equipment blips or failures. Maintenance teams can be alerted of any issues and handle them in a timely manner so there is no time loss during production at the plant.
When manufacturing facilities invest in mobile, wearable and sensor solutions, they make strides toward ensuring continuous worker safety on the job. These solutions easily integrate with Software-as-a-Service platforms that provide stakeholders with key business insights into the performance of the facility. With the right next-generation solutions, manufacturers can build zero-incident workplaces and gain operational excellence.
Eugene Kouroptev is vice president of product development at ProcessMAP.