How Technology Has Improved Health and Safety in Manufacturing

How Technology Has Improved Health and Safety in Manufacturing
By The Manufacturer

The health and safety of workers is a major topic that comes up in discussions about industries like manufacturing, where heavy machinery is a part of many processes. More details are provided by Johann Cillers, Group Marketing Director at Welding Alloys.

This becomes abundantly clear when you examine the statistics that the government of the United Kingdom has made available regarding the total number of fatal accidents that took place in each and every industry. Between the years 2021 and 2022, there were a total of 123 fatalities and 22 injuries in the manufacturing industry.

According to government statistics, the manufacturing industry employs approximately 2.5 million people. More than 3,100 major accidents have been reported annually over the past five years, while 4,100 minor accidents have been reported. Additionally, these accidents require workers to be away from the workplace for more than seven days, which results in supply chain delays.

Not only has technology changed how we live on a personal level, but it has also changed how we work. We will examine how it has improved the industry’s approach to health and safety in this article. We’ll also think about how this might develop in the future.

Virtual and augmented reality visualization of concern areas Identifying risks and areas of caution before entering a workplace can significantly reduce the number of accidents that occur. Using emerging visual technologies like virtual and augmented reality (VR and AR, respectively), technology can assist with identification.

Consumers are using VR headsets a lot more, and in the UK, market revenue increased by £701.8 million year over year. Workers in the manufacturing sector can use the headsets and software for training purposes to familiarize themselves with machinery and the risks it poses.

This can help cut down on the number of accidents that happen. Ford, for example, reduced its injury rate by 70% by using this technology for training. This could increase the safety of crucial procedures like hard facing welding.

Using AI and robots to automate processes Some processes are naturally more dangerous than others. The best way to reduce the risk of accidents and injuries is to eliminate the human element and refocus on how to better carry out these tasks. Then there’s robotics and automation.

Artificial intelligence (AI), which can be programmed by engineers or purpose-built robots that operate these dangerous practices themselves, has helped certain machines run without human interaction. According to the results of a survey that was carried out by Guidance Automation, 73% of manufacturing companies believe that automation is one of the most important factors that will help the industry advance. This goes beyond health and safety to the overall streamlining of procedures to increase efficiency.

Wearables, communication, and drones are examples of on-site technology. Unlike walkie-talkies, which required a specific channel to tune into, communication technology for onsite and warehouse work has helped to improve communication among industry businesses. It is possible to identify areas of concern using robust mobile devices quickly and effectively that can send text-based messages and take pictures.

Health and safety reporting has also improved and decreased as a result of wearable technology. Workers’ long-term health and the prevention of accidents could both benefit greatly from technology that can detect threats in the air, such as hazardous gas. According to a report from the Institute of Occupational Medicine, they could complement conventional protective gear like hard hats and strong gloves.

Remote sensors that offer constant wear information can be introduced close by wear arrangements. The following was stated by Rodrigo Varas Vega, the managing director of KW Technologies SA, a division of Welding Alloys: The likelihood of operators injuring themselves is significantly reduced when wear sensors are utilized to precisely monitor the rate of wear in areas that are difficult to observe. This is consistent with the remote-control technology that is currently utilized in mining operations and other industrial settings.

Drones are another new technology that can help not only identify risks but also conduct additional research into them. In 2023, the market for commercially available drones is expected to grow by 9.1 percent. This would be especially helpful in manufacturing because, in the event of an accident, it would be safer to examine it from a distance using a drone’s onboard camera.

Not only will putting this technology into use help reduce the number of accidents that happen, but it will also help prevent injuries that could lead to death. When it comes to how injuries could hurt your business, the efficiency of your workforce is always a factor to consider, but putting the lives of your employees in danger is an important consideration.