How To Use Technology And Innovation To Improve Manufacturing Safety

Industrial manufacturing plants can be dangerous workplaces, full of heavy machinery and other safety hazards. Despite the best efforts of safety leaders working to prevent them, accidental injuries and fatalities can happen. The question is, what more can be done to reduce the number of unsafe conditions in work areas?

Like any systemic problem, the first step is to analyze the current methods and look for ways to improve them. In the realm of workplace safety, this starts with how data is collected, stored, and analyzed.

Many manufacturing safety leaders still rely on paper checklists, electronic documents, and endless spreadsheets to record and store safety information. More often than not, this information is stuffed into a filing cabinet or sitting on a hard drive rather than being connected to establish a larger picture of the safety level of a workplace. To make real improvements, manufacturing safety leaders need to embrace new and innovative ways of collecting and analyzing data in order to identify the deeper trends and potential areas where changes can be effectively implemented to create a safer work environment.

Different Types of Safety Professionals

When it comes to manufacturing safety professionals, generally, there are a few different approaches. There are “box-checkers” who follow established OSHA protocols and do just enough to stay compliant. There are “safety cops” who work within the existing system to maintain strict compliance and strive never to make the same mistake twice. Then there are “continuous improvers,” who go above and beyond each day to ensure preventative measures are set, safety protocols are followed, and corrective actions are taken when there are opportunities to improve existing systems. What separates “continuous improvers” from other safety professionals is their willingness to constantly look for new ways to solve problems and refine conventions. And the best way to accomplish this is by embracing better tools.

Using Technology to Improve Safety

Mobile software, apps, and automation technologies are able to find, document, and fix on-the-job safety issues by efficiently collecting and organizing information, all from the palm of your hand. They can also make the data work for you by highlighting areas that need improvement and showing where and how to apply new safety trainings, procedures, and processes in the workplace. By investing in these technologies and leveraging the data collected by your mobile software when issues arise, you have the ability to educate workers and show them the proper actions that should be taken in a specific situation. This allows you to turn mistakes into learning experiences and ultimately protects against injury risks, environmental risks, fines, litigation, and federal audits.

Using mobile devices, you can completely centralize, manage, and automate your auditing and inspection processes, allowing you to store, access, and search data from all your locations in one place. Historical information, pictures, and documentation for everything from audits and inspections to checklists and walkthroughs are instantly at your fingertips. The data you collect every day can be analyzed to provide a deeper understanding of the problems occurring at ground level while keeping track of how your safety initiatives are working at your workplace. Over time, this real learning can generate productive conversation, spark innovation, and ultimately lead you down a path toward becoming a “continuous improver.”