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5 Ways Industrial IoT Increases Safety in the Factory

Posted by Mike Smith on Aug 7, 2017 12:00:00 PM
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The market for industrial IoT (IIoT) solutions continues to grow almost as fast as IoT solutions overall. And that growth is driven by federal regulations. If you have customers in the area of facilities management, manufacturing, and industrial development, consider offering those clients IIoT solutions focused on worker safety.

These solutions will help them remain in compliance with Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations. If they run afoul of the safety protocols put in place by OSHA, they could be looking at hefty fines and in the worst case, even prison time.1

IIoT offers solutions that accelerate business growth and increase factory efficiency. Communicating these potential benefits will help overtake the main obstacle that factilities managers face in implementing a safe workplace – improving worker mentality toward a ‘safety climate’ and ‘safety behavior’.

Conveying the business outcome of IIoT empowers your customers to realize higher productivity and innovation in a safe factory. They’ll benefit from increased quality, brand, and profits from a well-made product.

Below are five ways to increase factory safety practices using IIoT solutions to avoid potentially unsafe conditions:

1. Acoustic Sampling

An acoustic sampling system uses analytics to predict the onset of failures in the manufacturing environment. The ‘sound’ of the factory can be analyzed and used to reveal extreme process conditions or mechanical stresses. For instance, if a part of a mechanical device fails, it makes a specific sound. The acoustic sampling system would then pick up on that sound and notify workers of the danger or shut down that piece of equipment.

2. Location Alerts

This safety application uses Bluetooth technology. Forklift drivers could receive a warning when colleagues walk into a distribution area. A process may stop or a warning issued when an unauthorized individual is inside the geo zone.

3. Gating Access to Equipment

Bluetooth Low-Energy Asset Tracking (BLE) tags built into employee/visitor badges provide waypoint information to safety location systems, alerting production floor personnel to visitors without proper access in dangerous operational areas.

4. Monitoring Employee Fatigue/Low-Attention Thresholds

A personal biometric sensor carried by each employee could recognize when the employee is fatigued or stressed, reminding them to take their designated breaks. In an extreme case, the employee, as well as their supervisor, could be alerted when the employee is encountering a medical issue or an abnormal environmental condition is occurring in the facility.

5. Workplace Condition Safety Alerts

Thermal cameras are used to identify ‘wet’ floors throughout the factory, alerting local workers and maintenance staff to an unsafe ‘slip’ condition. The thermal camera can recognize changes in the surface’s reflection. 

Improving Safety on the Production Floor

The above suggestions help eliminate threats to safety in manufacturing environments. Worker deaths were at 4,836 in 2015, and while the factory worker must maintain a proper mentality toward being safe and enforcing safety, technology can play a significant role in creating a “mistake proof” work environment.2 The bottom line is: Automation can help make worker safety more manageable.

Work with Tech Data to develop an IIoT solution for your customers in the industrial sector. We aggregate the partners, vendors, and subject matter experts you need to create the most effective IoT solutions. For more information or schedule a consultation, contact the team at iot@techdata.com and visit iot.techdata.com.

Sources:

1 https://oshadefensereport.com/2016/01/22/osha-criminal-cases-on-the-rise/

2 https://www.bls.gov/news.release/cfoi.nr0.htm

Tags: IoT, safety, factories

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