In the distant past, factories used to be incredibly dangerous places to work. Accidents were commonplace and serious injuries like amputations, traumatic brain injuries, and others could sneak up on unsuspecting workers at any time.
Thankfully, today’s factories are much, much safer. Like other industry professionals, manufacturing experts have the right to a safe work environment, and their employers must do everything they can to provide one. This article will offer some insight into essential steps that can be taken to ensure Machine Safety in manufacturing facilities.
Keeping Workers Away from Automated Processes
The most effective way to prevent workplace injuries due to automated machinery operation is to preclude workers from those areas when the equipment is in use. Automated machine safety doors are a perfect tool for guarding machines in automated work cells. Use this type of physical barrier to prevent access to areas where potentially dangerous tasks such as robotic welding, processing, or transport is underway.
Isolating Pinch Points
Though many modern manufacturing processes have been automated, there are still plenty of machines and equipment that require human operators. If they have potential pinch points, as with scissor lifts and tilt tables, it can pose an unnecessary danger to operators. Enclosing the relevant moving parts using heavy-duty bellows and accordion-type skirting can help to deter operators from reaching into hazardous areas. Plus, this approach comes with the added benefit of protecting the machinery from dust and debris, as well.
Containing Airborne Contaminants
Dust is the most common airborne contaminant in manufacturing environments, particularly in large CNC machining centers. Protecting workers from respiratory injuries requires a special effort to minimize the impact of dust without limiting access to essential workspaces. Machine roof covers pose a suitable solution.
In some manufacturing facilities, chemical tanks may also pose a hazard to workers’ respiratory health. Holding tanks need to be completely enclosed to prevent the escape of dangerous fumes. When choosing a solution for chemical containment, be sure the equipment used to enclose the tanks is made to withstand corrosive fumes.
Many of today’s larger machine tools are installed partially below grade. This creates a large pit around the machine that can pose a safety hazard to workers. Pit grates and slats can prevent falls, but they must be removed to service machines, and workers aren’t always compliant when it comes time to put them back. Replacing standard pit covers with roll-up alternatives increases compliance and reduces risk.
Installing Slip Clutches
Working with automated machines poses a new kind of risk to workers and machinery, alike. Installing slip clutches that prevent injuries to workers and damage to machinery when an operation must be stopped or there is an obstruction in the way adds an extra level of mechanical safety.
Providing Workplace Training
All of the safety equipment in the world won’t necessarily help if workers aren’t trained on how to use it properly or don’t follow established procedures and protocols. Offer ongoing, mandatory workplace safety training courses and place signs around the factory floor that remind workers of how important it is to follow safety standards when using industrial machinery.
Look for Quality Products
There’s little sense in installing industrial protection equipment unless it’s made from high-quality, durable materials and operates as intended. A factory’s workers are its greatest asset, so don’t cut corners when it comes to protecting their health and safety.