Is ensuring Shop Floor Safety easy?
One of the key challenges in managing the safety of the shop floor is that its environment is very dynamic; material movement, machines, robots, forklifts, material handling, handling of hazardous material and workers sharing the space with machines. Further, any modification in production volume, layout or manpower changes the focus to more tangible targets like productivity and quality, while safety is assumed to be taken care of, in reality, it is not!
Even a single mistake can lead to an accident or provide threat to safety.
There are various comprehensive safety guidelines available but it is difficult to convert the theoretical concepts to a practical solution executable in such a dynamic environment of the shop floor. One such example is the Japanese safety principle of KYT (Kiken Yochi Training). This comprises observing each and every aspect of the shop floor in real time, like movement of workers, their hand position & angle of bend, rack stability (Height to Breadth Ratio), crossing of man and material on the shop floor etc. Ironically, it often happens that all these factors are inspected post a safety incident. While KYT tries to understand the prevailing conditions of the shop floor by making these observations and finding out hidden hazards based on risks associated with each activity, it provides useful insights on how to reduce these risks before they lead to an accident. Practically, it is very difficult to make such tedious observations and conclusions manually. (I have tried to do this with pen and paper and concluded that full justice to the work cannot be done manually). This is where advanced technologies available from Industry 4.0 can provide the means to do such kind of analysis and convert theoretical concepts into technology solutions.
Industry 4.0 & Shop Floor Safety
Industry 4.0 provides the opportunity to convert the ideal conditions mentioned in safety manuals to executable realities on the shop floor by leveraging three innovative technologies IIoT (Industrial Internet of Things), ML (Machine Learning) and Big Data & Advanced Analytics.
Combining these technologies, there can be a systematic tool to observe and collect the various shop floor data and then make a continuous, meaningful conclusion to enhance safety.