Safe working conditions are the foundation of operational excellence. Without assurance of personal safety and security in the workplace, employees can’t focus on day-to-day tasks — or on improvement activities to boost productivity. Rockwell Automation has long believed that best-in-class safety is achieved by:
- Developing a culture of safety, in which safety is a core company value and the entire workforce — leadership, management, frontline staff — are accountable for it
- Implementing effective compliance policies, procedures, and processes to identify and mitigate risks, ensuring the safe operation of equipment
- Investing capital into technologies that integrate safety and standard control systems to improve safety and productivity
Adoption of Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) technologies can help to significantly enhance monitoring of organizational safety practices, offering real-time data regarding employee behaviors, machinery performance, causes of safety shutdowns or stoppages, and safety anomalies and trends.
Environmental, health, and safety (EHS) experts can leverage these insights to rapidly identify variances between safety policies and implementation, allowing them to schedule more training as required EHS staff are also notified of impending problems by real-time alerts sent from safety devices, such as light curtains, safety mats, door guards, and lockout/tagout mechanisms.
It’s no surprise that manufacturers are racing to leverage these IIoT capabilities to create a safe, Connected Enterprise.
In fact, 39 percent of manufacturers have already embedded smart devices and/or embedded intelligence into their operations to improve safety.
This embedded IIoT intelligence offers unprecedented visibility into plant processes, and encourages managers and employees to perform tasks in standardized, safe ways because variances will immediately be detected, analyzed, and remediated.
This means that a safety-first approach can also drive improvement activities, as workers seek to optimize processes rather than continue with unsafe workarounds.
For example, adherence to strict safety reporting requirements — instead of bypassing safety systems to make up for equipment downtime — focuses attention on the root cause of equipment failures, instead of firefighting and temporary fixes.
Safety starts with a commitment from leaders to a safety-first culture, along with training and policies to eliminate unsafe practices.
But transformation into a safe and productive Connected Enterprise requires application of state-of-the-art technologies that combine machinery and safety controls into a single platform — one that increases safety visibility, pinpoints risks, improves compliance, and enhances worker security while boosting profitability.