Manufacturing is an industry plagued with the highest number of deaths due to major accidents and serious injuries. Data shows that 5,190 American workers were killed on the job in 2016 (3.6 per 100,000 full-time equivalent workers) — on average, more than 99 a week or more than 14 deaths every day. This worrying trend has seen little in terms of being combated, but wearables in the workplace could be the answer.
Occupational health and safety is important within the workplace, especially in an industry which requires its employees to handle heavy machinery and hazardous materials, often surrounded by a risk prone environment. However, the communication of data within the factory floor has become scarce, since the volume of data being aggregation and the information being analyzed and responded to safely by those on the factory floor doesn’t always run effectively.
However, the future of manufacturing isn’t bleak, the industry can work towards better alternatives, one of them being the use of wearables. The real time collaboration and management tools enabled by wearable technology allows the aggregation and distribution of data much more effectively by employees. Machine learning and algorithms help employees stay connected and highly alert, which is crucial in the manufacturing environment.
Wearables in general have proved to be more than novelty items, by helping a wide variety of businesses across the spectrum in operation. Improved safety should be a priority for those who work in the manufacturing field, and the embracing of a technological infrastructure to drive better outcomes in fatal situations should take place. Manufacturing wearables will pave the way forward for the future of manufacturing jobs and even better the scope for a more efficient work environment.
Here are 4 ways in which manufacturing wearables can help the industry improve on health and safety measures:
- Following Procedure
Studies show that accidents that take place around manufacturing jobs usually happen when those on the factory floor fail to follow procedures or are not made aware of their environment. Wearable technology can run alongside training, giving employees precise and timely direction so they follow accurate protocol. This will be the most helpful in giving real time information and directions to the employees, reducing the risk of injury and fatalities.
- Employee Health
Employees, especially those working in the manufacturing sector are given long hours of work. This is coupled with the fact that their working conditions create an environment where heat and exhaustion can lead to serious injuries. Wearables can be programmed to monitor an employee’s biometrics such as heart rate and body temperature, alerting the employee and those in authority that someone is leading to bad condition.This will help in maintain a good balance for employees, reminding them to take regular breaks and look out for their general health.
- Operating Machinery
Operating big and heavy machinery is usually apart for the job for many of those who work for manufacturing. These are extremely hazardous if they are used in the wrong way or if an employee is at the wrong place at the wrong time, using machinery which should either be on/off. Wearables can feed real time messages directly to employees and those around them about any machinery and when it will be in use.
There is no doubt that manufacturing and working around dangerous items will lead to many emergency scenarios. Preparing to take fast and necessary action should be a priority for an employer, since it can be a life or death situation for many of their employees. Wearables provide the answer for instant communication around a factory, even allowing multimedia such as photos to be taken, if needed for incident management or to be alerted to leaks and potential risks. Most importantly, wearables can track where each individual employee is within the building, allowing an evacuation to take place more swiftly and rescue efforts to be carried out with more precision.