Putting Safety Data to Work
A smarter approach to safety begins with using contemporary safety technologies that combine machinery control and safety control into one platform. These systems are less susceptible to nuisance shutdowns than hardwired safety systems, which can help you improve productivity and profitability.
But they also offer another key benefit: access to safety-system data. This data can include stoppage codes, error and fault codes, device statuses, event sequences, and more. By harvesting this data and converting it into meaningful information, you can transform how safety is monitored and managed in your operations.
Some key ways your safety-system data can help you include:
Monitor safeguard use, and misuse: Safety-device data can be used to identify and mitigate instances of misuse.
E-stops, for example, are intended for emergencies only but are often used for other purposes, such as to clear jams. This misuse can increase both scrap and downtime. And the fact that these misuse instances can’t be captured in most plants today only perpetuates the problem.
In a Connected Enterprise, an e-stop activation’s time stamp, downtime duration, and line and shift details all can be recorded. Stoppage reason codes can also log and indicate why a machine was stopped. Safety professionals can review this information and investigate the issue’s root cause, such as insufficient SOPs or improper machine design. Other safety devices yield equally relevant insight into system use and misuse.
Better understand safety risks: Risk-assessments findings are rarely reviewed after machine commissioning. In a Connected Enterprise however, risk-assessment data can be utilized in the form of a risk calculator.
The idea is simple: Safety professionals can enter anticipated use frequency of a particular safety function from the risk assessment. This data serves as the baseline for safety demand rates and performance. From there, they can compare the data against the machine’s actual use frequency data, indicating any variance from the design expectations
The result is an unprecedented ability to measure changes in demand and risk for each machine access point or safety function.
Enhance safety: Greater data and connectivity in a Connected Enterprise create many opportunities to enhance worker and environmental safety and improve productivity.
Remote monitoring of dispersed or hard-to-reach operations, for example, can reduce worker travel demands and exposure to hazards. Visibility into process states, environmental conditions and other factors can help prevent the release of hazardous materials into the environment.
There also are opportunities to transform operations to make them inherently safer. In oil and gas operations, for example, ethernet-connected subsea platforms reduce the need for manned off-shore platforms, which can be vulnerable to potentially catastrophic events. And autonomous technologies can reduce the number of workers needed to transport mined materials from pit to port.
As impressive as all of this sounds, it’s only scratching the surface. For more information on safety in a Connected Enterprise, including guidance on how to implement it, check out our white paper, “Reimagining Safety in The Connected Enterprise®.”