By Steve Ludwig, commercial program manager, Safety, Rockwell Automation
No matter what the industry or process, manufacturers face the same challenges: fewer available workers, globalization, innovation, safety and security concerns and best use of information.
We’ve compiled a list of 10 tips to help you meet these challenges and see immediate improvements in safety and productivity.
1. Improve Your Safety Maturity
We see safety maturity as a combination of culture (behavior), compliance (policies and procedures) and use of capital (technologies). Repeated studies show the top 20% of manufacturers achieve 5–7% higher overall equipment effectiveness (OEE), 2–4% less unscheduled downtime and less than half the injury rate of average performers — and the top performers are extending their lead.
These best-in-class performers view safety as a key element in the pursuit of operational excellence. And they use contemporary safety methodologies to help achieve it. For example, an LNS Research survey found 75% of industrial companies said they have seen operational improvements resulting from the use of advanced safety technology.
So how do you join their ranks? Begin by assessing your own safety maturity and see how you compare to others. Understanding your performance level and pinpointing areas for improvement are critical to optimizing safety. Read more about safety maturity and how to measure your performance.
2. Address Safety and Security Together
As industrial operations become more connected, organizations should review security risks in relation to safety risks. We all know security helps protect our intellectual property, operations and brand. Unfortunately, the inherent safety implications of security risks too often are overlooked.
By integrating safety and security programs and following key steps, you can assess, manage and mitigate the safety implications of security risks. Read more about the relationship between safety and security (PDF).
3. Improve Collaboration
Environmental Health & Safety (EHS) is most directly responsible for worker safety but only directly controls the least-effective machinery-safety methods. Engineering focuses on technical standards has control of the most-effective machinery-safety methods. Often, these two departments view each other suspiciously, resulting in reduced safety and productivity.
A key element of safety maturity, mentioned above, is collaboration between the two — and with operations. In fact, a recent LNS Research study found that organizations in which these three functions collaborate experience a 15% lower median incident rate. Read more about safety maturity and how these departments should function.