Automation is nothing new. Many factories and job sites have been taking advantage of machines in the workplace since the industrial revolution. Over the years new technologies and developments have introduced intelligent robots that work alongside human workers to boost productivity, improve safety and change the dynamics of the workforce.
Today, with the reality that the COVID-19 pandemic has created, more and more manufacturing facilities and factories are looking for ways to get work done even with social distancing in play. As this happens, we’ll see an increase in the use of robots in the workplace.
Just as robots bring many benefits, there is also a slew of new precautions and procedures that should be in place to ensure safety remains the priority. Here are some safety tips for job sites using automation.
Understand Potential Risks
Anytime there is a mix of human workers and automated machines working a designated job there is potential for an injury. To help eliminate the possibility it is critical to understand loopholes and areas that are dangerous. By understanding the risks you can better plan each employee’s workday around safe handling and functions while avoiding risks.
Define All Worker Roles
Keeping organization and order in place is especially critical in mixed work environments where humans and robots must share the shop floor and work together to complete tasks. Heavy, autonomous machinery must know the areas it can work in and when to shut down to protect the humans navigating around them. Likewise, for employees, they should know their role in working to operate a robotic system or work alongside a robot so there is no question or margin for errors and injuries.
Update Policies Regularly
While automation and robots are necessarily new in the workplace, the latest technological capabilities and the fact that our society is changing due to current events make it critical for workplace leaders to maintain regularly updated policies and procedures that keep safety top of mind.
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