As manufacturing machines become larger and more automated and facilities become more productive and faster paced, the job of keeping workers safe has evolved as well. It’s no longer enough to rely on signage to remind employees that they must keep a safe distance from equipment or floor tape to steer foot traffic onto safe pathways. Even products like cones can be easily overlooked, creating a need for more tangible, more effective protection for workers.
Humans and machines have always interacted in manufacturing facilities, but the sheer speed with which they work together in a modern plant is relatively new. Gains in productivity require coordination on the plant floor, and that coordination includes increased protection for the people who collaborate with the machines.
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) points out what businesses utilizing forklifts can do to minimize the risks for workers on foot:
- Separate forklift traffic and other workers where possible.
- Limit some aisles to workers on foot only or forklifts only.
Machine guarding – the act of keeping non-authorized personnel away from potentially dangerous equipment – has also become an important part of the modern workplace. According to OSHA, “moving machine parts have the potential to cause severe workplace injuries, such as crushed fingers or hands, amputations, burns, or blindness. Safeguards are essential for protecting workers from these preventable injuries. Any machine part, function or process that may cause injury must be safeguarded.”
Not surprisingly, the interaction between humans and machinery has become an increasingly important topic for lawmakers, with more and more regulations specifying how to govern workflow and harsher and harsher penalties for not doing so rigorously enough.
Workers and equipment must share some spaces in a factory or industrial plant. At the same time, it is essential to keep these workers safe. Evolving regulations, complicated manufacturing processes, legacy workflow patterns and aging facilities all contribute to the complex nature of the required solutions.
Safety reminders that can be ignored or easily circumvented are no longer enough. In short, an industrial traffic flow solution must be effective, reliable and customizable. Anything lacking these characteristics puts your team at risk.
PS Safety Access™ has developed a complete system of traffic control products that are ideal for manufacturing and industrial facilities. The EdgeSafe® Safety Railing, for example, serves as the foundation for this suite of products. By utilizing a universal, omnidirectional bracket, this safety railing is flexible enough to address almost any application (unlike a typical straight or 90-degree railing) and adaptable enough to follow virtually any required angle. The EdgeSafe Safety Railing is easy to assemble and simple to install, working to control floor traffic, guard hazardous machines and even protect workers from elevated edges. It meets OSHA 1910.29, ANSI A1264.1-2017, and Canadian COHS SOR-86-304 Section 2.12 and 2.13. Learn more here: www.pssafetyaccess.com/product/edgesafe-safety-railing/
In turn, the floor-level EdgeSafe® Personnel Access Gate warns personnel about dangerous or off-limits areas. It swings bidirectionally (both ways) to allow pedestrians to enter or exit an access-restricted area. For example, it can be used to protect areas in which personnel and forklifts share the same traffic spaces. It has an incredibly long spring life (tested to 1 million cycles so far) and is adjustable from 21 to 48 inches. The EdgeSafe® Personnel Access Gate makes no noise when it closes, and because the free end does not contact the railing, the opening width is variable. Learn more about this product here: www.pssafetyaccess.com/edgesafe-personnel-access-gates/
Finally, the EdgeSafe® Smart Gate from PS Safety Access™ features flexible sizing to fit virtually any situation or application, including loading docks, fall protection/railing openings, mezzanines, machine guarding, equipment protection, ground-level traffic/pedestrian control, aisle violator, area perimeter protection, and pedestrian control where forklift traffic (or other machinery) is present. Designed with patent pending features, this gate lifts vertically 90 degrees using just one hand (without pinch points) giving access to the restricted/protected area. Read more about the EdgeSafe Smart Gate and watch it in action here: https://www.pssafetyaccess.com/product/edgesafe-smart-gate/
Interested learning more about how you can use PS Safety Access solutions to keep your team safe while maintaining your operation’s productivity? Our experienced staff can answer your questions and assist you in designing an effective system for traffic control and machine guarding in your facility. Contact us at 877-446-1519.
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Publication No. 2001-109 (Alert), (2001).