Emmie Sahlan

How Automation Makes the Workplace Safer

A competitive advantage in today’s manufacturing world, automation is responsible for the accurate mass production of goods at high speeds. According to the Boston Consulting Group, industrial automation will increase by 10 percent in the next decade in the world’s 25 biggest export nations.

In contrast, the Bureau of Labor Statistics revealed disturbing facts about workplace injuries among workers in the private sector. According to the Bureau, there were approximately 2.9 million injuries among private industry employees in 2015. Deemed to be among the most dangerous, the manufacturing industry accounts for approximately 700,000, or 25 percent, of all private sector occupational injury cases. This translates to huge financial losses due to loss of trained manpower and workers compensation claims.

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Automation Benefits

The above statistics should be a wake-up call for industries to consider ways they can make employee safety significant in the workplace. One of the solutions is to introduce automation. By automating manual repetitive tasks, workers can be reassigned to safer areas where they can exercise imagination, adaptability and decision-making skills. As noted by the World Economic Forum, robots are perfect for physically demanding or dangerous tasks for humans to carry out and, economically, they can work around the clock at a lower cost than human workers.

Technology Undercuts Risky Tasks

Robotic industrial truck or lifting devices such as automated guided vehicles take the strain off human workers through manual lifting, bending and searching, Modern Materials Handling explained. They can be programmed to navigate around the warehouse to select and deliver products quickly and accurately. As a result, manufacturing companies can improve workflow procedure while reducing costs.

Today, manufacturing industries benefit from robotic welding, which consists of safety features that keep humans protected from the sparks, fumes and noise of the welding torch. An article from ABB described how Swedish dairy factory Arla Foods introduced an automated solution that eliminates repetitive strain injuries among its cheese packers. Workers are tasked to monitor the robots instead of manually packing cheeses.

Prioritize Safety in the Workplace While Cutting Costs

Take heed that robots don’t eradicate the need for effective safety control measures and the design of ergonomically-friendly work tasks. However, installing automation technologies in manufacturing industries unquestionably eliminates costly workplace injuries.

As companies continue to depend on robots to remain competitive, employees will benefit from being deployed to safer, non-physically demanding roles that can be morale boosters in the workplace. Most importantly, robotic machines are likely to collaborate with humans rather than replace them. The most probable result of such collaboration is more fulfilled employees who can focus on more challenging but safer roles.

In a nutshell, improved worker safety means company savings through reduced absenteeism due to workplace injury and insurance claims. Employers will mutually benefit from the efficiency and precision that automation brings in the form of returning customers.

Emmie Sahlan has a graduate degree in English and has been writing professionally for the past five years. Her niche areas are insurance, credit cards, personal finance and education.