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Safety at work – getting the message over effectively

03 July 2017

Let’s be honest, in recent years there has been a tendency in many aspects of our lives to over-complicate the message we are trying to get over.

Werma’s andon light systems can be enhanced with a simple low cost wireless monitoring package called WIN

In many cases there is an attitude that it is enough to have “notified” or “told” someone of a potential hazard, or instruction and that has completed that task and ticked that box!

Good business for the sign manufacturers but we certainly haven’t made the messages easy and clear to the target audience.

Visual and audible signals in the workplace

The objective for the operation is to ensure that the working environment is safe and secure for staff and this can be achieved through appropriate training and the considered deployment of visual and audible warning systems. Have too many warnings over time and their effectiveness will decrease as people simply ignore them, or worse still, consider them an annoyance and intrusion.

Signal manufacturers such as Werma have one of the largest ranges of optical and audible signal devices available and are frequently called upon to offer advice upon the most appropriate type of signal which could be deployed.

Strangely enough, there is a lack of legislative guidelines for what sort of safety signals need to be deployed, when and how, so much of the discussion comes down to applying a common sense approach to deciding:

• What are you trying to warn, or draw attention to?

• What other warnings device might you have which might conflict with this message 

Making the shop floor safer with andon light systems

In the view of a machine shop, signal towers on each machine serve as a simple but effective visual notification of the status of the machine – is it in operation or not, does it require intervention to make it productive again?

Nowadays optical and audible signals form part of our everyday life, both at work where they may warn that a machine is about to start operation or at the automatic check out your inability to swipe an article prompts a signal light to illuminate and a supervisor will hopefully come over and solve the problem.

Diverse applications should be addressed

Of course there are countless other application areas where signalling is required to either protect the individual or create a safe working environment – traffic control on site, entry access points, presence of and exposure to potentially harmful substances and last but not least the stringent rules governing the wearing of PPE (personal protection) garments and hats required in all food preparation areas.

The automation of “safety” messages

Many “safety issues” can be transmitted automatically by intelligent processes to the necessary areas to ensure the “safe” and efficient execution of processes. With the guidance of Industry 4.0 principals and “Lean Manufacturing” techniques, companies are encouraged to use digital technology to automate effective transmission and publication of data and messages to avoid the potential errors that an inconsistent human intervention can result in.

Companies such as Werma are using the application of intelligent software in its traditional core signal light products to deliver status information, safety and warning instructions and thus create a smarter factory environment less dependent on armies of supervisors walking the walk and talking the talk.

New intelligent systems such as the SmartMONITOR wireless machine monitoring and call for actions systems developed by Werma not only issue automatic warnings in case of hazardous operating conditions but also collect relevant data from the machine or workstation to enable counter measures to be considered to enable durable safe and efficient operations.

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