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Trends in ... plant safety

November 1, 2011

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Stay vigilant

By Tracy Haas, editorial assistant

Plant safety encompasses a broad range of concerns. Every facility is unique, but the need for safety is the same. Is machinery being operated properly? Do employees have the right personal protective equipment? Are workers able to communicate effectively?

Tom Campbell, global portfolio manager focused on safety and regulatory compliance solutions for Milwaukee-based Brady, touts the use of inspection management software for plant safety compliance. “It’s an easy way to schedule, track and document inspection and maintenance activities, and it helps companies manage their plant inspections more efficiently and accurately,” Campbell said. “Some software programs offer user-defined tools, which provide the customer the ability to formulate the application around their ?business rules.” He continued, “This software offers seamless integration into cutting-edge smartphone technology and SaaS devices, which helps save time and resources by reducing the need for IT involvement.” 

Technology also is helping make communication easier. Joe Manone, vice president of Milwaukee-based Rite-Hite Corp., said that “clear communication to forklift operators and personnel is crucial to safety in the plant.” To help with that, Manone said, “using a full-time communication system with restraints eliminates the potential hazards of entering or exiting a trailer when it is not properly secured to the dock.”

Jim Redmile, marketing and social media specialist at Brooksville, FL-based Accuform Signs, focused on the human element of plant safety. “If we don’t check ourselves, our workplace or our co-workers, then, over time, we can run the risk of becoming complacent, taking chances, taking shortcuts and not following the procedures,” Redmile said. “The danger of boredom setting in can result in unsafe work practices or work becoming lazy or sloppy.”

Technology can only go so far. The bottom line remains that for a plant to operate safely, everyone must be on board. Redmile reminds workers to think about their families, who need them to come home safely, and consider co-workers who may be “counting on you today to be their hero.”

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