Benchmarking Health & Safety in Manufacturing
By: Michael Burgess
Benchmarking in Manufacturing Health and Safety is a planned process by which organisations can compare health and safety processes and performance with others to learn how to:
• Reduce accidents and ill-health
• Improve compliance and
• Cut costs.
Benchmarking is more about continuously learning from others and learning more about your organisations strengths and weakness in the process. Then of course you need to act on the lessons learned.
Benchmarking can help you meet your health and safety duties in a more effective and efficient way. You may have tried benchmarking in some other areas, but not in health and safety.
Industry 4.0 and the digitisation of manufacturing through robotics, co-bots, big data, and autonomous equipment will all have an impact on the management of occupational health and safety. Advancements in manufacturing systems including remote control processes like Cloud computing and internet of things, or sensors that increase machine autonomy, will no longer be subject to the standard conventional systems.
New technologies can be used to create a safe working environment by excluding humans from harmful work practices.
The future of work will get to a stage where you can pre-empt safety incidents and provide alerts before they occur. The use of smart sensors, wearables and smart phones provides a means to prevent and improve safety response in hazardous areas. This would allow for the safety manager to see what machine a worker is using, accessing whether they have the right training in the use of their safety equipment and if the equipment is up to date in terms of regulatory compliance, well maintained and fit for purpose.
It won’t happen overnight, but future trends indicate huge advantages to improved health and safety within the manufacturing environment as technology advances.
But often businesses feel isolated and it can be difficult to know how they are performing compared to others in their sectors, and therefore how they can determine if they are leading the way or dragging the chain and may be left behind.
The Manufacturers Network, the manufacturing arm of EMA, has developed a Manufacturing Health & Safety Benchmarking Service for manufacturers to compare performance across participating members.
The results are then used to help identify, adapt and adopt practices that will lead to future improvement. It is a simple and effective way to get a snapshot of how you’re doing in terms of Health & Safety and can be used by both SME’s and large manufacturers.
The Manufacturers Network is calling for expressions of interest in participating in the electronic Manufacturing Health & Safety Benchmarking Service. If you are interested please email Michael.Burgess@ema.co.nz While results are aggregated so you remain anonymous, they will be shared to help you benchmark your business.