In 2019, 93,000 occupational accidents occurred where employees couldn’t work for at least four days. Three quarters involved a physical cause. Falling and slipping, getting hit by an object, cutting, bumping and entrapment are the main causes. A lot of accidents can be avoided and technology can be of great help.
Reducing human error
Human error is the main cause of most accidents. A machine that isn’t operated properly, objects lying around that you can trip over, water on the floor or machine (re)configuration errors. Such problems can be avoided by implementing and observing good protocols and digital work instructions. There are three ways to stimulate this.
1. Providing clear digital work instructions and inspections
We cannot emphasize it enough: safety begins with unambiguous, accessible and clear work instructions. Checklists allow employees to check if everything is in the right basic condition. To make sure the checklists are actually being used, it helps to have a digital tool like EZ-GO, which offers work instructions and checklists proactively and is easy to use. The tool contains photos and videos that make for great simplicity and unambiguousness. They clarify at a glance what needs to be done and what the situation should look like. Finally, a digital app allows you to record the fact that things have been checked, informing the next shift of the current status and what still needs to be done.
2. Analysing data and improve procedures
Even with a proper set of digital work instructions and checks, unsafe situations may arise. For example, when work instructions aren’t clear enough. Or because people are so accustomed to a situation that they no longer see the potential danger. More often than not, these things don’t become clear until you’ve collected data and considered it holistically.
A digital system makes it easy, since all checks are recorded. You can see whether a task is taking a relatively long time or that it is being skipped a lot, or that a relatively high number of minor incidents is being reported in certain parts of the process. These are all signals that may indicate a suboptimal process, or insufficient checks, which is why it is recommended to review the statistics regularly and explore where things can be improved, in deliberation with operational staff.
3. Fixing unsafe situations right away
When an operator notices an unsafe or unclear situation, it is important that they can report it. That is why an ‘Action’ can be created in EZ-GO. The easier it is to create an action, the more likely things are to be reported, and the less time there is to let an unsafe situation emerge. On the EZ-GO platform, the operator can indicate who should solve the problem and what level of urgency applies. It may be something very small, e.g. letting the next shift know that a certain part requires additional inspection. But it also involves effort to notify Engineering that the part no longer suffices and a structural solution is needed.
This gives those who operate closest to the process the autonomy to act swiftly, making the process safer for themselves and their colleagues.
In short, major and minor accidents can be largely avoided by standardising operations. Digital tools like the EZ-GO platform make it easy and user friendly and allow for unsafe situations to be avoided and solved quickly should they arise.
Want to have a chat about improving production safety at your company? Feel free to get in touch: https://ezfactory.nl/en/contact/.