Connecting Equipment Adds New Layers of Machine Safeguarding

The right combination of equipment can provide additional machine safeguards, from basic switches to programmable controls and optimized software, products that work together can help protect workers and dramatically improve safety.

Connecting Equipment Adds New Layers of Machine Safeguarding

There are many examples of how the right combination of equipment can provide an additional layer of machine safeguarding for workers at any facility. From basic switches to programmable controls and optimized software, products that work together can help protect workers and dramatically improve safety.

Interlocking Switches and Controls for Work Cells and Safety Barriers

According to OSHA 29 CFR 1910.212(a)(3)(ii), it is essential to guard point-of-operation machines that can cause injury to human workers. Many facilities use barrier doors that limit secondary hazards from these operations, such as sparks and flying debris, as well as the primary risk of workers entering a dangerous work cell. This is an excellent choice to safeguard machines and protect workers.

However, choosing a barrier door that comes with safety-rated switches and controls adds another safeguard. For example, automated barrier doors, like the Defender™, come with non-contact interlock switches/controls capable of reaching a Category 4 rating per EN 954-1 and meet PLe specifications per EN ISO 13849-1 when integrated properly.

These added interlocks make an already great guarding option an even better one.

Smarter, Safer Sequences for Loading Dock Equipment

There are many essential and heavy pieces of equipment at the loading dock. Each piece of equipment serves a specific purpose – the door opens and closes, the vehicle restraint properly restrains the trailer, and the leveler provides a bridge from building to trailer.

Each product might have its own set of controls, whether it’s a manual operation or with a push-button. Regardless of how they are operated, mistakes can be made when these pieces of equipment are powered independently of each other. A door might be opened and a leveler might be placed without a vehicle restraint restraining the trailer to the building. This exposes forklift drivers to a variety of trailer separation accidents. A leveler might come down before a door is opened, causing equipment damage and possible employee injury. The combinations and possibilities of accidents and damage go on, but there are ways to make improvements.

When you tie all of these pieces of equipment together, you can help bring a higher level of safety into your facility. Dock controls, like the Dok-Commander® Combined Control Package, can interlock all equipment at the dock and be programmed with a safe sequence of operation. When enabled, the interlocked equipment can only be operated in the correct sequence, eliminating human operating error and reducing risk exponentially. You can literally safeguard your machines with the push of a button.

Go Beyond Connecting Data -- Collect Data with Software Solutions

Much like the examples above, products and systems that boost safety have existed for many years. Recently, Industrial Software Solutions have allowed products and safety systems to improve safety outcomes even more.

Using sensors and internet connectivity, products and systems can “talk” with one another. This communication delivers instant feedback about safety events, helping lead to a proactive vs. reactive approach to safety at your facility. It also provides valuable amounts of data that can provide safety managers with insights to enhance employee safety behaviors and training opportunities.

Imagine potentially hazardous intersections that use blue-light enhancing products like the Safe-T-Signal® capturing directional traffic data in-real time over the course of many days, weeks, or months. As an intersection warning device, the Safe-T-Signal is designed to alert forklift operators and workers on foot about traffic approaching from two, three or four-way directions at a blind intersection. Adding the capabilities of Software Solutions to this product can provide insights that could help reduce the likelihood of these potentially dangerous situations from happening in the future.

Information collected from the data sensors in the Safe-T-Signal can inform facility managers and safety managers about times of increased risk (i.e. multiple forklifts entering a blind intersection from different directions). Putting this information to work can lead to improved traffic flows, or even layout redesign, that can minimize the chances of multiple forklifts from entering a blind intersection at the same time.

Find the Right Safety Package to Guard Your Machines and Your People

Implementing safety equipment or logistics equipment that can improve safety is always a smart choice. Finding combinations of equipment that can work effectively together to enhance safety even further, is an even smarter choice. Products that work well together can help protect the workers in your facility. If you are a facility manager, Architect or General Contractor in the process of planning or designing a new facility, contact us to talk to your local Rite-Hite representative to see how you can select products that work together for optimal safety.

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