(photo: Mika Baumeister)
18.01.2021, 10:25

Tips For Risk Managers Assessing Automation Hazards

Health, Safety & Environment, Commercial & Manufacturing Facilities, Industrial, Automation & Robotics, Life Safety

Despite allowing manufacturers to replace people with robots in high risk and hazardous processes, automation can create new and often unforeseeable work risks which need to be managed.


Manufacturers must ensure their risk managers administer a thorough risk analysis before adding more robots and machines onsite. They should fully reap the advantages of automation technologies while ensuring that their employees are protected.


Below are some tips that a risk manager should follow when assessing automation hazards. These tips will go a long way in helping you improve your company’s risk mitigation measures.

Use Workers Experience

While automation aims at improving productivity, it lacks the human touch. Workers who have been in the department where automation is focused, have the expertise and knowledge to give better insight into risk and risk management. From their experience, they can pinpoint areas needing reform and advise on how to prevent accidents. As a risk manager, engaging them will give you a more informed basis when you implement risk analysis and management.


Make Risk Management a Necessity

Since automation requires fewer workers, most managers will undervalue the importance of risk management. It could be dangerous since there are risks associated with each step of automation. As a risk manager, analyse inherent risks before management makes any decision. Be involved during implementation, employee training, and when automation is functional to assess safety and monitor injuries. Make sure to use a risk management software that will make monitoring easier.


Remember Automation Doesn't Address Everything

The complex robots and machines used in automation do not solve and do everything. In one way or another, human contact is needed. The machines tend to work faster, requiring employee attentiveness in the continuous repetitive processes. It can turn out to be a tedious process, sure to be a catalyst for accidents. Properly lit and ventilated workstations, breaks, and engagement with workers will help you mitigate risks.


Analyse Employee Demographics

Automation requires up to date informed and trained employees. While it is easier to train the younger workforce, older employees need more attention to improve their productivity. Utilising a risk management software gives you a deeper understanding of your employee demographic. It will help you know how to design the workplaces and what additional equipment the older workforce will need. It will increase productivity uniformly throughout the operations.


Consider the Human Workforce in Automation

During risk assessment of automation hazards, a risk manager must remember that employees still play a huge part in the process. Normally, the human interface in automation is ignored. But with the increased automation, this cannot be overlooked. You must assess the impact of new machines to the employees and the general workplace.


Risk managers must analyse the impact of the new technologies in the plants. They could affect the existing workforce and the general work area. Employees may be prone to newer accidents caused by the machinery and need to be protected. Remember that automation also has its hazards, so you should always be careful. 


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