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With increased demand being placed on many industries, some are beginning to adapt their facilities to produce essential goods and medical supplies. With site safety still a priority, we look at ways you can update and enhance your safety systems to make way for new production lines.
As the current COVID-19 situation continues, we’re learning more about the various changes certain industries and sectors are making to their operations. From logistics and ecommerce operations managing increased demand to manufacturers creating new production lines and diversifying output to meet public needs, the pandemic is driving radical change across multiple industries. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the many manufacturers producing ventilators to help supply hospitals with vital medical needs.
Nevertheless, it is essential for businesses not to overlook site safety during these difficult times. Unprecedented demand and unfamiliar products are likely to put additional strain on employees, increasing the risk of workplace accidents. Furthermore, when operations are running at capacity, there is a greater chance of vehicles and materials handling equipment colliding with machinery or facility infrastructure. Having the right safety solutions in place is essential for protecting key workers and your operations. These difficult times require us all to pull together and support each other as best we can. This is why A-SAFE is committed to continuing operations to keep supporting essential industries as they meet the needs of society.
In this article, we want to address ways to continue effective workplace protection while adapting production lines to new products.
In some cases – as with drinks distillers producing hand sanitizer gel – production lines will remain largely unchanged. In such instances, only the raw materials and products will be different. This should not affect the safety systems currently in place; however, the essential nature of these goods may mean that these facilities are working to capacity. It is therefore essential to continue reviewing workplace safety infrastructure to ensure it is adequately protecting employees, machinery and buildings without impeding productivity levels.
PAS 13, the British Standards Institution code of conduct for proper workplace guardrail installation, is an extremely useful source of guidance for Health and Safety and Operations Managers looking to ensure that their safety and traffic management systems are fit for purpose.
As we outlined in our previous article, there are lots of ways to implement quick, effective safety protection for your facility. Easy-to-install, low-maintenance measures such as bollards, racking protection and wall and corner guards can ensure additional protection for personnel, stock and infrastructure, especially in high-risk areas. It is also worth considering whether you can improve traffic management and flow around your site. Simple additions such as clearly visible signposts can be a great way of ensuring that pedestrian walkways and vehicle routes are properly defined, especially if you have made substantial changes to the layout of your site.
It is likely that some facilities will require only minor, targeted changes to adapt production lines to new products. In such cases, modular safety systems like traffic guardrails and pedestrian guardrails can be added or adapted quickly, without the need for substantial layout changes.
The advantage of such modular systems is the ease with which they can be reconfigured to the original set-up, once operations return to normal. Furthermore, any additional elements that are no longer required in one place can be easily deployed elsewhere in your facility to improve protection there.
Some companies will be introducing new production lines in order to diversify their output. This could mean substantial changes to layouts and safety measures within their facilities. Such adjustments are often unavoidable, so it is crucial that they are made quickly with the lowest possible impact on productivity and site safety.
Given the current government guidelines around self-isolation and social distancing, most sites will be closed to outside visitors. Therefore, it is important to look for ways of implementing changes to site safety with the minimum of direct contact. Remote site surveys and conference calls can be a good way to ensure you are getting the information you need to properly implement safety solutions. Detailed installation instructions allow you to rely on in-house maintenance teams to implement your safety infrastructure without the need for additional work teams on site.
While reconfiguring production lines and goods output is never a straightforward transition, there are many options to help you adapt your workplace safety infrastructure to new ways of working. A-SAFE offers a range of remote support options to help you get the guidance you need to protect your facility quickly. Furthermore, our installation videos will take you step by step through the installation process for our safety products. This means you can get your new production line up and running with minimal downtime.
We are here to support essential services because we are in it together.