MRO Magazine

Benefits of holistic approach to safety in manufacturing described in white paper

Milwaukee, WI -- A new white paper from Rockwell Automation reveals how progressive manufacturers are focusing on s...


Health & Safety

July 30, 2008
By MRO Magazine

Milwaukee, WI — A new white paper from Rockwell Automation reveals how progressive manufacturers are focusing on safety automation solutions to keep their people safe, their machines working and their bottom lines robust.

The paper credits this focus to the best practice adoption of deploying a ‘holistic approach to safety,’ which emphasizes global standards, innovative technologies, trained personnel and ongoing risk assessment, all working together.

The paper, ‘A Holistic Approach to Safety Automation’, highlights the differences between the manufacturing industry’s historical approach of separating safety solutions from the automation system, and today’s integrated functional approach to safety. It also outlines the inherent benefits this contemporary direction offers, namely minimized risk and increased productivity.

“By integrating safety functions into their overall automation strategy platform, manufacturers can create a safer working environment for employees, reduce the risks of an incident that could result in a negative environmental impact, and improve manufacturing processes that optimize productivity and key performance indicators, such as overall equipment effectiveness, which ultimately leads to increased profits,” said Craig Resnick, research director, ARC Advisory Group.

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“When manufacturers adopt this holistic approach to safety, they are leveraging state-of-the-art technology to help protect their people, as well as improving their company’s global competitive positioning.”

A fundamental shift in two essential and related areas has helped make this new functional approach to safety possible, according to the paper. The first is major developments in safeguarding and control technologies — most notably the advent of new microprocessor-based technologies in lieu of electromechanical or hard-wired control. The second is the evolution of global safety standards to allow these new electronic technologies to be incorporated into industrial safety systems.

The increased popularity of proactive risk analysis also is helping to propel the growth of this holistic approach, according to the paper. The objective of the safety system is to help protect people by making processes and machines safer without decreasing productivity. Manufacturers that conduct risk assessments are several steps closer to achieving all of the above — and in so doing, they help reduce risk and the costs associated with it.

“The holistic approach to safety is a best practice that ARC hopes even more manufacturers adopt,” Resnick said. “Manufacturers should challenge their automation suppliers to provide innovative safety solutions and services to support their quests to operate safer, while simultaneously increasing productivity and profitability. Rockwell Automation appears to have met this challenge with their integrated safety solution offerings.”

The white paper, ‘A Holistic Approach to Safety’, is available under the literature section at www.rockwellautomation.com/go/prhswp.