Safety: Wireless has matured, gas detectors have too
As we get bombarded with daily reminders to wear sunscreen by the pool and posters with cliché sayings, keep in mind the meaning behind them is vitally important. As an active participant on our company’s safety committee, it can be easy to turn a safety project into a long term, high investment project that will be as safe as possible. But it can often come at the expense of a simpler solution that can start making your front line worker safer NOW rather than tomorrow.
As safety professionals, advisors, or just leaders of people, we are responsible for those that are exposed to hazards on the front lines doing the work. It is our responsibility to make sure that we find sensing solutions that not only protect, but can be implemented quickly and easily to ensure protection now.
But here lies the dichotomy; whatever the sensing solution is, it can’t be cheap and create the chance to supply false security.
These issues create contradictions. We need inexpensive but not cheap, sophisticated but not complicated, fast and easy to install but not to cause any adverse effect in the production environment. We attempt to optimize current solutions by multiple factors and the result is typically a well-balanced, mediocre solution. When real safety problems occur, we need step changes in technology that take away the balancing act of specs and open up new ways to keep people safe.
Enter wireless communication.
We have been proving in use with our dependence on cellular phones for over a decade with increasing reliability. We are replacing wired home phone lines with cellphones, airplane boarding passes with e-tickets on our cellphones, and even doing our banking over our cellphones. Industrial wireless communications are more robust and reliable than they have ever been and are ready for the mainstream of industrial market sensing applications.
The cost savings of wireless are readily apparent: less wiring, less money. What is sometimes lost is the ease and speed of installation. This is where wireless can offer a step change in safety. Need additional points to monitor, no problem. Need to move a point to a more ideal location, no problem. It is now easier and faster than ever to get monitoring installed that will start to protect your people now.
As a vendor, allowing the limitations of old technology and “it’s always been done this way” to become excuses against creating better ways to bring value to the customers will be detrimental as new technology and services emerge. It’s on us to not only adapt new technology but to embrace it as the path forward. Further we must be instrumental in creating the data to prove performance and reliability.
Remember to look to find innovative solutions that will help to you protect your people now. Accidents won’t wait for you, so why wait on implementing safety? Start searching for solutions that will help you keep your people safer NOW.
If it happens to involve industrial wireless, feel free to explore ueonline.com to learn more.
About the Author: Andrew Liptak. Andrew was formerly the Gas Detection Product Manager at United Electric Controls.