Safety is a major priority of any manufacturer. Manufacturing employs around 12 million people in the United States. As reported by the American Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are over 300 work-related fatalities and 400,000 non-fatal injuries reported annually. It’s the duty of every employer to have a comprehensive safety strategy in place. Adding in an innovative training system should be part of such a strategy.
The Risks of Manufacturing
There are several risks involved for workers in manufacturing, however, especially for electrical maintenance workers. When working around machinery with many moving parts and electrical hazards, it’s easy to succumb to injuries. Exposed wires and missing electrical covers revealing electrical equipment can lead to shocks, some severe enough to be fatal.
Before any electrical troubleshooting can happen, it’s essential to have a lockout/tagout procedure in place. In short, a lockout/tagout procedure ensures that the power is completely disconnected, and the machine cannot be started again while an employee is fixing it.
Inconsistent or poor maintenance operations is another risk-factor for workers. Maintaining equipment is vital to ensuring a smooth production process. Unplanned factory downtime can cost up to $260,000 an hour. Beyond a monetary cost, malfunctioning equipment or machines can injure operators, assemblers, engineers, compounders, and electricians.
For example, if a worker comes in contact with malfunctioning equipment, the accident may result in crushed fingers, legs, or arms if the safeguards fail. Pieces of the equipment could break off and impact the operator. Maintenance employees need to be trained to recognize the signs of malfunction, such as alarms, leaks, unfamiliar noises, exposed wires, smoke, leaks, and irregular grinding.
The Risks of In-Person Training
Manufacturing has its hazards, but it doesn’t have to be so risky. Having a well-trained maintenance staff is important to improving the overall safety of the workplace. They will spot malfunctioning equipment and repair it before someone is injured. Training, however, has its own set of risks when done in person.
Traditional training methods, such as apprenticeship, involves working on real equipment. Sometimes plants shut down segments of their equipment or production lines to train new employees. This reduces overall productivity of the plant. Apprenticeship, on the other hand, involves taking new employees into the field under the supervision of a mentor. Even after the apprenticeship is complete, the trainee may encounter new troubleshooting problems they’ve never encountered before.
In both scenarios, there is a risk to the trainee, those around them, and the equipment. The trainee may incidentally touch a live piece of equipment, or the machine may not be properly locked out and tagged out. They may remove the wrong part, or unintentionally damage a mechanism in the machine.
The Solution: Simulated Training
So, what’s the solution? An innovative training system that incorporates real-world scenarios in a safe and fun 3D simulated environment is one of them. A 3D simulation training software has all of the benefits of in-person training without the risks and hazards associated with it. Trainees can learn, and fail, in a risk-free environment where there is no potential to harm themselves, others, or equipment.
A comprehensive training software will incorporate a variety of electrical troubleshooting faults that mimic real-world problems. Trainees learn how to solve many different scenarios without waiting for the opportunity to arise on live equipment. But, if the scenario does ever happen in real life, then the trainee will have the skills and knowledge to solve it quickly and effectively.
Adding an innovative training system that teaches electrical troubleshooting into a company safety plan will produce better trained employees to maintain equipment, reduce overall safety hazards, and make the workplace a safer environment for all.
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