Manufacturing companies face some unique challenges with today’s manufacturing workplace safety regulations. To fully comply, this frequently requires changes to manufacturing processes and procedures. Providers of custom bulk material handling solutions often play a significant role in safety code compliance efforts. In addition, they are able to integrate old equipment with new equipment and manage the cost and downtime to avoid losing valuable production time.
One way in which manufacturing companies can improve both safety and regulatory compliance is to partner with the engineers at Gough Econ, who can redesign work systems and flows to help manufacturers comply with today’s manufacturing workplace safety regulations.
Manufacturing Safety Standards
There are a number of laws that govern manufacturing safety standards, and many of them fall under the heading of the Occupational Safety and Health Act, or OSHA. OSHA governs workplace safety in many different industries, with a focus on manufacturing. OSHA has been around since 1970 and continues to evolve and to impose new guidelines for factories.
Just a few of the factory-specific items that OSHA addresses include:
- Protective equipment. OSHA requires that employers provide their personnel with eye glasses, hard hats, gloves, or any other equipment that’s needed to keep them out of harm’s way, especially if they are interacting with chemicals, fumes, or machinery.
- Hazard assessment. Under OSHA, employers are required to thoroughly assess the potential dangers and risks inherent to their factory floor, and to be aware of the most likely causes of injury. This awareness is the first step toward accident prevention.
- Safety training. OSHA guidelines also stress the need for training, and specifically for employees to be thoroughly briefed on the processes, regulations, and equipment available to them to enhance their safety.
- Hazardous chemicals. OSHA also imposes regulations on hazardous chemicals and fumes; such substances must be handled in a way that they do not pose health risks to employees.
These are merely some of the big-ticket items that employers are required to think about as they assess the health and safety standards on their factory floors. It’s a lot to consider, and the best way to go about it is with a broad, systematic approach. The engineers at Gough Econ can be a valuable resource.
Insights from Our Precious Metals Project
Let’s review how a partnership with Gough Econ allowed one precious metals manufacturer to comply with workplace safety requirements, obtain a custom solution that integrated old equipment with new equipment, and avoid losing a significant amount of production time.
The project in brief: A southeastern USA precious metals producer sought to comply with manufacturing workplace safety requirements and relocate their furnace operator away from the hot melt system and into a designated area. The existing process consisted of manually loading chunks of precious metals, weighing up to 50 lbs., into a furnace-feeding chute above the furnace, which heats up to 1,700º F.
Gough Econ was enlisted to provide a new feed system, with the goal to move the operator to a controlled environment away from the furnace where the chunks could be loaded onto a conveyor for transfer. Elimination of the manual procedure was required to minimize the risk of accident or injury, and to ensure total compliance with manufacturing workplace safety standards.
Our engineers delivered a solution by supplying a special retracting vibratory conveyor system that could be loaded in a room away from the furnace. Through an opening in a wall, the nose of the conveyor advanced above the furnace to load and then retracted when smelting. The rotary furnace itself moved into position for melting once it had been loaded, meaning the custom device to feed it had to be retracted out of the way to allow the rotary furnace to move into position prior to the true gasification or melting of the product. Thus, the conveyor itself is actually on a moving cradle that engages with the TBRC to load, and retracts from the TBRC, when it’s not in a loading position, to allow the rotary furnace to engage.
This solution met all the project criteria for a safe environment and ergonomically friendly operating system.
Note that the original method of manual delivery—the one in which the worker had to manually lift 40-to-50-pound items into a furnace burning 1,700 degrees or more—had been used for quite some time. However, this practice no longer complied with the company’s safety goals and objectives. Thus, the need for a new system became urgent. When assessing their options (as every manufacturer would consider), the downtime in production was a big concern. It was essential that the installation of the new system be completed during a scheduled period of downtime, and the furnace operation would be able to continue production in a timely manner, to avoid a costly interruption. Gough Econ’s engineers had to address these key obstacles with their engineering, equipment manufacturing, installation and post-installation support to provide this custom solution.
Custom Bulk Material Handling Solutions
The only way for the precious metal company’s system to be brought up to standard, without completely rebuilding their factory floor from the ground up, was with a custom system, developed with their particular business needs in mind. That’s why they ultimately chose the engineers at Gough Econ, who are known for providing custom solutions to meet client concerns—whether those concerns include product integrity, workplace efficiency, or compliance with safety regulations.
Engineering Solutions to Help Manufacturers Comply with Workplace Safety
Gough Econ has worked with countless manufacturers in a wide range of industries, providing them with the systems and solutions they require. What sets Gough Econ apart is our integrative approach. We don’t merely provide best-in-class products, but we fit them together into seamless, holistic designs—designs that maximize efficiency and keep the factory floor streamlined, simple and safe.
As we work with clients, we are always eager to hear about the obstacles they face, and then to develop integrated systems that address those obstacles as simply and intelligently as possible. If your manufacturing company faces these challenges, we encourage you to reach out to us directly. Consult with Gough Econ’s engineers and find a custom solution to your bulk material handling needs.