Report: Industrial companies use safety for profitability and productivity

Friday October 12, 2018
Written by Manufacturing AUTOMATION
October 12, 2018 – A majority of industrial companies are using safety to not only mitigate risks but also to improve productivity and profitability, according to a survey by LNS Research.

The survey finds organizations are using the three core elements of safety maturity – which include safety culture, procedures and technologies – to avoid safety incidents and improve business performance. In addition, risk management increasingly includes both safety and security risks.

Between July and September 2017, LNS Research surveyed 300 respondents including operations, environment, health and safety (EHS), and engineering managers and professionals from industrial organizations primarily headquartered in the U.S. and Europe. Rockwell Automation was licensed to distribute the research.

From a culture standpoint, the survey finds that organizations in which EHS, operations and engineering collaborate to improve all aspects of safety report a median incident rate 15 per cent lower than those without this collaboration. Organizations with cross-functional safety collaboration have a 12 per cent better on-time delivery performance.

On the technology side, 75 per cent of industrial companies say they have seen operational improvements resulting from the use of advanced safety technology. Similarly, 60 per cent of respondents say they have seen financial improvements resulting from the use of advanced safety technology.

"The LNS Research survey shows that best-in-class manufacturers are making industrial safety a pathway to operational excellence,” says Lee Lane, vice-president, safety, sensing and connectivity at Rockwell Automation. “These top performers use contemporary safety technologies, make safety a company-wide value and use standard processes to design safety and productivity into machinery."

The LNS Survey results also support OEMs building safer machines, as 20 per cent of respondents said they are willing to pay a premium for increased safety performance.

While the LNS Research survey results confirm that many industrial companies are improving safety maturity, they also identify areas where manufacturers are falling short.

About half of respondents (49 per cent) claim that safety is viewed as a core value across all levels of their organization. However, only 19 per cent say their organization has C-level commitment to make the necessary investments in safety. This disconnect indicates that many companies do not have a culture that is fully supportive of safety. Additionally, only one in four respondents say their EHS, operations and engineering EHS teams effectively collaborate to improve all aspects of safety.

Almost half of respondents (49 per cent) say top challenges to improving EHS performance include disparate systems and data sources. Meanwhile, almost two-thirds (64 per cent) of respondents say they have not implemented dedicated EHS software. This indicates there is a big opportunity for companies to use modern information-management technology to better manage their safety performance.

Only 24 per cent of respondents say they use lockout/tagout alternatives to improve operational performance. And even fewer (11 per cent) say their organization is using industrial IoT technologies to holistically manage operations and safety. However, 20 per cent say they will start using industrial IoT technologies this way in the next 12 months, and 17 per cent said they will require that new equipment be smart and connected within that same time period.

Widely adopted standards call for a lifecycle approach to risk management, which can help companies address risks in their equipment and production from design to retirement. However, only 28 per cent of respondents say they use such an approach. What’s more, only 27 per cent of respondents say they use a lifecycle approach to safety-system management.

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