Safety Signs for Futuristic Times
BY CHRISTINE TORRES
Published September 28, 2017
Businesses and industry leaders are increasingly participating in the robotic revolution. Cobots and other autonomous mobile machines for warehouse and manufacturing work seem to be here to stay. Amazon, Adidas, and Best Buy are just a few companies that are using a mix of robotic technology and human employees in their warehouse facilities, serving as models of progressive efficiency. When humans and technology work side by side, it is important to implement effective communication methods to direct both human and bot and help create a harmonious working relationship.
Safety Sign Synergy
As the modern warehouse realigns communication for efficiency, it also changes safety communication needs. Safety signs and labels are important methods of visual as well as digital communication. A large sign can prove helpful to warn a human employee that a certain isle or subzone is a robot’s workspace. This safety message can increase the employee’s mindfulness to stay out of its way. A larger warehouse robot, according to Amazon Robotics, can carry pallets and loads as heavy as 3,000 pounds; those robots often work swiftly in a small space. In Amazon’s warehouse, there are large caution signs on fencing that separates human employees from an area where robot transport units are in motion. Amazon uses more than 30,000 robots in their facilities, so the potential of injury to a human from a robot is there. Prevent human and/or robot worker injury by using labels and signs for a quick and easy way to communicate safety procedures and warnings with easy installation.
Functional, Informative Floor Marking
Even more technology comes into play with digital communication that gears toward a mechanical worker. Despite the huge leaps in automation, machines still rely on physical cues to do their jobs efficiently. Some warehouse robots move quickly from one area to another by using a camera to scan QR codes on floors or rack labels. Those QR codes contain information that the robot uses to complete tasks and instruct the robot on working space, distances, and product locations. The company Swisslog has a fleet of automated guiding vehicles (AGVs) that use floor QR codes and run by a computerized warehouse management system. Barcodes are also used in floor marking and rack organization to add another level of efficiency for both bot and human workers.
Safety communication for human warehouse workers to follow can also be achieved with floor tape. A variety of floor marking tape is commonly used in warehouses to visually mark specific work areas and paths. Mark floors that allow human employees to know where to stand to be safe or to create a safe-working boundary. OSHA does not regulate floor marking colors, so a company can use what is suitable for their message needs. OSHA addresses floor marking in its standard on materials handling and storage (29 CFR 1910.176). For more details on rules and regulations, including how to choose the best floor marking for your facility, download our Floor Marking Guide.
Prepare for a Safer Workplace Future
Graphic Products is a global leader in visual safety communication for your human workers, and in the future, potentially your non-human workers. Our trusted brand of DuraLabel industrial label and sign printers can help you achieve your warehouse communication needs with safety signage for admittance/restricted areas, authorized personnel, ‘Do Not Enter’ messages, and more. Pair high-performance DuraLabel supplies with the portable DuraLabel Toro industrial label printer and create custom safety messages and QR code labels with Toro's built-in labeling software. Couple with PathFinder floor marking tape for a complete and efficient running warehouse.