Severe Weather Safety for Manufacturing
- Jul 22, 2021
Severe weather safety at manufacturing sites is essential for preserving life, resources, and operational efficiencies
What is Manufacturing and Why is it Important?
Manufacturing is defined as any industry that makes products from raw materials by the use of manual labor, machines, tools, and chemical or biological processing or formulation. Manufacturing is typically carried out systematically with a division of labor, hence a need for effective safety precautions. According to Britannica, the primary manufacturing industries are those that produce the following:
Aircraft, automobiles, chemicals, clothing, computers, consumer electronics, electrical equipment, furniture, heavy machinery, refined petroleum products, ships, steel, and tools and dies.
It is safe to say that manufacturing drives our economy. Manufacturing plants are essential to many different industries for the production of goods, thus protecting the labor force and products at manufacturing sites is crucial. Severe weather safety for manufacturing can help eliminate injury and fatality risks at manufacturing sites.
What about weather safety on the manufacturing site?
Dangerous weather poses a risk to many types of manufacturing industries dealing with combustible and flammable materials. Combustible manufacturing materials can contain a chemical base, oil and gas, carbon based compounds for coating wood, explosives, energetic materials, and more. Rail cars and trucks contain chemicals that need to be transported into the manufacturing plant, which includes moving around combustible materials. As such, lightning and severe weather is a primary concern for manufacturing workers. Knowing when to shut down manufacturing operations is essential for worker safety, as well as the protection of critical assets. Earth Networks offers an array of severe weather products and services for alerting that can help manufacturing companies to mitigate these risks and have a plan to stay safe on the job. Ranging from weather sensors to lightning trackers, we have the resources necessary to effectively protect your manufacturing operations.
How Does Severe Weather Impact Manufacturing Operations?
Plant workers at manufacturing sites are exposed to combustibles, hazards, and heavy machinery at all times. Consequently, severe weather such as hurricanes, thunderstorms, and lightning do not mix well with manufacturing plant operations. Many manufacturing plants contain energetic materials, better known as explosives, hence an awareness of looming lightning and severe weather is critical for safety. It is important to know when to shut down operations to avoid injury and death from severe weather at the manufacturing site. Lightning is a very prevalent weather condition, hence the need for lightning protection at manufacturing facilities.
Why is severe weather safety for manufacturing important? Severe weather can lead to machinery and infrastructure damage, supply chain disruption, and a halt to production if things go awry. In terms of operational efficiency, it is best for manufacturing plants to know when is the best time to shut down operations due to severe weather. This can save manufacturing plants from losing money due to severe weather risks. Knowing when to shut down manufacturing operations can mitigate business losses. Earth Networks offers state of the art weather sensors that are optimized for severe weather and lightning detection, so you can make informed operational decisions.
What type of weather creates a risk at manufacturing facilities?
Various forms of severe weather pose a risk to manufacturing operations, including:
Many people working at manufacturing plants are working outside with flammable materials. Manufacturing workers should safely clear the premises when lightning is nearby, especially when energetic materials are on the premises. Lightning, machinery, and combustibles are not a friendly mix. Read more about how many lightning pulses ENTLN detected in the Earth Networks 2020 U.S. Lightning Report.
Cold temperatures can also create hazardous conditions for manufacturing workers. Slick, icy roads are dangerous for drivers doing deliveries and pickups. Freezing temperatures can lead to frozen, icy walkways and parking lots outside of manufacturing facilities. Just the opposite of heat stress, over-exposure to cold weather can lead to cold-induced injuries including hypothermia and frostbite. In early 2021, the state of Texas experienced unprecedented freezing temperatures that led to state-wide power outages. Loss of power equals loss of revenue for manufacturing companies, unless they are prepared with the proper equipment such as renewable energy sources and generators and to overcome unexpected severe winter weather obstacles.
Large amounts of water do not bode well with electricity inside manufacturing plants. Flooding can also lead to power outages, which can cause a disruption for sensitive chemicals that depend on safe temperatures via refrigeration. Flooding also damages products and slows down production, which can cause quality problems for products. Earth Networks’ sister company, High Sierra Electronics, specializes in environmental monitoring solutions including flood warning sensors. High water detection systems and flood early warning systems can help prevent flooding damages on manufacturing sites.
Historically, severe thunderstorms increase the likelihood of power outages. It is important for manufacturing companies to track severe storms in order to mitigate business losses due to power disruption. By monitoring severe thunderstorms ahead of time, manufacturing companies can shut down before a power outage and not ruin products due to lost power. Alternatively, operators of manufacturing companies can engage with an alternate power source or proactively switch to generators before it storms. Earth Networks offers professional weather stations and weather monitoring systems to plan for incoming severe weather. Our professional-grade, commercial weather stations withstand all types of weather as a result of their expert design. Secure installations on the rooftop of your manufacturing facility will bring you live, hyperlocal data that is vital for safety and planning.
Heat stress safety is extremely important for employees and visitors at manufacturing plants. Lack of preparation for extreme heat can lead to heat-stress illness for employees. It can also slow down production at manufacturing sites where combustible materials and chemicals are only safe in cooler temperatures. Stay ahead of the heat with high-level weather forecasting at your fingertips. Earth Networks’ Meteorological Services provides accurate hourly forecasts and nowcasts and 24/7 meteorological support to help manufacturing companies protect their bottom line by avoiding forecasting errors to maximize financial and operational results. Additionally, Earth Networks announced a new Wet Bulb Globe Temperature (WBGT) Forecast feature to improve heat safety. The WBGT Forecast is available in the Online Weather Center, and is accessible via Sferic Maps when the feature is enabled. Learn how to use WBGT effectively to reduce injuries and avoid heat stress illness below:
WBGT is the only measurement that accurately measures heat stress on the body. Additionally, WBGT is a more accurate measure of worksite heat than the Heat Index alone. You may be wondering how you can effectively monitor WBGT? Here are some ways to monitor WBGT at your manufacturing facility:
- An on-site weather station, which measures and forecasts WBGT.
– Weather stations that monitor WBGT also allow for site-wide alerting via text or email to keep manufacturing employees safe from heat stress. Automatic WBGT warnings based on real-time readings are the easiest and quickest form of monitoring and alerting method. Learn how to get real-time alerts for WBGT and other severe weather threats implemented for your manufacturing company.
- Handheld Monitoring Devices
– This device allows for individuals to conveniently monitor WBGT with the benefit of portability, however there may be increased likelihood of human error.
- Manually Calculating WBGT
– You can manually calculate WBGT by using a combination of current temperature and relative humidity.
WBGT and OSHA
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has several Wet Bulb Globe Temperature (WBGT) and heat stress safety requirements for safe working conditions. These safety requirements minimize the risk of heat exhaustion at the workplace, especially manufacturing sites where workers are exposed to heavy equipment, hot temperatures, and hazardous materials. According to OSHA, there are four major factors that contribute to heat stress in workers, which are measured by WBGT:
- Air temperature.
- Humidity. High relative humidity makes it difficult for the body to cool itself through sweating.
- Radiant heat from sunlight or artificial heat sources such as furnaces.
- Air movement. In most situations, wind helps workers cool off.
OSHA recommends the use of wet bulb globe temperature (WBGT) monitor to measure workplace environmental heat, and reduce injuries for workers. WBGT accounts for all four major environmental heat factors, whereas standard thermometers only account for air temperature.
Heat exhaustion is an unfortunate ailment that pervades workplaces. Consequently, a new alliance was announced on July 13th called the National Heat Safety Coalition, formed by the Korey Stringer Institute at the University of Connecticut. This coalition will establish heat safety solutions and standards for the industrial sectors, plus heat-safety research, solutions, education and awareness.
How to Stay Safe from Severe Weather Risks on Manufacturing Sites
Earth Networks offers a multitude of severe weather safety solutions for manufacturing sites. A lightning and severe weather safety solution is essential for protecting employees at manufacturing plants.
Let your manufacturing employees know that the facility is protecting them from lightning and severe storms with an Earth Networks Sferic Siren Lightning Alerting System. Sferic Siren provides total lightning detection, 360 audio and visual signals, and an all-clear countdown to clear the premises.
The system will sound a loud horn and activate a flashing strobe light when lightning and severe storms approach. This indicates that it is unsafe to be outdoors, and manufacturing workers should seek shelter in a safe location.
Weather Stations & Sensors
Earth Networks’ weather stations are uniquely designed to measure all forms of weather threats by recording crucial environmental information and producing useful weather data for decision making. Our weather stations allow businesses to prepare for severe weather, protect employees and property, and automate and streamline manufacturing operations. Our AEM sister company, Lambrecht meteo, also provides individual systems and high-quality automatic standard weather stations and sensors. Whether you are looking for a weather measuring network, Modbus weather station or environmental measuring station, Lambrecht provides the ideal climate station for weather safety on manufacturing plant sites.
Sferic Maps & Sferic Mobile
Sferic Maps is another great tool for monitoring severe weather. This supreme professional weather dashboard allows users to monitor, prepare, alert, and protect against dangerous weather conditions. Sferic Maps allows manufacturing plant overseers the ability to improve weather-related decision-making for the organization. Sferic Maps combines the best patented weather and lightning observation metrics with powerful data representation, visualization and alerting capabilities. Receive a free demo of Sferic Maps to get a glimpse into everything you need to monitor current and future conditions, plan for severe weather events and prepare your response for a potential manufacturing plant emergency.
How do manufacturing customers benefit from weather safety solutions?
Manufacturing plant workers can use our weather safety solutions both inside and outside of manufacturing facilities. For instance, during the severe winter storm that hit Texas earlier this year, production halted in many manufacturing plants due to climate changes inside the plant. Semiconductor manufacturing companies in Texas took weeks to get up and running after the power outages resulting from the winter storms.
“Because they’re toxic gases, they are flown through double-walled, stainless steel tubing, where the gases flow through the inner-tube and the interstitial region is pumped and monitored by toxic gas monitors so that in case of a leak, you can evacuate the building… So that tells you why it’s so important to have power all the time, because if there’s a total power failure, the toxic gas monitors will also fail and that could be a huge safety hazard.” — Dr. Sanjay Banerjee, Director of the Microelectronics Research Center in the Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering at The University of Texas at Austin.
With Sferic Maps or our 24/7 Meteorological Services, you can plan ahead for power outages that will affect manufacturing processes. Preparing alternative power sources or having generators ready to keep operations running can eliminate revenue loss from severe weather.
Weather safety solutions such as Sferic Siren can help protect manufacturing workers who are transporting hazardous materials. From the assembly line to the delivery truck, it is important to protect oneself from lightning and severe storms. Sferic Siren sounds a loud horn and activates a flashing strobe light, indicating it is unsafe to be outdoors.
Many energetic materials at manufacturing sites are only safe to handle in low temperatures. WBGT monitoring and alerting protects manufacturing plant workers from the dangers of extreme heat while working with energetic materials. Mitigating risk is essential for safety at plant sites, from the assembly line to the delivery process.
Accurate forecasts, 24/7 meteorological services, advanced weather stations are some of the many solutions that help manufacturing companies operate safely.
Keep your manufacturing operations safe
Severe weather conditions can affect a manufacturing plant’s workers, delivery, and production. Stay ahead of the weather with Earth Networks’ severe weather safety and monitoring solutions.
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