Technology advancements in metal fabrication aren’t just limited to things like additive manufacturing and dry machining.The ways in which we communicate with one another, log and track data, and document issues have all changed as well. Nowhere is this shift in technology more evident than in the rise of touchscreen devices.
Once thought to be a passing fad (people like buttons!), touchscreens are now ubiquitous. 173 million people now use smartphones in the US. You answer your phone with a touchscreen and sign your receipts (when you still sign for receipts) using them at the grocery store. More kindergarten children can use an iPad than tie their shoes. It seems that these digital devices are here to stay.
But with new equipment comes new safety concerns, definitely for industrial workers. Safety hazards are always present and they don’t just digitally disappear. Among the newest hazards are touchscreen-compatible concerns and the need to protect the eyes against blue light.
Protect your digits in a digital world.
Touchscreen devices are fantastic! They allow for much greater flexibility in inputting data, which results in better, immediate documentation and increased participation. As we talked about in our Metal Manufacturing Safety blog, it is always best to immediately document an injury after it occurs. However, taking immediate notes on a touchscreen device presents some challenges.
How touchscreens work
There are two types of touchscreens. The first kind is resistive. If you push hard enough on the screen, it will react appropriately, which usually involves pressing a “button” or leaving a visible mark. This is the kind of touchscreen that allows you to “sign” with a plastic stylus; anything hard and pointy would work just as well
More common than resistive touchscreens these days are capacitive touchscreens. These touchscreens will only react to a touch that holds an electrical charge. The easiest source of this electrical charge and the one that capacitive touchscreens are designed around is the human finger. If you want to know even more, we cover a lot more about How Touch Screen Gloves work here.
What’s the problem?
For most people, there is not one, when going about their everyday lives and using digital equipment in their spare time. However, for people working in a machine shop, on a manufacturing floor, or working on a cold construction site, working with touchscreens can lead to unsafe behaviors. Removing gloves in order to use a touchscreen and then putting them back on for protection immediately afterwards is a bit annoying when done once.
What happens though when the process needs to be repeated over and over again? Many workers get into the habit of simply ditching their gloves rather than dealing with the constant on and off, exposing them to cuts, burns, abrasions, and toxic chemicals when their hands are unprotected. You might want to read our Workmens Comp blog for why this is a problem.
Even more of a concern during winter months, what happens when you have to take off your gloves in 10 degree temperatures?
What’s the solution?
Touchscreen gloves enable you to keep your hands safe while using whatever touchscreen devices are needed onsite. Looking for options? We’ve got several. Try the Memphis Touch Screen, Ninja FLT, or ForceFlex Multitask on for size. For colder conditions, check out the below recently released touchscreen gloves for cold conditions. For those who are visual and like it simply laid out, no worries. Just click the next image to see our latest video.
981 – Moderate Temperatures - Black MAXGrid Material, 100g Thinsulate, Black Snow/Water Resistant Back of Hand, Hipora Lined Waterproof Bladder, Inner Elastic Cuff
980 – Moderate Temperatures - Black MAXGrid Material Palm, 100g Thinsulate, Hi-Vis Orange Snow/Water Resistant Back of Hand, Hipora Lined Waterproof Bladder, Inner Elastic Cuff
983 – Extreme Temperatures - Black MAXGrid Material Fabric Palm, 200g Thinsulate, Hi-Vis orange Snow/Water Resistant Back of Hand, Hipora Lined Waterproof Bladder, Inner Elastic Cuff
Don’t let eye strain give you the blues.
RF scanners, tablets, and other screens all emit blue light. This light is helpful to a degree: it helps with the screen’s legibility and can increase feelings of alertness in users. LEDs and compact fluorescent light bulbs also emit blue light, and the use of these types of lighting can be better both for the environment and for electric bills, as they use considerably less energy than incandescent bulbs.
What’s the problem?
Unfortunately, blue light can also lead to problems, including eye strain, migraines, disrupted sleep patterns, and headaches. Blue light also decreases your low-light vision, leaving you more susceptible to accidents when working indoors.
In the past, workers have tried to skirt around this problem by wearing amber lenses. This severely affects color recognition, however, leaving those who rely on color-coding to maintain a safe environment in a lurch.
What’s the solution?
MAXBLUE technology is a new solution to the issue of blue light. MAXBLUE lenses leave workers with a clear, faintly mirrored lens. Without any color distortion at all, MAXBLUE lenses filter out 41% of blue light and eliminate many symptoms in people who are sensitive to blue light exposure. Try VL210MB for a pair of glasses that will not only protect your eyes, but look stylish to boot.
Many PPE suppliers are protecting against hazards workers saw a century ago.
MCR Safety, on the other hand, is always on the lookout for ways to adapt to working conditions as they are today. What does the future hold for you when it comes to your working environment?
For more on metalworking hazards, along with our Metalworking and Welding Eyewear Guides, check out our Metal Fabrication industry resource page.
For over 40 years, MCR Safety has proven to be a leader in gloves, glasses, and garments. Whether it’s on a shop floor, an oil rig, or a construction site, we are there providing solutions to workplace hazards. We Protect People!
Learn more about MCR Safety by checking out our most recent video. You can also click here for more information or simply give us a call at 800-955-6887.