To EHS managers, efficient processes on the production line is key to running a successful industrial operation, as inefficiencies have major performance repercussions – but training and safety are also imperative to the workplace, especially in the manufacturing and industrial sector. In 2015, more than 4,800 workers were killed on the job, according to the US Bureau of Labor and Statistics – and human error is responsible for 80% of all of these accidents. A new eye-tracking study, designed to understand how visual concentration can impact both the performance and the safety of workers, was able to identify what happens immediately before an error on the line occurred that would negatively impact productivity.
H&H Castings, a supplier of aluminum castings, partnered with Tobii Pro Insight to conduct a qualitative eye tracking study in a foundry in Pennsylvania, in order to determine methods that result in fewer accidents and increased efficiency in the high-risk environment of industrial manufacturing. Workers participating in the study wore eye tracking glasses for up to 30 minutes as they conducted their tasks; the eye trackers enabled a close-up supervision of the tasks through the eyes of the workers. The results? The job requires extreme concentration, and any sudden break in that concentration can have a disastrous effect on workers and the products.
Jacob Hammill, system manager of H&H Castings, found that eye tracking can give a new understanding of how tasks can – and should – be conducted when working with molten level. Consultants from Tobii Pro Insight “helped us identify unique visual skills that we can now build a training program around,” he said.
The results of the study showed that eye-tracking can reveal unique insights for reducing the risk of accidents, creating new efficiencies in the foundry’s operations and improving how new hires are trained. In fact, H&H hopes that, with the insights learned from the study, the company will be able to reduce the amount of training for a new employee in the melt department from one week to about three days, saving 400 hours of training time per year.