How Digital Manufacturing Can Reduce OSHA Violations

Written by: Leah Gourley

Read Time: 2 min

With many moving parts, heavy machinery, high voltages, and sometimes toxic raw materials, the manufacturing industry can present high risks for workers. Safety regulations are laid out by an authority such as OSHA (Occupational Safety and Heath Administration). These are set in place so that manufacturing plants adhere to a standardized set of safety regulations.

To ensure workplaces are adhering to regulations, they are often subject to random inspections by the authority. If OSHA detects a violation of their codes, then the workplace can be subject to either a mandatory or recommended fine.

How can digital manufacturing reduce OSHA violations?

Work instructions consisted of manuals, presentations and slideshow presentations in the past. The problem with this type of manual instruction is that it can be hard for workers to translate theory into practice. Augmented reality (AR) headsets and digital work instructions can provide an all-new approach to safety training.

Instead of digesting dense diagrams and out-of-date instructions, workers can use the AR headset to visualize potentially hazardous parts within a manufacturing plant. The AR-enabled digital work instructions can also inform various safety protocol as well as how machinery operates behind opaque material. Workers are more likely to retain key knowledge using the digital work instructions, ensuring worker safety and reduced OSHA violations.

Common OSHA violations to avoid

There are a variety of OSHA regulations that manufacturers are at risk of violating; however, the use of digital work instructions can improve skills retention among workers and reduce OSHA violations.

Lockout and tagout (LOTO)

Lockout and tagout procedures ensure that heavy machinery is adequately shut down before any maintenance or cleaning works occur. Digital work instructions enabled by AR headsets help workers visualize the safety protocol for these processes, instead of having to remember and translate instructions from an analog textbook or presentation.

Hazard communication (HAZCOM)

This is the set of processes that employers use to ensure that the hazards surrounding chemical materials are properly communicated. Workers can seamlessly visualize how to move, load, and use chemicals safely and correctly using augmented reality.


In manufacturing, employees need to be aware of the hazards surrounding electrically charged devices. Employees can safely practice their electrical safety procedures without the risk of a potentially harmful electric shock using digital work instructions to navigate.

Personal protective equipment (PPE)

Manufacturers can be put in difficult positions when it comes to PPE compliance. Workers need to be familiar with all the correct personal protective equipment protocol, such as knowing when and what types of PPE are necessary. Digital work instructions provide the best opportunity for workers to practice the necessary safety protocol without putting themselves in any danger.

Walking and working surfaces

Falls are consistently in the top 10 OSHA hazard infringements. Manufacturing plants provide countless opportunities for slips, falls, and bruises. Employees wearing AR headsets can improve fall protection by proactively identifying potential hazards in a manufacturing plant. This allows them to get used to hazards before facing them in the plant.

Keep OSHA violations at bay through digital work instructions

Companies can easily reduce OSHA violations by providing employees with the training resources and on-site instructions that keep them well-informed on safety protocol. Digital work instructions are the 21st century guide to the ever-changing manufacturing landscape. Employees can also use remote assistance to gain further help from more experienced workers while on-the-job. With digital manufacturing, you can rest assured your plant is running safely.


Tags: Augmented Reality

About the Author

Leah Gourley

Leah Gourley is a Digital Content Marketing Specialist based out of PTC's Boston office. She enjoys creating and sharing content surrounding the latest technologies that are transforming industries, including augmented reality and the industrial internet of things.