Industrial safety has evolved considerably since its beginnings in the early 20th century. The number of injuries occurring on an annual basis typically is used to measure workplace safety; over the past century, this metric has improved dramatically. Some of the progress is the result of regulations; but it is also due to advances in safety technology.
Take, for example, the safety light curtain. Light curtains are opto-electronic devices that safeguard personnel in the vicinity of moving machinery that have the potential to cause harm; they are typically used as an alternative to mechanical barriers and other forms of traditional machine guarding. By reducing the need for physical guards and barriers, light curtains can increase the maintainability of the equipment they are protecting. The operability and efficiency of machinery can also be improved by the use of light curtains; for example, they allow easier access for semi-automatic processes.
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