The manufacturing industry faces a unique set of hazards – in fact, it’s one of the top five most hazardous industries for workers.
In order to maintain a safe workplace, employers and employees must be willing to work together to build a safety programs and stop hazards when they arise.
If you’re not sure where to start, here are a few essential manufacturing tips to have in your back pocket.
Train Workers to Use Equipment Properly
One of the most important components of any safe, successful manufacturing workplace is comprehensive safety training for your workers. That should include training on how to correctly use your equipment.
For example, do your workers know what each machine is used for? Are the workers who use those machines licensed to operate them? Do they know how to inspect the machines for signs of wear and tear?
Equipment is a common culprit in avoidable workplace injuries. If you want to keep your manufacturing process efficient and your workers safe, no worker should set foot on your manufacturing floor without knowing their way around your equipment.
Implement a Lockout/Tagout System
From 2003 to 2013, lockout/tagout problems in the food manufacturing industry alone led to 28 deaths and 228 serious injuries, like amputations.
There are seven lockout/tagout keys to maintaining a safe work environment:
- Written procedures
- Locking and tagging devices
- Documentation of every energy source
- Verification of energy isolation
- Proper locks at proper isolation points
- Training, including skills demonstrations
- Regular audits of employee work processes
When in doubt, turn to OSHA’s 29 CFR 1910.147 for guidance.
Always Use Safety Equipment
This one should seem abundantly obvious, but then again, there are entirely too many accidents that could have been avoided with the proper safety equipment.
Whenever your workers get on the job, they should be using the appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) for the task, such as:
- Hard hats
- Safety glasses
- Protective shoes
- Earplugs or earmuffs
- Full bodysuits
As an employer, it’s your responsibility to provide and maintain the necessary equipment to keep your employees safe. If employees provide their own equipment, you should inspect it to ensure that it’s up to standard and sanitary to use before allowing it in the workplace.
Stay Aware of Potential Hazards
Finally, always stay aware of potential hazards that could arise in your workplace.
A tool set down for “just a minute” can become a tripping hazard. Combustible materials should always be stored properly, and you should never have more than the amount necessary for the job. Wet floors can quickly turn into a slip and fall accident.
Even insufficient lighting can turn into a health and safety risk.
Employers are responsible for maintaining a safe workplace and eliminating as many hazards as reasonably possible, but employees and management must work together to maintain a safe workplace.
If you see something unsafe, say something right away so that the problem can be resolved. It’s not worth taking the risk.