The manufacturing industry incorporates a wide range of sectors, from food, beverages or textiles to computers, electronics, or pharmaceuticals, all which operate with multifarious and hazardous machinery. Therefore, having a safety program in place is of utmost importance for all manufacturing companies looking to protect their employees, improve their health and safety strategies, and assure business continuity. In the first quarter of 2018, the manufacturing industry has contributed $2.33 trillion to the US economy, a figure which has been continuously rising since 2009, and which is projected to keep growing. Given the expansion of the industry, and the investments conducted in equipment, technologies, and personnel, but industry companies should also invest their time and attention into providing their employees with everything they need to work in a safe environment.
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, although the number of fatalities and injuries has slightly decreased in comparison with previous years, companies in the manufacturing industry should improve the way they look at safety programs, the way they implement industry guidelines and regulations, but also the use of modern solutions for crisis communication and hazard prevention strategies.
Items Your Manufacturing Safety Program Must Have
All safety programs, regardless of industry or company size, need to be drafted and implemented based on custom-tailored goals and objectives, the needs of employees, and the guidelines of industry regulators. When developing your manufacturing safety program, you need to first gather all the data and analyze the metrics that will tell you what items you need to have in your safety program. Depending on the size of your workforce, on the machinery your company uses, and on your crisis communication needs, a manufacturing safety program will involve a wide range of items and strategies, and deciding what those are is crucial for your business. Further, we are going to talk about the 5 items your manufacturing safety program must have and how using them will help improve your health and safety strategies.
1. A Policy Statement
The first thing your manufacturing safety program needs to have is a policy statement of general rules and principles which will serve as a guide for your company’s health and safety programs and strategies. The policy needs to state in clear the following: your health and safety philosophy, management’s commitment towards the safety program, the goals and objectives of the safety program, the people who are responsible for all health and safety programs, procedures, and trainings, the general responsibilities of every employee of your manufacturing company in terms of health and safety, and any other related aspect that you need to mention.
Don’t forget to communicate your policy statement to all employees, and keep it up-to-date with industry regulations and company objectives.
2. A Mass Notification System
Most companies think that having a mass notification system in place is something one should do as part of an emergency or crisis strategy, and not necessary as part of a safety program, but such a solution can prove to be of great help for all health and safety programs, plans, and strategies. You can use a mass notification system for more than just broadcasting emergency messages when or if a crisis occurs in the workplace. For example, you can broadcast safety messages and information via a mass notification system to all your employees, or send out safety training messages. Using a full-featured mass notification system will allow you to perform a lot of actions with its help, but also gather and analyze data that will help you improve or update your safety programs. You can plan ahead and create templates or pre-defined alerts which you can use in an emergency, or plan messages related to machine maintenance, but also receive feedback in real-time from your recipients. Make sure that the mass notification system is thoroughly integrated with all your other health and safety programs and strategies.
3. Work Procedures in Compliance with Health and Safety Regulations
All aspects of your manufacturing safety program and of your work procedures need to be in compliancy with US health and safety regulations. When drafting your safety program, make sure that your company will follow all guidelines, and that your work procedures are redacted based on OSHA standards, but also that all your employees are aware of them. A lot of manufacturing hazards occur because companies did not align their work procedures with health and safety standards, and aside from the endangering your employees, you are also damaging your business continuity, and risk that your company be fined in the event of an inspection.
4. Health and Safety Trainings
Manufacturing employees work with a wide range of complicated machines but also with complex procedures, and within complex industry rules and guidelines, which is why it is of utmost importance that all of them are always aware of how to behave in relation to health and safety issues, and also know how the safety and emergency programs of the company operate. Conducting regular health and safety trainings should be a major part of your manufacturing company safety program, regardless of size or sector. Make sure that all your health and safety training respect procedures and that they are up-to-date with all industry requirements and regulations, but also with the particular needs of your company and those of your employees.
5. Workplace Inspections and Maintenance Programs
All safety programs rely on inspections and maintenance in order to be successful, which is why an important item on your safety program needs to be dedicated to this particular area of health and safety. It is not enough to follow industry guidelines and utilize the proper health and safety policies if you are not also regularly conducting workplace inspections and maintenance programs that will assure you are implementing strategies which work, and that will help you mend what is not working. Make sure that your inspection and maintenance procedures are well-covered in your safety program, and provisions are made for all aspects of these procedures, from knowing the people involved, to analyzing feedback from all employees regarding how inspections and maintenance sessions are conducted.
A successful manufacturing safety program relies not only on following guidelines and regulations, but also on having an in-depth knowledge as to what your manufacturing company needs in terms of health and safety, in terms of crisis communication, but also knowledge towards how to work towards those precise goals. Use a mass notification system for all your health and safety communications, and don’t forget to always train and inform your employees on all changes or improvements to your safety program.