Although technological advancements and the development of new health and safety regulations have led to safety significantly improving for workers throughout all industries, in the manufacturing industry, accidents still occur in an alarming pace as opposed to other industries that have similar activities. According to the US Department of Labor, 4 in every 100 manufacturing employees are involved in accidents or have job-related illnesses every year. Companies and safety professionals in the manufacturing industry are faced with a need to continuously update and improve their health and safety plans and strategies in order to make sure that they are providing the best conditions for their workers, but also in order to assure business continuity and limit the risks of any damaged to the overall activity of the company.
The Most Common Manufacturing Safety Hazards
A good health and safety strategy needs to include provisions for all possible scenarios, regardless if the probability for them to happen is a high or a low one. Making sure that your employees are safe in a wide range of safety hazards and crisis situations is key for all manufacturing companies, yet knowing which are the most common manufacturing safety hazards will help you better prepare for when or if they happen in your workplace. Here are some of the safety hazards you need to be aware of:
- Falls, which are the leading cause for work-related injuries and deaths in the United States, and happen across all industries
- Electrical hazards, including exposed wires or unlocked electrical panels
- Improperly installed machine guards and other machine-related safety hazards
- Faulty lockout-tagout procedures
- Clutter in the workplace, which can lead to the blocking of emergency exits
- Improper use of chemicals, choosing cheaper / ineffective solutions, or not storing them in adequate places
Tips on Reducing Manufacturing Safety Hazards
Making sure that your workers are provided with the best health and safety care in the industry means being aware of what kind of safety hazards you need to prepare for, but also having proper plans in place for such hazards, and implementing them with swiftness and professionalism. Doing so requires more than just being up-to-date with industry regulations, which is why today we are going to discuss 5 tips on reducing manufacturing safety hazards, and why your company needs to take them into consideration when drafting its safety plans.
Thorough Planning To Comply with Industry Guidelines
All safety plans need to be detailed, they need to include all aspects of what your workers do – such as shifts, training time, different types of teams and how they are organized and more. They also need to be in compliance with industry rules and guidelines, and make sure that all those responsible for your health and safety strategies are aware of all the updated and changes in the legislation. You will need to also train all personnel based on your health and safety plans and strategies, but also based on industry guidelines and legislation, so that they know how to react, what measures to take, and whom to turn to in the case of an emergency.
Drafting a Crisis Communication Plan and Using a Mass Notification System
A health and safety plan requires a thorough crisis communication strategy upon which to implement it. If your manufacturing company does not have a comprehensive method in place for communication and broadcasting important messages in the case of a crisis, reducing manufacturing safety hazards will prove to be not only difficult, but sometimes impossible, as some health hazards can occur during a crisis. Your crisis communication strategy needs to be supported by a modern, full-featured mass notification system that will allow your manufacturing company to create templates for crisis situations, broadcast important messages to larger groups, and analyze all data in order to improve its strategies in the future.
Constantly Train Your Employees and Update Your Safety Procedures
Providing constant training to employees on all health and safety issues and procedures means they will be thoroughly prepared for dealing with an emergency if or when it occurs, but also more prepared in avoiding safety hazards. Therefore, you need to make sure that your personnel are trained at all times and that your safety procedures are updated as soon as something new arises in the industry like a change in government regulations, a safety recommendation based on a crisis that has occurred in the industry, or a change due to the development of new technologies.
Keep Emergency Exits Clear at All Times
As we previously mentioned, cluttering is one of the most common cause of work-related hazards, especially in the manufacturing industries where equipment and machines are everywhere. Make sure that all your emergency exits are always clear and ready to use without delay, not just some of them, not just the emergency you might think will be the one to be used by your employees, but all of them. Also, do your best to keep your entire workplace clear and clutter-free, as it can make a life or death difference in the case of a safety hazard.
Provide a Good Working Environment for All Employees
Keeping track of the wellbeing of your employees and making sure that they are conducting their activities in a stress-free environment, but also that they know who to turn to and trust in case of a problem is of utmost importance for reducing safety hazards. Stress and improper work conditions can lead to a lack in concentration, which can lead to a safety hazard, especially in the manufacturing industry, where it is very important to always be aware of what you are doing or how you are operating machinery. Make sure all your teams have supervisors in charge of issues such as work-related stress, work conflicts, job insecurity, heavy work load, or any other related problems.
Following these 5 tips on reducing manufacturing safety hazards will help your manufacturing company improve its health and safety procedures and diminish the risks of safety hazards and all the problems they come with. Keeping your employees safe and assuring business continuity is easier when you are prepared for all situations, and when you are using modern and comprehensive methods for implementing your plans, so don’t forget to have a mass notification system in place, and always be both in compliance and up-to-date with industry guidelines and regulations.