Machinery is a crucial part of the DNA in any manufacturing organization. While equipment and machinery are essential, the people operating this equipment are even more critical.
Work injuries in 2018 cost $170.8 billion, with 5,250 workers dying from work-related injuries in 2018 alone, a rise of two percent from the previous year.
Minimizing work-related injuries and guaranteeing the wellbeing of your workforce should be a priority for your business, and you must invest time and money into developing an effective safety program. Investing before any unforeseen circumstances arise is key to ensuring smooth operations.
Safety protocols aren’t just about wearing a hard, yellow hat and checking things every day. While every industry has its own needs, here are seven safety tips your manufacturing business should implement.
Keep the workspace clean
While keeping the workplace clean may seem quite obvious, you’d be surprised how many businesses end up neglecting it. You should aim to follow the 6s to the success of lean manufacturing:
- Sort: Keep tools that you need and remove whatever’s not necessary
- Straighten: Arrange equipment and tools daily to provide ease of access
- Sweep: Ensure the workplace is clean
- Standardize: Develop rules and procedures to maintain the first four
- Sustain: Create a culture that encourages employees to be proactive about safety
- Safety: Remove hazards that may cause workplace injuries
One piece of equipment that is extremely handy at keeping the workplace clean is an industrial dust collector. Installing a dust collector ensures there aren’t any harmful contaminants or particles in the air by purifying it. There are many dust collectors to choose from, such as the ones by Baghouse America, which aim to reduce air pollution and supply dust collectors all over the globe. Processing plant operators often use industrial dust collectors to keep working environments and employees safe and ensure regulations are met.
Wear safety equipment
Any task at the workplace, whether it’s using equipment or cleaning up the mess, requires proper safety attire and equipment. Encourage the use of checklists that should be filled every time a task is fulfilled to ensure nothing is missed out.
The risk of injury falls when employees are wearing the right safety equipment and checking that they haven’t missed out on an important piece. Additionally, safety equipment should be routinely checked to ensure it’s in top condition and not compromised.
Reinforce safety culture
You can’t create a safe environment just by enforcing safety procedures and equipment. You need to inculcate a safe culture where every employee prioritizes safety, not only of themselves but of their peers, too. By reinforcing this culture and empowering individuals, employees will feel responsible for the overall environment and make an ongoing effort to ensure procedures are followed. Being aware of what’s expected of them will make following the rules easier.
When employees, from top to bottom, are entrusted with keeping the workplace safe, the burden of responsibility is on everyone to ensure no protocols are compromised. This trust plays a huge role in building ownership across your organization, thereby reducing turnover and workplace injury rates.
Use tools, equipment, and machines properly
Objects and equipment cause twenty-six percent of workplace injuries with manufacturing occupations constituting the third-highest number of workplace injuries; you can minimize these risks in your organization by ensuring your employees know how to use and handle equipment accurately.
There are several ways you can prevent workplace hazards related to the handling of machines, equipment, and tools, such as:
- Regular maintenance of tools to ensure they’re in good condition
- Inspection of tools before every use to ensure they’re not damaged
- Usage of machines according to their instructions
- Using protective equipment correctly
- Allocation of the right tools for the job
Take breaks regularly
Mental or physical fatigue is one of the main reasons for workplace injuries. Such injuries occur when employees are too tired to be alert and don’t notice any workplace hazards that may harm them. In fact, overexertion is the cause of 33.54 percent of workplace injuries, which could end up being extremely serious when handling sophisticated equipment.
By ensuring your employees take breaks regularly and get some time to blow off steam, they can pay more attention to their surroundings and reduce the risk of getting hurt.
Talking to employees
Your employees should be provided the chance to communicate with you since two-way communication is an essential step to a safe working environment. By holding safety meetings regularly, you’re not inculcating a safe culture, but you’re also getting feedback on what’s currently going wrong and how it can be improved. Ensure employees get a chance to voice their opinions and are acknowledged when departments have no workplace injuries.
By maintaining two-way communication, you can ensure there are no gaps in understanding, and everyone gets a platform to share their opinions.
Preventing slips and falls
Falls and slips are one of the common causes of workplace injuries, so it’s essential that any spills are cleaned quickly, and ladders, for instance, are placed on even and stable surfaces. Spills, in particular, should be paid attention to because then can occur quite quickly, and someone can slip if a sign isn’t placed as a warning. Additionally, ensure there aren’t any loose nails or boards that can harm your employees. If there are, then these hazards must be fixed instantly.
Ensuring employee safety is a vital part of maintaining a secure environment for your employees. Your employees must know you care about them, and you have the right procedures in place so they can work without any worries. A little goes a long way, and prevention is always better than correction.
You can start implementing a safety program for your organization by, first, learning what’s expected of you and ensure you’re complying. A safe environment is an ongoing effort and you need to dedicate yourself to maintain the highest standards that value people above all.