Manufacturing safety practices and policies in the workplace protects your employees from risk, injury, illness, and even death. It’s critical to support your employees with safety training and knowledge. Here are 7 tips for a safer workplace:
1. Practice Transparency
Technology, machinery, equipment and tools are changing at a fast rate. As a result, operating procedures and machinery uptime change dynamically. Communicate with senior management about changes to manufacturing. When new technology replaces legacy, how does employee responsibility change?
These conversations with supervisors create a workplace culture where safety is the priority. As a result, identifying and planning training becomes seamless.
2. Make Manufacturing Safety Training a Priority
It’s this simple: make manufacturing safety training a priority. Cerasis reported that for every dollar invested in a safety and health program, companies save between $4 and $6. Start by identifying training needs and make training available. For instance, every employee should have knowledge of safety gear including safety glasses, earbuds, respirator masks, and hard hats. Do your employees understand why this safety gear is enforced? Are they wearing safety gear correctly? And yet, safety gear is just one part of training.
Make manufacturing handbooks and manuals available with clearly written procedures and rules. You need to update these pieces of safety literature regularly. Keep in mind that not every employee learns from reading. Demonstrate skills in-person or through safety videos. The more employees championing for safety training, the safer your workplace.
3. Conduct Emergency Drills
Does every one of your manufacturing employees know what to do in the event of a fire? Or a tornado? An earthquake? This manufacturing safety tip directly concerns the safety of employees. Show new employees emergency exits before they even setting foot on the manufacturing floor. Employee manuals should clearly outline evacuation procedures. Practice different types of drills to make sure everyone understands what to do in the event of an emergency.
4. Maintain Machinery and Equipment
Maintaining machinery and equipment is a preventative manufacturing safety measure. Cleaning and regular maintenance lessen the possibility of machine breakdown, fires, and explosions. Controlling dust is important to manufacturing maintenance. Safety + Health Magazine recommends stopping dust accumulation before it layers to the thickness of a dime or paper clip. Sweeping, water wash downs, and vacuuming are all methods of controlling dust. Use compressed air blow downs and steam for inaccessible or unsafe areas.
In addition to cleaning and maintenance, ensure that all tools exist in two places: in use or in assigned locations. Store any tools not in use in their proper location and shut down equipment properly. Report every tool or piece of equipment that are showing signs of defect immediately. Any defected machinery should not be in use until restored to full working order.
5. Post Clear Signage, Labels, and Posters
Make manufacturing safety warnings obvious. Mark restricted areas and potential hazards with signage. Ensure safety managers have marked your facility with signage and labels that are both apparent and clear. Signage and labels should grab the attention of employees. If a label is worn down, replace it with a new one. Likewise, as new equipment replaces legacy technologies update the safety signage to reflect.
Another surefire way to increase safety in the manufacturing workplace is with posters. Posters are scientifically proven to increase knowledge, change attitudes, and alter behaviors. Place safety posters where they are employees.
6. Waterproof/ Tearproof Safety Training Documentation
Given that manufacturing can manufacturing environments can vary (employees, for example, may have to work outdoors in fluctuating weather conditions), waterproofing your content, such as using Poly Paper, can ensure that documentation including safety training manuals or EHS signage will last longer, even when exposed to the elements.
7. Monitor Your Workplace
Workplace monitoring is one of the most important practices in manufacturing safety. Most manufacturers restrict employee access with card-readers. Card-readers specify and authorize permitted employees into restricted zones. Door badging and video surveillance are two other methods of tracking employee location. It’s important to determine a frequency no matter how you choose to monitor your workplace. Apply frequency to how often employees enter higher-hazard areas or safety gear inspection.
Regular workplace monitoring reveals overlooked safety risks. These pitfalls should be amended with new safety regulations enforced. Completion of abatement verification documents and safety certifications is one way to catalog your employees’ knowledge of and commitment to workplace safety.
8. Celebrate Safe Employees
Manufacturing safety should never feel like a burdened task. According OSHA, organizations that focus on protecting workers have nearly 50 percent fewer lost workdays. Try your best to be employee-oriented when discussing safety or conducting safety training. Safety messaging should align with your concerns of preventing accidents and injuries. Recognize and thank employees who exhibit safe practices while on the job.
However, do not discourage the reporting of hazards, concerns, accidents, or injuries when celebrating safe employees.
If you’re reading this post, it’s nearly “safe” to assume your line of work is in manufacturing. So is Mimeo’s! Check out why other manufacturers choose to partner with us in this booklet.