By its very nature, the manufacturing industry involves complex and sometimes dangerous production line processes. This is why you need comprehensive health and safety protocols.
There is probably always a bit more room for better machine safety, and knowing how to mitigate the risks is an essential aspect of working in a manufacturing job.
Here is an overview of some commonplace safety hazards and what needs to be done to reduce or nullify the risk they present.
Creating a safety checklist
One of your first tasks, when setting up your manufacturing hub, is to brainstorm all of the potential risks and safety weaknesses. These need to be addressed and measures put in place to mitigate them.
It is a fairly standard procedure for manufacturing companies to develop a safety checklist that aligns with guidelines issued by regulatory bodies such as the OSHA.
The fundamental purpose of the checklist is to cover all the potential hazards and work out safety procedures that aim to nullify these threats as effectively as possible.
Slips and trips are an ever-present danger
Falls are an omnipresent danger in a manufacturing setting. This is mainly because workers usually need to operate at different heights and levels. The use of ladders or climbing equipment also presents a risk.
A basic safety measure would be to ensure that all workers wear protective gear, including hard hats.
The use of safety workwear can help to reduce the impact of injury when someone suffers a slip or falls. However, it is important that you take a proactive approach to safety and try to prevent any accident from happening in the first place.
Regular ongoing health and safety training improves the chances of preventing a serious safety incident in the workplace.
The use of machinery is integral to the manufacturing process, but that also introduces a number of potential safety hazards. These risks must be identified so that procedures can be implemented to achieve a good level of safety compliance.
Manufacturing equipment can create a fire hazard, especially if there is an electrical fault. Therefore, it is important to have a comprehensive fire safety plan as well as plans to eliminate the risk of electrocution.
On the subject of operating machinery, every person with access to machines need to be trained to know how the machines work and what to do if something goes wrong.
Another key risk factor is the presence of heavy equipment in the manufacturing area.
There is inevitably a need for the use of machinery in the manufacturing process. Also, there are a lot of moving parts and transportation of items across the factory. This creates a potential safety risk.
For example, the use of forklifts is common in manufacturing. Therefore, it is essential to address the risks associated with forklifts considering that forklift accidents are so prevalent.
Manufacturing production lines tend to operate under severe time constraints. In a bid to meet deadlines, there is the risk that shortcuts might be taken, and safety procedures are overlooked to get things done.
This is a recipe for disaster. Imagine a forklift driver rushing across the manufacturing floor with a heavy load, and even worse if the load is heavier than it should be.
There need to be clear guidelines relating to the maximum load forklifts can carry. Also, drivers must be instructed to keep a safe distance from any machinery and other workers.
Training and reinforcement of the agreed safety protocols should take place on a regular basis and only workers with the appropriate training and certification must be allowed to operate heavy machinery and forklifts.
The safe handling of hazardous materials
There is a fair chance that certain hazardous chemicals and materials need to be used in the manufacturing process.
This can be anything from ingredients to caustic cleaning solutions.
The list of hazardous materials is extensive and you may find that some workers are exposed to multiple hazards every day. Safety training should incorporate how to handle these hazardous materials.
There must also be good safety awareness regarding how to handle an emergency situation when someone is exposed to these chemicals due to spillage or lack of proper labeling and safety awareness.
Enough room to work
Another danger that is often underestimated is the threat posed by working in confined spaces.
If someone is working inside a tank, for instance, there is a risk of a lack of oxygen affecting them without the right safety procedures in place.
Your aim should be to define what a confined space is and identify the potential risks associated with working under those conditions. Good safety protocols when it comes to working in confined spaces would be to ensure that workers operate in pairs so that they can provide help and assistance when one gets into difficulties.
Also, the use of protective clothing and face masks is advisable when you consider the dangers of working in a confined space.
In summary, it would be very hard to find a manufacturing operation that is risk-free. This is why it is essential that you identify the specific dangers in your workplace and work on creating and enforcing a rigorous safety policy that everyone needs to follow, without exceptions.
It is easy to overlook the importance of certain precautionary measures. However, history teaches that no potential risk is small enough to be ignored.
Depending on the size of your workplace, it is advisable to create a safety compliance department or officer. In a small setting, one or two individuals can handle safety issues. However, in a large setup, you need multiple safety compliance officers. The goal is for your safety compliance experts to take pre-emptive measures to avoid accidents by identifying potential risks and coming up with measures to neutralize them. Also, your safety compliance staff must go round the workplace and inspect the operations to ensure that everyone is adhering to the proper safety guidelines.
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