Manufacturing facilities are an essential part of the global economy, but they are also one of the more dangerous places of employment. While there have been significant manufacturing safety improvements over the past several decades, many facilities still have a long way to go.
Unfortunately, many facilities believe that it would be too costly or time consuming to significantly improve the safety of their facility. The fact is, however, that when done properly it is surprisingly easy. Take a moment to review the following manufacturing safety tips and see which ones can be implemented in your facility. You’ll soon see that making safety a priority is not only easy, but it is also affordable on virtually any budget.
Manufacturing Safety Tip #1 – Follow Regulatory Standards
This one may seem obvious, but most facilities don’t actually follow it. There are a variety of different regulatory agencies including OSHA and others that have a variety of safety standards that companies are required to follow. While it may seem like it at times, the regulations aren’t just in place to add an extra layer of government oversight and difficulty.
These regulations are developed by experts who work with thousands of companies from around the world to identify dangers in the workplace. Following the regulations is a proven way to improve safety in your facility. With that in mind, go through the regulations that apply to your industry and make sure you’re in compliance.
In addition to improving safety in your facility, this will also protect you from fines or other penalties from not following the regulations, so it can actually save your company money in the long run.
Manufacturing Safety Tip #2 – Incentivize Safe Employees
In most facilities the number one cause of accidents and injuries is employees who fail to act safely at all times. It is typically not an intentional thing, but rather just employees taking shortcuts or getting lazy with their safety efforts.
While many facilities today will write someone up or otherwise discipline them for not following safety rules; that is often not enough. It is far more effective to offer them some type of incentive for keeping the facility safe and following all the safety standards in the facility. The incentives can be monetary, paid time off or public recognition. Experiment with your facility to see what works.
There are generally two options when it comes to incentivizing safety employees. They are:
- Individual Incentives – This option has you offering incentives to individuals when they work in a safe way. This is a great option because it allows you to pinpoint problems and encourage great behavior.
- Team or Group Incentives – The other option is to award teams or groups. You can even award the entire facility for a safe workplace. This option is effective because it makes for positive peer pressure that can be a great motivator for keeping everyone working safer.
Of course, you can always use both of these types of incentives to get the best results.
Manufacturing Safety Tip #3 – Proper Safety Signs & Labels
When walking through any facility you are almost certainly going to see at least a few different safety signs and labels. Things like illuminated exit signs, or signs that identify where a fire extinguisher is located are mandated by law in most places. The fact is, however, that only putting up the required signs or using the required labels is not good enough.
Using signs and labels throughout your facility is a fast and easy way to improve the overall safety by making it a more visual workplace. Signs and labels allow people to see where known hazards are, and how to avoid them, even from a distance.
Creating custom signs and labels for your facility is also extremely fast and easy. If you don’t already have one, purchase an industrial label maker (similar to this) for your facility. These machines can create custom signs and labels, which can be used throughout your facility.
Whenever a new one is needed, you can have it designed and printed in just minutes. Many facilities have found that this simple option goes a long way toward eliminating many safety hazards within their facility.
Manufacturing Safety Tip #4 – Reduce Noise Pollution
There is no denying the fact that manufacturing plants are loud. Most people who work in them don’t even notice it after a while, but it is actually a very real hazard. If you don’t address the issue, anyone working or visiting the facility can be at real risk of developing hearing loss or ringing in the ears, which can be a real disability for the rest of their lives.
There are two ways to improve the noise safety of your facility. Implementing one or both of them will help to reduce the risk to your employee’s hearing.
- Eliminate Noise – Reducing the actual noise levels is the ideal option. This can be done by installing acoustic insulation within the plant. This type of insulation absorbs and eliminates loud noises quite effectively. You can also look at each machine that generates the noise and see if it is possible to have a muffler or other noise reduction system installed.
- Hearing Protection – When it is not possible to eliminate the noise from the facility, protecting the ears of the employees is the next best choice. Providing ear plugs or other types of hearing protection is extremely important. In addition, however, it can be helpful to create and put up signs letting employees know in which areas they are required to wear this type of auditory protection.
Manufacturing Safety Tip #5 – Emergency Response Training
When people think about emergency responses at work they typically think of fire drills or shelter in place drills for severe weather. While those are two essential components, you should take it much further. Training employees on how to properly respond to as many potential emergency situations as possible will improve safety dramatically.
Offering training for things like CPR can help people to know how to respond quickly in situations. Having an automated electronic defibrillator on site, and people trained to use it, can also be very helpful. Find other potential risks in your facility, and make sure you have first responders designated to help ensure the proper response in the event that an emergency takes place.
Manufacturing Safety Tip #6 – Eliminate Waste
This is one tip that most people in management will absolutely love. Waste elimination is typically seen as a way to improve efficiency, safe money and improve the bottom line of a facility. While it certainly does those things, it can also be a great safety tool.
Go through proven waste elimination strategies such as Lean, Six Sigma or 5S to see where you can eliminate waste, and you’ll quickly see how it can improve safety. For example, if you put in standards so that everyone is performing jobs in the same way each time, there is less risk for an accident being caused by someone doing something improperly.
If you can eliminate the need for parts, inventory or other products to be transported to different areas of the facility, there is less risk of injury. As you go through all the different types of waste that can occur in the facility, you’ll be able to find ways that the elimination of this waste can also make your facility safer.
Manufacturing Safety Tip #7 – Implement a Dress Code or Uniform
The clothing people wear at work can have a very significant impact on their overall safety. While having a relaxed dress code can have some benefits, it can also cause unnecessary risks. Enforcing a dress code or uniform in your facility can help you to standardize what people are wearing, so you can make sure everyone is as safe as possible.
Consider the following benefits of this manufacturing safety tip:
- No Loose Jewelry – Wearing necklaces or bracelets that can hang away from the body can be potentially very dangerous. Eliminating this as an option can help to keep everyone safer.
- Easier to See – If you implement a uniform that is brightly colored or otherwise easy to see, you can improve the visual environment. The easier it is to see other employees, the less likely an accident will occur.
- Eliminate Loose Clothing – If you don’t allow neck ties or other loose clothing, it can’t get caught in a machine.
- No Damaging Items – If people wear a watch, earring, hat or other items that could fall off it could cause damage to the machinery.
As you can see, there are many advantages to having and enforcing a dress code or uniform. The most important part of this tip, however, is taking the time to plan it out so you implement changes that will be as effective as possible.
Putting Safety First
The most important thing with these seven manufacturing safety tips, or any safety effort, is to always think about safety as part of every decision made within the facility. Whether you’re implementing new policies or developing a new product, consider how safety will be impacted and what you can do to improve the overall safety of your facility.