The manufacturing industry is critical for a wide range of products, from apparel and consumer electronics to automobiles and furniture. While these items and their manufacturing processes are essential to our lives, the industry faces various safety risks that can harm employees and companies alike.
Through safety protocols in manufacturing, facilities can protect their teams, equipment and businesses.
The Importance of Manufacturing Workplace Safety
In an industry like manufacturing, employees work with heavy machinery and hazardous processes that can lead to injuries and fatalities on the job. Manufacturing occupations make up 5% of workers in the United States and 8% of workplace fatalities. With over 13 million employees at risk, employing manufacturing safety best practices can protect many people.
While manufacturing processes put your team at risk, these injuries also come with additional costs. Workplace injury costs totaled about $163.9 billion in 2020, including productivity losses, medical costs, administrative expenses, property losses and more. Injuries in the workplace accumulate extensive costs, and they can be challenging to recover from.
Safety protocols in manufacturing help safeguard employees and companies.
9 Safety Best Practices for Manufacturing
With the following workplace safety tips in manufacturing, supervisors and employees can protect one another and reduce the likelihood of injury.
1. Use Equipment, Machines and Tools as Intended
Every piece of machinery and equipment your team uses will come with user manuals. To keep your team safe and productive, it’s vital to maintain all operational standards for these tools. When employees operate equipment improperly, they risk getting injured or breaking the machinery.
2. Wear Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
Safety gear is one of the first lines of defense for manufacturing employees working with dangerous machinery or hazardous materials. PPE requirements will vary depending on the task at hand, but potential gear includes:
- Respiratory masks: When handling toxic substances, respiratory equipment prevents workers from breathing in unhealthy fumes.
- Headgear: Hard hats are essential for preventing extensive head injuries should something fall at your facility.
- Eyewear: About 2,000 workers experience eye injuries per day. With this risk so prevalent across industries, protective eyewear is a must.
- Hand and skin protection: From harmful chemicals to handling sharp objects or machinery, protecting bare skin can prevent minor injuries and health emergencies. Requiring work gloves and long sleeves and pants is a widely accepted best practice.
- Earplugs or headphones: While hearing loss may not feel like an emergency compared to major injuries, it can come with other effects like migraines and tinnitus. If your facility is exceedingly loud, earplugs or headphones are a wise choice.
3. Follow the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)
OSHA has a range of requirements for manufacturing operations to protect employees in emergencies and from potential dangers. These requirements include:
- Emergency action plans
- Hazard communication standards
- Exit route regulations
- Fire prevention plans
- Personal fall protection training and inspections
Implementing these OSHA standards adds an additional layer of protection to your workplace and supports your facility’s compliance.
4. Build and Follow Checklists
Checklists can be a valuable tool for a range of safety processes because they make it easier for employees to remember the steps they need to follow. You can apply these checklists to areas across the plant. Potential areas where you can use them include:
- Locker rooms for wearing and securing PPE
- Individual machines for safe starting, usage and shutdown
- Around the facility regarding emergency protocols, like fires
When you create these checklists, it’s critical to ensure they are easy to find and read in all areas where they are posted. After posting them, provide a general announcement for your team, so they can use them as a reference when needed.
5. Encourage Early Reporting
In safety procedures, the “see something, say something” idea is crucial for catching oversights before an accident occurs. Manufacturing teams should understand the concept of early reporting and know how to alert supervisors about potential risks.
For example, if an employee finds a large crack in a piece of machinery, they should know who to tell and how to work through any other associated procedures for reporting. Facilities will often keep ongoing documentation of these reports to ensure every issue gets the attention it needs.
6. Implement Comprehensive Training Programs
Training forms the foundation employees need to continually implement safe practices on the job. Facility training programs need to be comprehensive and consistent. Every employee should complete the program with a clear understanding of machine usage, inspection requirements, early reporting, emergency protocols and other policies.
7. Promote Frequent Breaks
Worker fatigue poses major risks to employee health and safety. Studies compiled by OSHA show that injuries and accidents are 18% higher during evening shifts and 30% more likely during night shifts. Research also shows that 12-hour days lead to a 37% increase in injury risk.
When employees are tired, they’re less focused and alert. This exhaustion can lead to missed safety protocols and other unsafe behaviors that increase accidents. Encouraging regular breaks can give workers the rest and refresh they need to approach work with a focused mind.
8. Inspect Your Facility Regularly
Inspections can help manufacturing teams identify maintenance requirements, catch potentially unsafe behaviors and develop suggestions for safety practices. Supervisors can handle these inspections with audit checklists.
These audits and inspections can also include a review of recent accidents and injuries to uncover what caused the issue. After this identification, supervisors can implement tactics to prevent them in the future.
9. Establish a Robust Safety Culture
Building awareness of safety protocols and implementing the above safety tips for manufacturers can contribute to a widespread safety culture within your company. Creating this culture will not happen overnight, but the more you encourage strong habits in your team and provide accessible safety resources, the easier it is to make safety an integral part of your facility.
Choose Pro-Cise for Custom Component Manufacturing and Metal Fabrication
Manufacturing facilities can apply a range of safety best practices to protect their employees and assets. These facilities also need to work with component manufacturers that support their safety procedures. At Pro-Cise, we provide the necessary documentation for material traceability to ensure safety in hazardous material handling.
In addition to providing the documentation necessary for safety protocols, Pro-Cise enacts comprehensive quality assurance programs through our ISO 9001:2015 certification and certified welders. Our dedication to quality allows us to deliver functional components that align with project specs.
We believe in forming long-term, trusted relationships with original equipment manufacturers. Our capabilities allow us to support your facility in both safety and quality. Contact us today to learn more about our processes and how we can serve your manufacturing facility. We look forward to working with you.