Safety 101 – 15 Effective Tips Increase Industrial Safety and Minimize Causalities
Manufacturing businesses double down as one of the most essential parts of the global economy and one of the most dangerous sites to work. Workplace safety is one of the most important aspects of manufacturing and industrial operations for several reasons. Multiple researches can point to millions and millions in costs of hospitalization, fines, lawsuits and in extreme cases, deaths arising from industrial/workplace accidents.
According to the National Safety Council, a worker is injured on a job every 7 seconds. And while safety is verbally encouraged and preached in workshops and industrial hubs, many businesses still do not know how best to minimize causalities and enforce adherence. Other businesses may even consider the time and cost of improving the safety of their facilities excessive. At Firstpart, Health, Safety and Environment (HSE) is a crucial part of our day to day operations. Today’s blog post covers 15 effective methods to minimize causalities and increase workplace safety.
Safety in the workshop may largely refer to physical safety. However, mental and psychological health are also key tenets of workplace and environmental safety. For the purpose of this article, we shall be focusing on physical hazards and risks.
According to the National Safety Council, the most common injuries are soreness, pain, cuts, lacerations punctures, sprains, strains or tears. Also, around 104 million hours of productivity was lost to work-related injuries in 2017. Overexertion was responsible for over 33.5% of workplace injuries
Preventing workplace injuries
Oils and spills
As much as possible, avoid oils and spills from machine fluids, cleansing agents, soap and lubricants. Because of the slippery and adhesive nature of these chemicals, there is risk of slip and fall when an unknowing employee runs or walks into these environments. Use caution signs where necessary and designate slippery floor signage to sanitary personnel that are responsible for cleaning the factory.
From the machine end, check for spills and drips that may result due to damage or machine operations and ensure that they are fixed or clean as the case may be.
Do not handle heavy or any machinery at all when unsure about the directions for use. Also, do not go above the weight or capacity specified for using such machine to avoid sudden collapse or breakdown. When technical issues are detected with machines, consult the maintenance unit immediately and avoid trying to bypass components to get it working again.
Take stretch breaks regularly to reduce backpains and stress concentrations on the spinal cord. Depending on the nature of work, stretch breaks may be taken every 30, 60 or 120 minutes. Encourage your employees to engage active movement during these breaks loosen tension in muscles and joints. Studies have also shown this to lower the risk of muscle injuries.
There is always some form of electrical hazard for every machinery in the workspace. To address this, inspect your machinery for loose or open wires, ensure that the insulators are covering the entire length of the wiring and avoid operating this equipment in wet conditions. For high-voltage equipment, install a clear sign stating the voltage supply in the area and the risk of electrocution.
If your facility has a couple of floors that may be accessed using a staircase, ensure that you pick safety over aesthetics and include hand railings for guidance and protection. These would help both visitors and employees who are using the step and lower the chances of a free fall from the sides of the staircase.
Design and implement a mandatory checklist that must be ticked before factory operations commence and shutdown at the end of each day. These checklists will serve as a guide, ensuring that each item to be inspected was evaluated and certified as okay before any manufacturing began for the day.
The shutdown checklist is also important to prevent the risk of leaving equipment running overnight; an action which has resulted in major fire outbreaks globally over the years.
PPE refers to personal protective equipment. This equipment is mandatory and must be used in manufacturing areas. Depending on the type of processes and operations in the area, the suitable PPE may include face masks, gloves, body suits, boots, helmets, earphones, belts and more.
Soaps and sanitizers
Soaps and sanitizers help to curtail the spread of germs and diseases in the plant. This is particularly important with the spread of the novel coronavirus. Ensure that your employees use a face mask, practice social distancing and sanitize at numerous intervals during operations.
Sanitization also helps to prevent cross contamination across materials in the production unit.
Labels and signs
Labels and signs are clear ways to denote risk and communicate important information. These signs, if generously placed in work areas, will remind even the most experienced workers of the hazards and risks in their day to day operations.
For logistics and operation purposes, factories may have trucks, cranes and forklifts. Keep a speed limit for each category of vehicle or each area of operation with clear labels and signs.
Overexertion is the leading cause of workplace injuries. This is particularly true for workshops and manufacturing hubs. Give a sound warning to all your employees to avoid taking more physical load than they can handle.
Also, emphasize the need for good posture when working to avoid unnecessary strains on the muscles, joints, ligaments and tendons that may result in more serious injuries.
Storage and arrangement
Good floor practices and inventory management means that you have arranged your workshop in a manner that is optimal for operation. Keep heavier parts and materials on or closest to the ground along with frequently used items. This will lower the need for climbing and heavy lifting when looking for an item in the factory.
Ensure that workplace safety trainings are carried out occasionally to enlighten and receive feedback from employees on the latest safety measures that is or can be implemented.
The H.A.C.C.P acronym stands for Hazard analysis and critical control points. This system is designed around taking a preventive approach to workplace hazards by anticipating the hazard and putting a control point to mitigate the risk. Common HACCP practices may include placing extinguishers in heat-sensitive areas, putting railings on staircases and even placing hand washing basins at entrances to the workshop.
Emergency response training
Have a scheduled but undisclosed fire and other emergency response training/drills to help all your employees know how best to respond. Keep extinguishers at strategic points and clean the workshop entry/exit points clear at all times.
It is important to remind employees that once any alarm goes off, nothing should be picked, and everyone is to proceed to the nearest muster point. It is also important to determine what can be left running and what must be shut down in the case of an emergency.
FirstPart Manufacturing in China
FirstPart is one of China’s leading manufacturing hub for Additive, CNC and Conventional manufacturing techniques. We boast of excellent in-house capacity, labor force and logistics while delivering exceptional value for money. Our array of services include CNC machining, 3D printing, Rapid Tooling, Die casting, Rapid prototyping, Plastic Injection Molding, Urethane Casting, Aluminum Extrusion, Post-machining/Finishing services and much more.
For us, safety remains a paramount consideration. This is why all our factories are efficiently equipped to prevent hazard and deal with any circumstances. Since our year of incorporation, we have operated as an incident-free and safety complient manufacturing outlet with strong emphasis on client, employee, patent and business safety and quality.