Safety in the Manufacturing Industry
In every industry, safety is always in mind to be the number one concern of a company. Some take it more seriously than others, but in this blog, we hope to clarify why safety should never be sacrificed for productivity, a sales goal, to meet a deadline, or anything else that would come to mind. We understand that having the proper safety labels and procedures present can make all the difference when making safe choices. Manufacturing safety and compliance, after all, is what allows teams to be as productive as possible without sacrificing their own safety. Working safety also prevents costly disruptions and downtime.
Why Safety is Important in the Manufacturing Industry
Safety in the manufacturing industry is of the utmost importance for a variety of reasons, but none more important than keeping everyone working alive and well. Anyone who works in manufacturing is well aware of the many hazards that come with their work environment. The main problem is that oftentimes, other priorities appear to get in the way. It is not an issue of employers actively trying to create an unsafe work environment, but rather it is a result of outside pressures to keep costs down, beat out competitors, and return a profit. The easiest way to create a productive work environment is by first creating a safe one, though.
What Are Examples of Safety Measures?
Safety measures are put into place to ensure that everyone working is not going to be put into dangerous situations in order to perform the duties of their job. The first step to implementing effective safety procedures is to perform a risk assessment. This can be on a process, piece of equipment, or anything you deem to be a possible safety risk. There are myriad ways to implement safety measures according to the type of manufacturing being performed, but here are a few great examples:
- Tools and machinery need to be maintained regularly and replaced when necessary. There should also be proper labeling and signage on or around these items.
- Anyone working near or handling chemicals need to be outfitted with the proper personal protective equipment (PPE).
- Always inspect the working area for exposed electrical circuits or wires before work begins.
Properly analyzing a potential risk is a proactive way to ensure that safety standards are upheld. It would be advisable to have a safety unit or team walk the building at least once a month to look for areas that might lead to potential safety hazards. This team would then be able to present the data in a clear and concise manner to management to ensure the proper changes get made. A great way to share this information is with the popular bow tie model.
What Is Safety in the Manufacturing Process?
The specifics of what keeps everyone safe will differ depending on what type of manufacturing is taking place. That being said, there are still elements of safety that transfer across all realms of work. The operating procedures for saws, lathes, drills, presses, welding equipment, cutting tools, and other machine tools should be clearly detailed either on the machine or available to employees before use. The specific brand of tools or machinery will have minor differences in operation, but the safest way to operate them should always be clear. If you are looking for something to make this easier, our DuraLink software brings together our durable, high-quality labels and variable printing capabilities with a QR code or TEXT TO functionality and a progressive web application.
Here is a brief list of safety procedures in the manufacturing process.
Personal protective equipment (PPE) - Anything from goggles, gloves, boots, high visibility vests, etc. Everyone working should know how to check, wear, and maintain PPE.
Hazardous materials/waste - If you deal with hazardous materials, you need to be able to identify them from a safe distance. Bright and clear labels allow anyone to know what kind of material they are working with.
Workplace sanitation - One of the ways to keep your workplace safe is by everyday routine cleaning of equipment and workspaces. Making sure hazards that are in the path of where someone would walk also falls into this category. In general, keep visible signs around reminding everyone to keep the workplace clean.
Regular health & safety training - The training you received when you first started a job or got a new certification can sometimes get lost over time. To remedy this, we recommend having regular training on all health and safety tips. As with everything else listed, applying labels and signs around the workplace to drive home these tips is always recommended as well.
All of these tips and more aim to keep the workplace safe for all those inside and outside. It takes an entire team effort to make sure these kinds of rules are properly followed.
The specific OSHA requirements for manufacturing facilities vary depending on the industry as well. Thankfully, OSHA has developed a number of compliance assistance resources that are broken down into specific industries. Taking the necessary precautions not only protects everyone who is working hard at their job, but those they must come into contact with to complete their work.
Importance of Safety Precautions for COVID-19
While Covid has made the workplace more difficult to operate in, there are precautions to be taken to ensure the health and safety of those around you. We recommend checking with your local and federal laws on Covid regulations to make the best decision. It is also important to check the OSHA regulations on working during Covid, especially if you work in an area with a higher risk of infection.
10 Reasons Why Workplace Safety Is Important
Workplace safety is a serious aspect of every work environment. Creating a safe work environment is not only about productivity but about making sure each and every employee arrives home the same way they came into work. Here are just 10 examples of why workplace safety is important.
1. Lower Risk of Workplace Injuries - Workplace injuries happen more often than you may think, and more importantly, oftentimes they could have been avoided. If the injury is serious enough, it can have a devastating effect on the worker’s life. Encouraging your employees or coworkers to speak up if they notice anything that could compromise worker safety is a great way to decrease the number of workplace injuries that take place.
2. Safety is Cost-Effective - While profits and margins will never be more important than safety, it is helpful to understand that the more safe a work environment is, the more money can be saved and spent elsewhere. From worker’s compensation to employees leaving and thus needing their spot to be filled, an unsafe workplace can easily start to bleed a company if not taken care of.
3. Reduce Stress - An unsafe work environment can not only cause physical injuries, but it can just as well impact the mind of a team. If an employee is worried about how safe their job tasks are, they are more likely to make a mistake that could lead to an injury for themselves or someone else.
4. Better Quality Work & Product - Implementation of safety practices and creating an environment for employees to work safely leads to employees caring about their work and or product.
5. Customers Like Safety Too - If your business has a reputation for taking care of its employees just as much as they care about making a high-quality product/service, then more customers will want to shop from you. Customers want to buy products and services that are produced ethically, and if your business is in the news for poor working conditions, then customers will have no problem looking elsewhere.
6. Stronger Workforce - As the workforce drastically changes into a post-Covid world, more job seekers are setting higher standards for where they would like to work. If you are able to set yourself apart as a fair and safe employer, then you will see an increase in quality job applications.
7. Longer Lasting Equipment - Often in the manufacturing industry, heavy or complex machinery is used on a daily basis. Having clear instructions labeled all over the building and on the equipment itself not only helps with productivity but decreases the likelihood of damage to this equipment that is often quite expensive.
8. It Is the Law - While it might not always be at the forefront of an employer’s mind, it is required by law that you create and maintain a safe work environment. OSHA and national labor laws are set in place to keep employers in check as these regulations are mandatory, and failure to comply will earn you prosecution or possibly lead to a shutdown.
9. Protect the Most Important Asset - No matter the industry, people are the most important asset to a business. If the people working for your company are safe and happy, your business will have a much better chance of success.
10. Healthy & Continuous Growth - At the end of the day, after you make sure your employees are working in a safe environment you still need to make a profit. Safety and business growth happen to go hand-in-hand. As previously mentioned in other points in this list, people want to work for safe companies. Then, those safe employees will work harder to create the best possible end product.
What Are the Most Common Hazards in the Factory?
The manufacturing industry is quite demanding on all those involved—therefore, it is pertinent that everyone works together to ensure that hazards in the workplace are properly addressed. Depending on the type of industry you are in, this will change what kind of hazards are more likely to occur, but there are some that occur across all kinds of factories and industries that are worthy of being addressed.
Falls, trips, and slips are all common workplace hazards and are some of the most easily fixed hazards out there. General cleanup at the end of a workday can often clear out anything that would cause these accidents to occur.
Moreover, having the proper signs and labeling in areas where hazards are more likely to occur is a great way to keep a safe workspace. Heavy machinery is often commonplace in large factories, and while going long periods of time without an incident is a good thing, it can also lead to complacency with safety measures.
Powered Industrial Trucks (PIT) can weigh thousands of pounds (sometimes even more than a car) and move upwards of 10mph. Proper training on this equipment should occur regularly, and a safe operational guide should always be easily accessible.
DuraMark: Your One-Stop Resource for Safety Labels and Durable Decals
We at DuraMark partner with each of our customers to establish programs that ensure compliance and durability. We don’t just provide labels, we work tirelessly to craft the perfect label for your needs. Remember the importance of workplace safety, and the difference between a quality label on a piece of equipment that might just save a life.