Action Audit

5 Ways To Improve Worker Safety At Manufacturing Plants

Antoni Gradowski

Antoni Gradowski


5 Ways To Improve Worker Safety At Manufacturing Plants

Working in a factory can be very dangerous. Heavy machinery, electrical equipment or high temperatures are just some of the hazards that can harm an employee. Safety courses and good practices can prevent many accidents and make employees pay more attention to the safety of themselves and others.

Below we present five best practices to increase worker safety.

1. Personal protective equipment

Personal protective equipment is essential in every factory. Without them, employees put themselves and others at risk.

Different workplaces require different protective measures. For example, workers using or working near a welding machine will need eye and face protection, heat-resistant clothing, and rubber-soled shoes. Such protection protects workers from the electricity, heat and bright light associated with the welding process.

Managers should provide employees with the necessary protective equipment and training in its use. They should also monitor workers and ensure that protective measures are in place at all times.

2. Plant layout and design

Improvements to the workplace layout can prevent some hazards. The introduction of, for example, non-slip floors can prevent falls due to slippery surfaces. Safety nets and handrails work in a similar way.

Clutter in the workplace can have a major impact on safety. Keeping work areas and emergency exits clear gives employees enough space to work efficiently. Cleaning up the clutter will also give you access to all the important control panels.

Safe plant design also means safe storage of toxic and flammable materials.

An efficient ventilation system controls the level of dust which, if accumulated in large amounts, can become a fire hazard and can also cause health problems for employees.

Managers can use tools such as air quality monitors and dust detectors to check the amount of dust in the air. If they notice that the air quality is deteriorating, it is a sign that the filters need to be replaced or air purification tools should be used.

3. Heavy machinery protection

Operating heavy machinery always involves some risk. Understanding and mitigating this risk will make it possible to increase security in the company.

Any part of the machine that could cause injury should be additionally secured. For example, safety barriers can protect workers from accidents involving a hydraulic press or similar machinery.

Machinery is not only dangerous when in use, but also when tipped over or moved. They should be adequately protected against such situations.

4. Workplace ergonomics

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, musculoskeletal disorders are the most common injury category, accounting for 30% of compensation expenses.

These types of injuries are most often caused by unusual or difficult worker movements that strain the muscles.

Training workers in ergonomic movements (e.g. proper spinal flexion) can help prevent muscle strains and injuries. It may also be a good idea to invest in robots that could help employees in more repetitive tasks.

Because poor health and eating habits can increase the risk of injury, encouraging employees to eat healthily, exercise, and visit the doctor often will reduce the chances of injury.

Another factor that increases the risk of injury is a worker's insufficient sleep. For a manager, recognizing fatigue and burnout is the best way to increase the safety of employees who in such a state pose a threat to themselves and others.

5. Training and safety culture in the workplace

PPE and safety protocols only work well when employees know how to use them. Frequent health and safety training will ensure that employees comply with safety rules and use protection measures effectively.

The best training courses are interactive, include practical examples, and train employees in the workplace.

Verification of the effectiveness of these trainings will allow managers to make sure that their subordinates have mastered the health and safety rules and will work safely.

OHS training is also an opportunity to cultivate a safety culture in the workplace. The safest factories are those where employees themselves report strange incidents and hazards and know that taking shortcuts will not be tolerated.

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