Tips for Implementing Safety Management in Manufacturing Industry
Workplace safety should be the top concern for every manufacturing company. Not only it’s very important to prevent workplace injuries and accidents, but proper implementation of a safety management system can also help the company to perform better in achieving its goals.
Safety issues can lead to long-term reputational damages, as well as obvious financial implications. So, it’s very important to pay extra attention to safety management implementation before accidents and injuries do happen.
In 2019, there are over 5,000 fatal work injuries recorded in the U.S., with work-related injury and illness rate being 2.8 cases per 100 workers in 2019. Although the numbers are much better than what we have in the 70s (more than 10 cases per 100 workers in 1972), there’s still a long way to go.
With that being said, there is always room for improvement even if you’ve implemented safety management in your manufacturing company, and below we will discuss some actionable tips for implementing safety management in the manufacturing industry.
1. Immediate Reporting of Unsafe Conditions Is Key
It’s very important to encourage employees to take initiative when they see something that could potentially hurt others. If the employee is able to fix it, encourage them to do so, if not, make sure the situation is reported to the supervisor or responsible manager as soon as possible.
Having a clear reporting system in place can significantly help in this purpose, and having a safety management system software like iReportSource can help employees to easily report unsafe conditions without involving too much paperwork.
Well-documented reports are a crucial foundation for a proper safety management implementation to ensure the commitment of both management and employees of the manufacturing company in implementing a safety management system.
If you are a manager or supervisor, make sure to take immediate actions to fix the reported unsafe situations and potential hazards.
2. Avoid Violating OSHA Guidelines
According to OSHA, there are five most frequent safety violations in the manufacturing industry, which can be considered your biggest risk areas:
- Machine guarding: it’s very important to implement machine guarding to protect the usage of certain equipment, which is essentially implementing guards (barriers) between dangerous parts and machine operators. Check out OSHA’s Machine Guarding standard here.
- Lockout/Tagout: Check out OSHA’s Lockout/Tagout, or LOTO, and make sure your employees have met the requirements in depowering dangerous machines to control hazardous energy.
- Hazard communication: make sure your manufacturing company has met OSHA’s Hazard Communication standard to ensure you are properly tracking and labeling dangerous chemicals in the workplace, as well as establishing training and communication policies on chemical usage.
- Respiratory protection: Make sure your company has met OSHA’s Respiratory Protection standard to minimize employee’s exposure to dangerous air.
- Electrical wiring: make sure to meet OSHA’s various electrical wiring standards to avoid electrical hazards and ensure electrical safety compliance.
3. Identify Potential Hazards
Properly identify everything that can be potential hazards as a foundation for your manufacturing company’s safety protocols.
In general, you should list:
- The product the manufacturing company manufactures and other services it provides
- All machinery and equipment that are exposed and/or must be operated by employees
- List any hazardous chemicals present in the workplace
- Potential areas where fall risks can happen
- Potential hazards for:
In short, identify anything that your employees can be exposed to so you can create safety protocols to cover these risks.
By properly creating clear protocols and policies, as well as preparing actionable checklists, you can effectively reduce the chances of incidents and automate the flow of information.
4. Ensure Proper Usage of Equipment and Machines
According to OSHA, there are five core rules of equipment usages to reduce incidents and hazards when handling equipment and machines:
- Make sure the employee is using the right equipment for the right job
- Make sure tools and equipment are in good working condition at all times. Establish regular maintenance
- Develop a safety checklist for potentially hazardous equipment, require the operator to perform a careful examination of this equipment for damage before use based on this checklist
- Make sure the tools are operated according to the manufacturing instructions
- Use the right protective equipment when required
5. Establish Safety Culture
You can’t ensure a safe workplace environment just by establishing policies and protocols, but it can only be achieved by ensuring safety culture is properly ingrained throughout the manufacturing company: every single employee and member of the management team must feel responsible for safety.
Communication is key here, and so you’ll need to conduct safety meetings regularly.
Nowadays, we can use various technologies to conduct virtual meetings, providing more versatility besides the rigid on-site meeting schedule.
At the very least, you should conduct safety meetings once every 3 months, but the more frequent it is, the better.
- Keep the meetings at a proper length around 20-40 minutes long
- Involve your staff in creating the meeting’s agenda, gather their feedback, and give them a chance to communicate their issues
- Focus on one agenda at a time
- Document everything properly
6. Regularly Establish Safety Training To Employees
Manufacturing safety training is very important to make sure workers can do their jobs well and reduce risks of incidents. Make safety training mandatory in onboarding new employees, and conduct regular training periodically.
Make sure to train workers when your manufacturing company use new machines and equipment, when new regulations and policies are in place, or when you introduce new processes to the factory.
Again, safety management tools like iReportSource provide an easier way for you to establish a training schedule and keep track of employee’s participation in each training module.