Preventing workplace injuries must be a top priority for anyone working in manufacturing. From business owners to the individuals on the shop floor, a safe work environment benefits everyone. Manufacturing has come so far from it’s early days, but there is still much work to be done. Below we will offer four tips on how to ensure the workforce is as safe as possible.
1) Making Safety A Part Of The Businesses Culture
Often times manufacturers working in the industry for years become complacent when it comes to safety. Even those that are just starting out may pick up these bad habits from their colleagues. It begins to cause a chain reaction, creating an environment where it’s almost acceptable to go against proper safety procedures. This issue begins at the c-suite and trickles down all the way until it reaches the shop floor. If not enough emphasis is placed on safety practices, the issue will only continue to get worse.
It’s vital that safety is a major part of a company’s culture. When new employees make their way to a manufacturing business, an emphasis must be placed on safety. For employees already working on the floor, regular safety checks and incentives for safe work are essential. A common practice for incentives for a workforce that continues to avoid injuries is some kind of prize at the end of a month, quarter or some other specific amount of time. Businesses can offer a cookout or a raffle for a shift that didn’t report any injuries. Employees will go out of their way to stay safe to reap the rewards, creating a culture focused on safety. There are of course other ways to encourage the workforce to work safer, the only limit is creativity.
Personal protection equipment (PPE) is key when it comes to employee safety. It’s imperative that manufacturers have access to the right kind of PPE for the task at hand. Furthermore, if the PPE equipment is outdated or aging, it could actually increase the risk of injury. Manufacturers must seek out their employees on the shop floor and ask what PPE they feel they should have. If an employee switches tasks often, ask where PPE can be placed to ensure they have quick access to the equipment so it doesn’t impact efficiency. It’s common for employees to forgo safety equipment for the sake of efficiency and productivity. This needs to be addressed by business owners. Manufacturers will end up paying much more for lawsuits or in workers compensation than the small amount of productivity gained by opting not to take the time for workers to protect themselves.
3) A Clean and Organized Work Environment
Trips, falls or even reaching around a messy workstation can pose serious hazards to a manufacturer. This can be associated with workplace culture as well. Encouraging and enforcing the fact that the workspace must be organized and clean can go a long way in regard to workplace safety. Regular walkthroughs of a facility by management can ensure a workplace is kept clean. It’s not difficult to spot when the work environment becomes unorganized and dangerous. This needs to be an ongoing process and not just a monthly task employees are required to comply with. Emphasize the importance of good housekeeping and encourage employees to keep their colleagues safe by keeping their workstations clean and organized.
An unsafe work environment might stem from improper training. The possibility exists that an employee isn’t aware of some of the potential dangers around the manufacturing shop floor. Regular safety training and ensuring new employees were taught proper safety practices before they begin work will be key in avoiding injuries around the shop. A manufacturing business has an opportunity to build proper safety culture from the foundation up by utilizing a safety training program. Safety training has a tendency to become an afterthought, let this be the primary point of focus of any new employees orientation. It doesn’t just show that the business is trying to avoid lawsuits, but that they really do care about the wellbeing of their workforce.
Safety must be a top priority in any manufacturing business. The industry has come a long way, but there’s still room to improve. Using the advice listed above can be a great start to ensuring the workforce stays safe and healthy. From improving employee morale to keeping individuals at work rather than recovering from an injury, keeping employees safe will have a monumental impact on a business.