An industrial manufacturing company must strive to stay fully operational, productive and profitable every day in order to remain competitive in today's dynamic marketplace. One of the key methods to achieving this is to ensure the health and safety of workers.
Protecting employee health and safety should be a top priority for a number of reasons. To name just a few:
- It minimises the risk of injury and sickness, along with their associated impacts to business.
- It ensures higher production rates and increased motivation among workers, who will feel more secure and cared for.
- It is a clear indicator of your company's culture and values.
- It protects your equipment and other assets from costly damage and downtime.
Simply put: to ensure longevity in business, you will want to put the health & safety of your staff first. Below are some of our top tips for improving worker safety.
Ensure that you provide thorough training to your employees
Training is one of the keys to worker safety. When your staff know how to properly use equipment and minimise hazards in their daily work, you can reduce costs and downtime, protecting your staff and your company as a result.
Staff should be fully trained for their specific jobs. Whether your processes involve electrical risks, harsh chemicals, or hazardous machine operations, workers must understand best practices and how to keep themselves and coworkers safe.
It’s a good idea to bring in outside experts who can customise training programmes to employee roles and teach the correct procedures for equipment operation, maintenance, troubleshooting, and incident reporting.
Employees must also learn how to mitigate physical stress from lifting, straining, or other ergonomic issues, and what tools they should use to make the work easier.
Automate your workplace
With automation, work can be completed at lower cost and with greater precision, and your employees can be kept safer than ever. Because the costs of automated equipment have generally stayed constant or decreased relative to labour costs, small and medium-sized companies are finding it increasingly affordable.
Automation is transforming businesses and keeping workers safe in a few crucial ways. For one, automated systems such as palletizers, conveyors, and robotic arms can take over repetitive labour that causes musculoskeletal wear and tear in humans over time.
Also, computer-integrated safety systems using cameras, sensors, and other technologies can instantly alert workers and supervisors to unsafe conditions, which minimises injury risk on the floor.
While there have been concerns about automation taking jobs away, this does not have to be the case. You can invest in upskilling staff for more strategic value-adding roles providing the means to take your business to the next level.
Conduct regular preventative maintenance on machinery and equipment
When machines malfunction, they can quickly become a significant safety hazard.
It’s critical to set up detailed procedures for inspecting and maintaining your equipment on a regular basis. These plans should indicate how regularly servicing should take place, who should perform it, how issues should be fixed, and how machines should be tested and re-commissioned. Accurate records should be kept of all service visits.
Employees also must play an active role. Even built-in safety mechanisms themselves can fail. Workers must be trained to recognise unusual, hazardous signs from machines and promptly report issues to a supervisor.
Hold regular discussions about workplace safety
Adopting safer manufacturing processes takes more than a one-time discussion. It involves ongoing communication.
It all starts with a strong safety culture, where employees feel welcome to approach you about any questions or concerns they have surrounding health and safety.
It’s also important to hold regular discussions about safety issues. This will keep everyone conscious and accountable about their personal stake in workplace safety, and remove all doubt about what to do if something should go wrong.
Guaranteeing a safer work environment takes a comprehensive, hands-on approach. Better safety in industrial manufacturing comes through a mix of thorough training, automation, regular maintenance and open communication. Once all the pieces are in place, you can rest assured you’re taking the best possible care of your employees and your business.