To people outside the industry, manufacturing can sound inherently dangerous. Powerful machines, big vehicles moving around, toxic and flammable substances, and other hazards are all typical hazards present at many manufacturing sites.
The truth is that a mix of regulatory oversight and powerful management incentives have worked to make manufacturing a remarkably safe sector of the economy.
Of course, that doesn’t mean many manufacturers can’t be doing more to improve their safety culture and standards. Getting too comfortable with an old way of operating, or not changing procedures as equipment or standards evolve, can leave hidden problems unresolved.
A safety program not only needs to avoid common manufacturing safety topics, it also needs to proactively anticipate and address potential new hazards. That can be a challenge.
4 Safety Tips for Manufacturing Plants
Making a manufacturing operation safe takes a multichannel approach. Safety in the manufacturing industry begins with a business’s shared values and culture and ends with a nuts-and-bolts analysis of the hazards presented in each process on a site.
Examples of safety precautions in the manufacturing industry that can be taken to upgrade any operation, regardless of where it is in its safety development, include:
1. Practice Empowerment
The employees who are best positioned to recognize a safety problem need the authority to stop work and speak up. Offering incentives to encourage employees to enhance your safety standards in manufacturing can be a powerful way to identify weaknesses in existing practices.
2. Conduct Regular Independent Safety Audits
Rapid technological change is transforming the way manufacturers do business. Keeping risk assessments current can be difficult, especially amidst the day-to-day routine. An independent audit offers a fresh perspective on how changes have altered safety dynamics, and opportunities to improve old habits.
3. Know the Most Common Sources of Risk
OSHA routinely publishes data about standards violations to give employers insights into areas where their peers are not doing as well as they could. For example, in 2018 the top 10 violations included hazard communication and hazardous energy lockout/tagout standards, both of which are crucially important to occupational health and safety in manufacturing industries.
4. Give the Safety Manager Adequate Resources
New or small businesses will sometimes give the role of safety manager to someone who also has another job. But even a full-time safety manager can struggle to maintain a high standard if the resources aren’t available to do the job well.
Safety is a complex topic, so the safety manager should have regular access to training, reference materials, and third-party advice. The safety manager also needs to have the authority to make decisions and implement improvements.
Partner with DXP to Improve Your Manufacturing Safety Today
The DXP Safety Division provides comprehensive industrial fire and safety services to businesses in a broad spectrum of industries, including manufacturing. Our team understands the challenges manufacturers face as they try to balance tight deadlines, strict budgets, and the overarching importance of a safe workplace.