It's time to take Safety Personal
June 29, 2018
Facility Safety,Safety/Meeting OSHA Standards
Advances and improvements in safety over the last few decades have resulted in significant improvements in injury rates across many sectors.Companies, whose business has been machine protection and facility safety, have succeeded through the years in making their product more advanced, longer serving and less costly. Products as complex as machine guards, bellows, waycovers and as simple as railings and yellow lines on the floor, certainly help reduce the occurrence of inquiries and many of them nowadays are mandatory in the shop environment.
However, despite of billions spend each year on safety, this doesn’t seem to be enough. Approximately 400,000 serious injuries reported annually, with over 353 workplace fatalities. Injury and illnesses reports in manufacturing have higher injjury rates than construction, oil and gas, mining, quarrying and transportation. Roughly 4 in every 100 manufacturing workers are injured or become ill on the job every year. In addition, the cultures of many companies still emphasize productivity over safety, exposing their employees to serious injuries. If the management solely evaluates the workers on production output, employees will learn to favor productivity at the expense of safety.
These are 5 top manufacturing safety hazards, which are facing the sector as a whole, and steps the companies can take to avoid them.
Falls are among top 3 leading causes of injury and death among American workers.
Solution: Manufacturers should implement comprehensive fall protection measures at the facility, such as pit/way covers, machine enclosures, lift table bellows etc. Easy-to-follow safety procedures will make them likely to be followed. Employees should receive a proper safety training and get breaks throughout the day to avoid fatigue
2. Poor maintenance
Machinery that is in poor shape or not properly maintained, can be very dangerous. Also, aging facilities that are not systematically updated, are full of risks, both hidden and out in the open.
Solution: Proper equipment and facility maintenance performed regularly. Machine guarding is essential to keep workers safe. Far too often, OSHA cites manufacturers for exposing employees to poorly installed, broken or absent machine guards. Onsite workers should not attempt repair malfunctioning equipment on their own and machinery, including safety and machine protection equipment) should be shut down immediately for repairs.
3. Unrestricted access
Work sites should only be open to people who are trained and paid to be there.
Solution: Restricted areas should be identified with signs, tape, platforms, fencing, gates and guarding. Workers must be trained to report any unauthorized people in the facility. Management needs to consistently reinforce and communicate their safety expectations to their employees.
4. Poor employee training
Working with dangerous equipment and moving objects requires an appropriate training. Many companies believe they have a good training program in place, but in fact it does not follow the current best practices on how to keep their workers safe and equipment working properly.
Solution: Proper training of employees and investing in workers’ protection equipment is company’s best defense against hazards. Workers should be exposed to periodic safety training, especially when machines are upgraded and replaced, the training should be repeated. This includes response to emergencies, injuries, who to contact in case of emergency and how and when to evacuate the facility.
5. Carelessness and fatigue
Most workplace accidents can be prevented by simply being alert. Employees who grow complacent about safety can put himself and their coworkers in danger. Also, working long shifts in fast-paced environment with few breaks created fatigue which is a common contributor of workplace accidents.
Solution: Safety codes should be strictly enforced, and employees should be required to be vigilant at all times. Providing support, sufficient break time and extra safety equipment will help workers prevent careless mistakes.
Ultimately, no matter how technologically advanced the products have become, and how strong is the physical barrier, put between the worker and the workplace exposures, ultimately safety depends on each individual’s internal safety traits. Any manufacturing facility is only as safe as the people working in it. A safe workplace starts at the top levels of the manufacturing company, which sets the tone and values for the entire workplace. Safety should be a part of every worker’s DNA. Each person needs to understand his or her own personal at-risk behaviors and determine their safety behavior. It is every worker’s responsibility to know the limits of the equipment he/she is working with and be able to spot the warning sighs immediately. Better safety culture, along with appropriate workers protection equipment will build safety habits that will go from enforceable rule to something that happens automatically.