Tips for Maximizing Safety in a Manufacturing Environment
Working in manufacturing often comes with serious health hazards for those who’re not careful, and it’s important for employers to do everything in their power to minimize the risk for those who work under them. There are various regulations around that, and those have to be observed in any case – but there’s often an opportunity to go beyond that in promoting a safe, productive working environment in a manufacturing plant. Let’s take a look at some of the easiest ways to go about it.
Enforce Strict Lockout Procedures
Working with heavy, complex machinery should always be done with strict lockout procedures in place. When someone needs to go inside a machine to perform maintenance on it, or just as part of their daily tasks, you must have a tagging system to ensure that nobody gets accidentally stuck inside while someone turns on the device.
Depending on where your plant is located, this will often be a strict legal requirement. But don’t just do the bare minimum, and ensure that the system is convenient enough to use for everyone. Enforce penalties to those who ignore the regulations. Get harsh if you have to – this is about the safety of everyone who works in that environment.
Improve the Physical Layout in Heavy Traffic Areas
Reducing traffic in busy areas can also go a long way towards improving the overall safety of the plant. This can sometimes be as simple as rearranging some workstations and placing a few signs to improve navigation. But there are often more complex approaches available, and some of them can bring significant improvements.
Take elevation differences for example – stairs aren’t the only way to shift people between floors. Look into elevator applications for different use cases, and consider installing some new elevators in strategic locations, especially when it comes to moving heavy equipment around on a regular basis – this should ideally be as isolated as possible from regular foot traffic.
Don’t forget that these ideas have to be kept in check as the plant continues to grow. Working procedures are going to evolve, and some of the old safety practices you’re currently enforcing might no longer be relevant. Reevaluate your situation as often as possible, ideally consulting an outside expert. Take note of everything that needs to be addressed. Even if you don’t plan on actually making those changes right away, you should at least maintain a list of everything that needs to be done, and rank those tasks accordingly.
Listen for feedback as well! Your employees working on the ground floor will often have some valuable input about how things could be improved, and you might not always be able to see those opportunities from a top-down perspective. Of course, you don’t need to take every single comment into account. Part of your job as a leader is to filter the good comments from the bad ones. But in the end, as long as you show your employees that their feedback is valued and that you’re willing to do everything in your power to ensure their safety, this will have a huge impact on morale.