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Manufacturers can do more to boost safety

10/17/2018

Manufacturers can do more to boost safety

There are many dangers inherent to workers in just about any manufacturing facility, and this is often accepted as a fact of life in the industry. However, the good news is companies and workers alike see they have plenty to do when it comes to reducing those risks to a minimum level, or even eliminating them completely. A little work in this regard can go a long way toward eliminating hazards, making everything in the factory more efficient.

Perhaps the most important way for companies to reasonably assess their safety concerns is to start with the big, loud and potentially dangerous machines that work around the clock to ensure production stays on schedule, according the Manufacturing.net. There are three questions worth asking, relating to what hazards exist in operating these machines, what kind of harm those risks could cause for an unawares worker, and how the potential pitfalls can be reduced or eliminated.

Often, the answers revolve, in some ways, around proper training techniques and reinforcement, the report said. All too often, accidents happen because well-trained workers let their concentration slip, so it's important for manufacturers to not only make sure their workers know how to safely do their jobs while using heavy machinery, but that they continually hold safety reminders to help ensure everyone is going to stay vigilant.

Considering the future
Of course, many manufacturers are now looking at situations where they will have to adopt more automation in the near future, and there are some that have already done so, according to EHS Today. Adding robots of just about any kind can really change the calculus for workplace safety, and companies and workers alike have to account for their presence in manufacturing settings.

For instance, one of the biggest issues factories seem to be adopting robots for is heavy lifting and transporting pallets, the report said. This can reduce the risk of human error in operating forklifts, for instance. At the same time, this presents new hazards for employees to be aware of on an ongoing basis, as machines ferry large loads throughout a facility somewhat less conspicuously than a traditional forklift operated by a human.

Getting employees involved
When companies are trying to boost safety, they need buy-in from everyone to ensure that all aspects of their operations are flowing efficiently and safely, according to a separate EHS Today report. To that end, some businesses may find success by "gamifying" the safety experience by setting up points systems and rewarding individuals or teams at the end of a given period, such as a month or year. That can help to not only set baselines for expectations, but increase employee engagement..

When companies take a hard look at their safety records, they may be surprised at what they find. Every effort to reduce workplace accidents can and should be undertaken on a regular basis, as this can not only ensure a healthy and happy workforce, but also ensure there are no disruptions to the production process that is the lifeblood of any manufacturing company.

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