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How to Improve Industrial Workplace Safety

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Factories used to be incredibly dangerous places. These days, though, all that has changed. Factory owners are now responsible for providing a safe work environment for all of their employees, and there are legal protections in place for workers to ensure that they follow through.

Despite all of the progress that has been made in the last century, industrial settings are still inherently more dangerous than offices and other low-risk work environments.

Keep Equipment Safe

Industrial machines are incredibly powerful. If they malfunction while in use, they can wind up causing serious injuries and even worker mortalities. Newer machines typically feature safeguards not found in older models, so periodic upgrades are a must, as are comprehensive machine guarding systems.

Faith Based Events

Regular equipment maintenance is the key to preventing machining accidents. Make sure the equipment gets cleaned, inspected, and serviced according to schedule, regardless of its age.

Provide Ongoing Training

Comprehensive training is essential for preventing industrial accidents. Every employee should have access to safety training materials and should complete the program before he or she walks onto the production floor.

Implement Targeted Safety Protocols

Workplace safety should be a priority from day one and every new employee should be cleared to perform his or her job according to the company’s established procedures. Hiring managers need to find qualified job candidates who can pay attention to detail and follow all required safety regulations. In most cases, managers can determine whether new hires will prioritize workplace safety based on prior work history, interviews, and a background check.

Use Visual Aids

Safety posters are, or at least should be, a ubiquitous feature in modern factories. They typically depict cartoons of workers performing unsafe actions and often use humor to emphasize the potential consequences of failures to follow proper protocols.

Since workers get used to seeing these visual aids, it may seem like they’re having less of an impact than they should. In reality, they serve as valuable reminders of the importance of emphasizing a culture of safety in the workplace. Just as these visual aids appear normal, safe behaviors will eventually become habits as the culture changes.

Keep Work Areas Clean

Although malfunctioning or improperly used machines garner the most attention when it comes to industrial accidents, a cluttered or wet factory floor can be just as dangerous. Similarly, industrial chemicals can create poor air quality or, if they’re allowed to linger on work surfaces, cause chemical burns. Make sure all the workers know how important it is to clean up spills immediately and put away tools as soon as they’re no longer needed so that the factory floor stays clean and safe.

Perform Safety Audits

The same safety officers responsible for conducting training sessions can also be tasked with identifying potential hazards. Supervisors should establish audit timelines and protocols and delegate the responsibility for performing them to trained worker safety officers or teams.

Maintain Open Lines of Communication

Supervisors can encourage the development of a positive workplace safety culture by maintaining open lines of communication with their team members. In many cases, workers can identify and report hazards that would go unnoticed until the next audit.

Encourage Brief Breaks

Machinists and other factory workers often struggle with tight muscles and joints as a result of the repetitive nature of their jobs. Encourage them to take periodic five-minute breaks to get up and stretch to reduce the potential for developing repetitive motion injuries. Encouraging workers to take periodic breaks can also help them stay focused on the job, increasing productivity and employee satisfaction.

Make Sure Workers Are Using Personal Protective Equipment

Factory workers should always be provided with appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE). The type of PPE required will vary based on each worker’s job responsibilities, but it may include gloves, heavy-duty belts, helmets, or other specialized gear. Employers should always provide adequate and well-fitted PPE to their workers instead of mandating that they purchase their own.

The Bottom Line

Industrial workplaces can be dangerous, but there are plenty of ways for supervisors to ensure that their team members stay safe on the factory floor. Utilize a combination of the techniques described above to start creating a positive workplace safety culture and make sure every team member has the protective equipment and training required to stay safe on the job. As with most things in life, prevention is the best cure for workplace injuries.