Top Safety Hazards to Avoid in the Manufacturing Industry
The manufacturing industry encompasses different fields and companies with different operational practices and unique safety risks. The industry is plagued by dozens of safety risks and hazards that employers and safety officers should prioritise protecting their workforce against. We have prepared a list of major safety hazards that should be addressed in the manufacturing sector to keep the workers and the business safe.
- Slips and Falls
Slips and falls are among the major causes of injuries, time offs, and deaths in the manufacturing industry. These hazards are an ever-present danger to the personnel especially when walking or working on raised areas such as ladders and roofs. Proper fall protection equipment and employee training are essential to reduce and eliminate these hazards in the workplace. Workers should always wear the right safety gear when working in areas with possible fall hazards. You should also ensure availability of access equipment such as fixed access ladders in areas that could otherwise be challenging to access.
- Chemical Hazards
Workers in manufacturing workplaces manage and handle hazardous chemicals such as acids and flammable substances more often. It’s imperative that such workers are trained on how to handle the chemicals correctly and safely. This should include safe ways to move, load, and operate processes involving different hazardous chemicals. However, unforeseen circumstances can occur and the workers may be in danger. Employers should train their workers on how to properly handle exposure to chemicals.
Safety instructions and guidelines should be available nearby to aid workers in their decision-making regarding exposure to different chemicals. Ensure to provide your workers with the necessary safety gear such as gloves and face masks for safety when dealing with different chemicals. Dangerous chemicals should also bear clear and visible labels to alert the workers about potential hazards.
- Heavy Machinery
This is another prevalent risk factor in most manufacturing workplaces. Heavy machinery is responsible for several accidents that could result in injuries, loss of lives, and the potential to damage goods. The pressure to meet unreasonable deadlines can cause some workers to practice unsafe actions that could put their lives and those around them in danger. For instance, forklift drivers could try to cut corners, drive with too large loads, or drive too close to machinery. Employers and supervisors should make reasonable expectations of the workers and always emphasize the importance of putting safety first.
Most machines are designed to handle hard materials such as metal and wood, which makes them more dangerous to human flesh. Workers should be trained and re-trained on proper safety practices when working on and around machinery. All machines should also be properly guarded by rails and clearly marked safe distance to keep the workers safe. Supervisors and machine operators should not allow unauthorised persons to operate the equipment.
Many manufacturing processes involve combustion and welding equipment. Although these pieces of equipment produce controlled flames, the fires could get out of control causing fires. Electrical and lighting systems can also cause fires in the workplace. These put both the workers and the business at risk. Manufacturing workplaces should be fitted with smoke detectors and sprinklers to help put out the fires before they cause too much damage and injuries. Multiple fire extinguishers and well-marked fire exits should also be available at strategic places throughout the workplace. Employers should arrange for regular fire drills to ensure the workers are prepared and ready in case of any fires.