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Introduction

Accelerating technological advancements coupled with the development of new health and safety regulations, including amendments to existing legislation, have led to improving safety conditions for workers across all industries. Workplace safety is one of the major concerns of every manufacturing company now. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, 4 out of every 100 people in the manufacturing sector are involved in accidents or have job-related illnesses every year. So, companies in the manufacturing industry need to learn from the past incidents, constantly assess the effectiveness of the action plans implemented and improve their health and safety plans, to keep pace with the evolving nature of hazards. Having a proactive risk mitigation game plan is also critical for business continuity.

As a safety leader, are you grappling with how to mitigate safety challenges faced by frontline workers in the manufacturing sector? Would you like to adopt a methodical approach to building an enterprise-wide safety culture?

Listen to this Webinar by ComplianceQuest that offers actionable advice on how to proactively reduce risk in the manufacturing sector.

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Common Safety Hazards in the Manufacturing Sector

A proper health and safety plan is needed across the entire manufacturing lifecycle including production and operations, supply chain, logistics, and customer service.

Here are some top manufacturing safety incidents you need to be aware of:

  • Falls from heights that cause work-related injuries and deaths
  • Long term workplace noise exposure leads to permanent hearing loss
  • Hazards arising from powered industrial trucks
  • Hazards arising from poorly maintained machinery / equipment
  • Being hit by moving or falling objects, including exposed wires, or unlocked electrical panels
  • Being trapped by moving machinery or wrongly installed machine guards
  • Defective lockout-tagout procedures
  • Vehicle incidents
  • Improper use of chemicals, choosing cheaper or ineffective solutions, or not storing them in the right place

Important Tips on Reducing Manufacturing Safety Hazards

Health and safety leaders must be aware of the safety hazards they need to prepare for (specific to their organization) and the environment they operate in and put in place proper plans and procedures by:

  • Efficient Incident Reporting: Ensuring that the process to report incidents is seamless, followed by a detailed study of the reports of incident types and analyzing trends to generate CAPAs
  • Mitigating risks through all reported observations and collaboration and analyze, cost, and prioritize improvements
  • Training by building individual competency for safety and integrating certifications into HR and scheduling these sessions corresponding to the planned calendar
  • Streamlining regulatory compliance by automating submissions and periodic audits

The 7 key tips to reduce manufacturing safety hazards include:

Mitigate Risks by Early Reporting
Employees should report to their supervisor or the responsible manager whenever they spot something wrong which is potentially unsafe so that they can take immediate action.

Create and Follow Checklists to Identify Hazards
Identify the hazard(s) before establishing the safety protocols suited to the company’s processes. To determine potential hazards, one should be aware of the current challenges such as,

  • Multiple siloed systems (or lack of systems) to support health and safety requirements leading to disconnected processes
  • Heavy reliance on paper forms, manual entry, and spreadsheets
  • Low smartphone and tablet utilization, especially in those processes where real-time data collection would make a huge difference
  • Preparing reports for management, often a long drawn process, sometimes leading to outdated information
  • Manual processes that require people to perform extra steps or take offline actions to complete safety reporting
  • Challenges delivering just-in-time operating procedures and training

Once you have identified the challenges, you should prepare checklists for your employees including,

  • Full-cycle safety event tracking
  • Near-miss reporting, hazard mitigation, and safety observations
  • Utilize investigation techniques, results of root cause analysis and CAPA management to quickly implement required process changes
  • Manage the full audit lifecycle to enable auditors to use checklists and online or offline references to complete their work and produce the audit report
  • Configurable dashboards for transparency and to produce reports for clients, regulatory agencies, or the board
  • Enable users to collect and report data via tablets and smartphones, even when internet connectivity is not available

The chances of incidents or injuries will reduce drastically if employees follow the checklists in their day-to-day activities or before using any equipment.

Embed Safety Culture into Your Company’s Core Process
Building a safety-focused company culture in the manufacturing industry provides you a safe workplace and environment where every single employee feels responsible and empowered to alert managers about safety concerns. You should also let your employees know that they are protected by following OSHA-stipulated guidelines and encourage everyone to speak up because a strong safety culture can help promote low injury rates and decrease turnover rates.

Proper Use of Equipment, Tools, and Machines
There are a few basic rules cited by OSHA to help prevent hazards or incidents when handling equipment, tools, and machines:

  • Make sure that the tools/equipment are in good working condition with regular maintenance
  • The right tool must be used for the job
  • Thoroughly examine each tool before using it to detect whether it’s damaged or not
  • Operate tools/equipment as detailed in the SOP document

Listen to Your Employees
You should give your workers the opportunity to keep their workplace safe by discussing what went wrong, what was acted on, and what needs to be fixed. This open approach is critical to building a long-lasting safety culture.

Perform Regular Inspections
You should create audit checklists for the entire company and each supervisor must go through the checklists to review the hazards and safety suggestions within their respective department. You can also review your system to outline all injuries, illnesses, and near misses so that you can create corrective action for each safety concern, and assign a supervisor to complete the action. To create a safe environment for all, you must identify the root cause of hazards.

Deliver Safety Training to Employees
Your workers can deal with any emergency if it occurs or avoid safety hazards if you provide them regular training on all health and safety issues and procedures. Therefore, you should ensure that your personnel are trained enough and safety procedures are updated — even as new processes are introduced or new regulations come up.

How ComplianceQuest EHS Can Help Automate your End-to-End Health & Safety Process

ComplianceQuest’s Health & Safety Management Solution addresses the advanced safety needs of the manufacturing sector.

ComplianceQuest EHS Solution is designed to reduce incidents, enable an enterprise-wide safety culture and encourage employee participation in workplace health and safety processes. With CQ EHS, one can centralize all the incident data, near misses, safety observations, and investigations for implementing agile corrective actions in a single system. It acts as a single source of truth for all health and safety metrics that need to be tracked.

Moreover, the solution is designed to proactively mitigate risks and prevent accidents by detecting a hazardous trend ahead of time using built-in analytics, predictive intelligence, dashboards, and mobile capabilities. By instilling an enterprise-wide safety culture it paves the path to reduce the cost of compensation, improve employee productivity and morale, enhance brand reputation and increase regulatory compliance.

For further information on how to make safety a priority for your manufacturing workforce, check out our webinar, “Could You Do More to Reduce Your Manufacturing Workplace Safety Risks?”

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