Follow these proven manufacturing safety tips and practices to keep your workers safe and productive, and your production line running smoothly.
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Workplace safety is one of the key concerns of every manufacturing company and facility. Get this right and you will help your whole operation’s performance and grow your business. Get it wrong and you will not only lose precious time and money but risk serious injuries and even death among your workers.
With over 100,000 manufacturing workers becoming victims of job-related injuries every year, it’s time to learn from others’ mistakes and improve your manufacturing safety guidelines and safety procedures.
Check out the following tips to help you achieve the best safety practices in manufacturing.
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13 Manufacturing Safety Tips For Creating a Safer Work Environmen
1. Prevent Risks by Early Reporting
Encourage your employees to take the initiative. When it comes to safety, there is no playing it too safe.
Teach your employees that they should flag every safety risk they encounter and be open and proactive about fixing these risks immediately. Whenever your team spots something that has the potential to go wrong, they need to know where and how to report it to their supervisor or the responsible manager.
A dripping hose, an open window, a loose bolt, or even a wet floor might cause incidents, damages, or even injuries—so make sure every hazard possibility is taken seriously and reported right away.You could consider using dedicated modern software solutions for manufacturing management for immediate reporting and constant control over the facility. This can raise the overall safety standards at your facility, help increase production performance rates, and simplify your processes using innovative safety practices observed in the manufacturing industry.
2. Create And Follow Checklists To Never Miss Important Stuff Again
You must go over all relevant manufacturing safety topics and identify everything that can lead to a hazard before you plan your company’s manufacturing safety guidelines. Use the following daily checklist to determine potential hazards:
- What service/product is the company providing?
- What machinery will employees be exposed to and need to operate?
- Are there any hazardous chemicals present in the workplace?
- Is there a likelihood of fall risks in the workplace?
Create a checklist that also includes hazards like fire, electrical, and ergonomics. You can find sample programs on the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) website to know exactly what manufacturing safety topics to cover. Identify any danger that your employees can be exposed to and create a protocol on how to handle these different kinds of manufacturing safety topics. These can include how certain materials should be safely used and what to do in case of an incident. Most categories have OSHA-certified guidelines that are typically consistent across industries so customize your protocols to these procedures to formulate manufacturing safety guidelines.
Now that you have identified the risks, you must also prepare checklists for your employees. The most common checklists include, but are not limited to:
- Safety hazard observation
- Incident report
- Vehicle accident report
- Safety inspection form (for supervisors)
- Repair order ticket
- QA checklist
- Safety inspection checklist.
When employees must go through a checklist when arriving at the job site or before using equipment, the chances of incidents or injuries drop dramatically. Plus, daily operations are a key component for many manufacturing companies, therefore checklists are frequently used in order to reduce friction from day-to-day activities, automate the flow of information, improve response time, gain better oversight, and stimulate employees’ safety initiatives in manufacturing.
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3. Embed Safety Culture Into Your Company’s DNA
You can’t create a safe workplace and environment just through safe equipment and procedures alone. Even with the best safety practices in manufacturing companies, true safety in the manufacturing industry can be achieved only by building a safety-focused company culture where every employee feels responsible and empowered.
“Schneider Electric’s motto is work safe, watch out for each other. If you’re not 100% sure you can complete a job safely, stop work. It’s not enough to keep yourself safe. You need to think and act to prevent hazards for the next person.” – Jim Spurlock, staff safety and environmental engineer
When employees lead the safety processes, from management to the field, everyone is involved in every part of the company’s safety efforts so hazard reporting and corrective actions are on all staff members to execute. This kind of safety culture helps build ownership across the entire company and is a key element of innovative safety practices observed in the manufacturing industry.
Make sure that you let your employees know that they’re protected by OSHA and will not be reprimanded for calling attention to problems. Encourage everyone to speak up because a strong safety culture can help promote low injury rates and lowers turnover rates. Make sure every employee is familiar with the top workplace safety tips and the manufacturing safety tips we touch upon here.
4. Make Wearing Safety Gear A No-Brainer
Operating with and close to heavy objects and machinery, exposure to toxic materials, working in dark and cluttered spaces — all of the above can affect people’s health as well as expose the factory to potential risks like fires, explosions, accidents, and injuries. That’s why using safety gear and wearing protective clothing should be an absolute must for all employees at all times and is one of the key manufacturing safety topics.
Whenever cleaning messes and using equipment at the workplace, you have to be wearing the proper safety equipment , such as gloves, safety glasses, and masks. If your company uses checklists, then you can go through the list to ensure nothing has been missed. When you are wearing the proper safety equipment and are thoroughly checking that your safety equipment is not damaged, the risk of injury is significantly lower.
5. Make Sure The Equipment, Tools, And Machines Are Used Properly
The most prevalent source of workplace injuries is the misuse of tools and machines. When you are handling equipment, you have to ensure that you use each equipment piece as intended and the correct way.
OSHA presents the following five basic rules to help prevent hazards or incidents when handling tools, equipment, and machines:
- Maintain tools in good working condition with regular maintenance.
- Use the right tool for the job.
- Carefully examine each tool for damage before use; don’t use damaged tools.
- Use and operate tools according to the manufacturing instructions.
- Properly use the right protective equipment.
Additionally, watch this Oregon OSHA video on Hazards identification:
6. Communicate Often With Your Employees
When you have two-way communication, you provide your employees with the opportunity to shape workplace safety and keep your manufacturing safety guidelines up to date. Through daily and monthly safety meetings, you are able to influence and prepare everyone on safety matters and potentially come up with new needed manufacturing safety tips – discuss what went wrong, what was acted on and what needs to be fixed, all ongoing safety projects, and any other relevant manufacturing safety topics. Ask your employees for input, and be sure to give a congratulatory shoutout to injury-free departments.
“Safety is the very first thing we talk about at daily meetings. Any injury, first aid incident, or unsafe condition is always brought up first.” – Rex Krohn Jr., manager of global paint at John Deere
This kind of two-way street has countless benefits. It for instance helps:
- Reduce misunderstandings.
- Keep everyone on the same page.
- Prevent anything from slipping between the cracks.
- Boost productivity.
- Narrow the gap between managers and employees.
- Give everyone the chance to be heard.
- Encourage innovative safety practices observed in the manufacturing industry.
We created a free eBook that offers actionable tips and easy-to-implement strategies for managers that are looking to build and maintain an effective internal communication strategy.
7. Promote The Culture Of Frequent Breaks
A lot of injuries occur when employees are too tired and are not able to observe the dangers surrounding them adequately. Additionally, repetitive actions and activities can lead to fatigue, especially when handling machines. By ensuring everyone takes regular breaks, you can stay more alert when on the clock.
Consider offering your personnel some fun activities in the middle of a long shift, like an all-hands 10-minute warm-up stretching-session or even team-building games, to have some rest from the routine work, relieve some stress and boost the morale.
8. Keep Work Areas Clean And Organized
Keeping your workplace clean and well-organized is a key aspect of adapting the best safety practices in manufacturing and should be a fundamental part of your team’s daily routine.
A clean and organized workspace, as a matter of fact:
- Increases productivity: You and your workforce will be able to easily and quickly find what you need to perform your jobs properly without getting distracted by clutter.
- Boosts employee satisfaction: Employees prefer and will be happier working in clean rather than messy work areas.
- Protects your employees’ health: As your employees spend a big part of their day inside the workspace, keeping it clean and hygienic will reduce the chances of them getting sick and having to take sick days.
- Reduces hazards: Regular cleaning and organizing of your work areas will help you stay on top of anything that might be an issue in an emergency, such as obstacles in front of emergency exits, and reduces the chances of potential accidents and injuries.
- Keeps your production line running smoothly: By regularly cleaning your entire production line, from the machinery within it and the materials running through it, you can reduce the chances of malfunctions and breaks within the line.
- Gives your clients a good impression: Keeping your work areas clean will improve the quality of your output and allow you to better satisfy and meet customer expectations. A clean and tidy workspace also sends the message that your business is professional and trustworthy.
Incorporating the six “s” rule into your manufacturing safety guidelines will help with this – sort, straighten, shine, standardize, sustain, and safety.
9. Prevent Slips And Falls
As the second most prevalent cause of nonfatal occupational injuries, it is crucial that aisles are clear and spills are properly cleaned to prevent employees from injury. Encourage your employees to take safety initiatives in their manufacturing workplace and ring a bell when they see a potential hazard.
Another workplace safety tip is when dealing with liquids, use drip pans and guards, clean spills immediately in order to keep conditions safe, and be sure to check your workplace to ensure there are no holes, loose boards, or nails projecting from the floor. If any of these hazards are noted, be sure to replace or fix the item.
10. Promote Safe Work Techniques and Workplace Ergonomics
Having a good posture in the manufacturing industry actually leads to better productivity. Poor or bad posture adds unnecessary strain to the joints, muscles, and ligaments which can lead to more serious injury later on.
When lifting, follow these simple tips:
- Get help when lifting heavy or awkward objects.
- Have a firm grasp on the object before lifting.
- Have firm and good fitting when lifting heavy objects.
- Maintain a wide stance and get close to the object before you need to lift.
- Never bend at the waist in order to lift objects low to the ground.
- When needing to lift low objects, bend with your knees and hips – your legs should do most of the work.
When driving, be mindful of these tips:
- Do not extend your arms to reach the wheel.
- Your knees need to be able to bend and comfortably reach the pedals.
- Adjust the height of your seat so that your knees are at the same level as your hips or higher.
- Ensure that your back is straight and resting on the back of the seat when driving.
- Use a lumbar roll to add support to the curve of your back.
With mindfulness and practice, maintaining a good posture will come naturally and easily.
11. Make Regular Inspections And Check-ups
Create audit checklists for the entire company that each supervisor must go through to review the hazards and safety suggestions within their respective department. Additionally, you can 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. When you can rid the root cause of hazards then you create a safe environment for all.
12. Network And Share Experience
Work with suppliers, fire and police professionals, and insurance agents to address problem prevention and safety ideas for manufacturing. Together, you can draw up potential hazards, come up with the best safety practices for your manufacturing company, and protect your entire staff. When you have more eyes, especially from the outside, you are able to create a full risk assessment and come up with innovative safety practices observed in the manufacturing industry.
“Insurance companies are a valuable resource. Insurance experts can tour your facility, identify hazards, and make recommendations. It isn’t a recommendation when OSHA comes. Also, fire professionals can assess potential fire threats and run extinguisher training. And local police can help prepare for and prevent emergencies.” – Jon Burk, safety manager at Therma-Tron-X, Inc. (TTX)
13. Deliver Consistent Safety Training To Employees
Workplace safety training will help you reduce workplace risks and build risk management into every aspect of your company. This kind of focus provides your employees with the tools they need to protect themselves, your customers, and also your company. It also boosts readiness to take safety initiatives in manufacturing teams.
Some training tips for safety ideas for manufacturing include:
- Identify safety concerns for your company.
- Set training goals.
- Develop practical learning activities.
There are numerous regulatory demands that you have to adhere to, from entities like OSHA and state health and safety authorities. Therefore, when you plan your safety training program, make sure your goal isn’t just to comply with regulatory demands, but also to minimize incidents, maximize awareness, keep your company up-to-date on the best safety practices in manufacturing, and keep employees healthy, happy. and productive.
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- Quick and easy reporting makes it easier for all employees to report in real-time, whether in the office or in the field and automatically send this to the relevant officer/supervisor for further evaluation and response.
- The following daily reports can be done via mobile, which saves a ton of time:
- Safety hazard observation
- Incident report
- Vehicle accident report
- Safety inspection checklist
- Expense reimbursement
- Visitor request form
- And so much more
- Sharing digital resources allows all safety protocols, tips, and resources to be available in a click, along with ‘lessons learned’, incident findings, and periodical safety tips. Resources like standard Operating Procedures (SOPs), employee handbook, code of ethics, emergency procedures, and more are available at a tap.
- Ongoing training allows managers and safety officers to keep a close eye on how each employee is doing. In-app training includes health and safety training, driving-related training, equipment usage and maintenance, tests and quizzes, and more.
Streamlining communication and distribution of updates and protocols can be done with the click of a button. Such as sharing incident finding reports, procedure updates, real-time updates on prohibitions, or risk factors like bad weather. Through the in-app directory, it’s easy to find the work contact you need. Start chat groups to better day-to-day communication more easily and efficiently. Or send formal and informal announcements with push notifications.
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