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Manufacturing Safety – 8 Tips For Your Lean Organization

7 minutes, 46 seconds read

2 workers displaying manufacturing safety on the frontline

We know the benefits of lean safety. A lean organization is one that follows lean principles in all parts of the business including manufacturing, which is one of the most important components of the global economy.

The manufacturing industry is among the largest industries in the US. It employs more than 12.4 million people and generates a nominal GDP of about $2.2 trillion per quarter, according to this report.

No country can run without a thriving manufacturing industry. This is why governments pay special attention to this industry. Some have even announced major subsidies as the manufacturing industry doesn’t only help the GDP but also plays a very integral role in controlling unemployment. But, it isn’t without worries.

Accidents in the manufacturing industry are pretty common, which makes it risky and unattractive for some employees. Plus, these accidents can also end up making the industry very expensive as employers have to foot medical bills and pay heavy settlements. 

A total of 341 fatal manufacturing-related accidents were recorded in 2014 as per the numbers released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and the situation hasn’t improved since. 

Industries with the most risk include travel trailer and camper manufacturing, truss manufacturing, mobile home manufacturing, truck trailer manufacturing, and prefabricated wood building manufacturing, as per this Highest Incident Rates of Total Nonfatal Occupational Injury and Illness Cases report.

So, what can a manufacturing company do to improve the health and safety of its employees? Here are some tips:

 

But First, Remember What Lean Is:

Let’s first revise the three most commonly used lead manufacturing approaches:

Kaizen

It refers to a series of very focused events meant to improve production by reducing waste.

Six Sigma

It’s a process change methodology meant to define and measure the problem. It also involves analyzing, controlling, and improving the situation.

5-S

The 5 S’s are sorting, setting in order, shining, standardizing, and sustaining. They’re translated from Japanese and are meant to reduce clutter and mess including parts, inventory, and tools.

 

8 Manufacturing Safety Rules for a Safe Work Environment

#1 Take Care of Regulatory Standards

Every organization must follow all regulatory standards set by agencies like Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (CFSAN), and Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI).

While some of these organizations are generic and global, some are industry-specific and only cater to specific regions. 

These regulations may seem ‘too many’ at times but they’re very beneficial. Plus, following these can also protect you against compliance issues.

 

#2 Have a Detailed Safety Program

Every business must have safety protocols in place so that employees know exactly what to do in case of an emergency.

It is best to consult safety professionals when creating a policy for a safe workplace. It should answer all the questions one may have including workplace safety tips, training software details, emergency action plan, incident management, and workplace ergonomics.

The program must tackle all safety concerns and be very clear so that it is easy to understand by all employees. Papers that contain technical terms are usually not very efficient as they can be hard to comprehend.

 

#3 Offer Safety Training Sessions to Employees

Businesses must spend on employee training and make sure they’re aware of all aspects of manufacturing safety. 

It might be a good idea to hold a safety meeting and answer all questions your employees may have regarding safety hazards, manufacturing facilities, safety management software, and safety equipment.

They should know what to do if someone suffers a serious injury. Moreover, incident investigations must also be a part of the workplace safety tips manual. It should clearly explain how to investigate incidents and who will be in charge.

Being clear will encourage safety culture and make your employees feel secure. This is very important because a lack of safety measures can make your employees lose faith in you. 

Remember that providing tools such as protective equipment may not be enough. Employees must be educated and taught how to use personal protection equipment, how to lift heavy objects without risking your body, how to identify unsafe conditions, etc., so they can handle the situation like they’re supposed to.

Note: Consider publishing a digital edition of the manual for easy access.

 

#4 Consider Offering Incentives to Create a Safe Workplace

This may come as a surprise to some, but in most cases, employees are the cause of workplace injuries including slips, trips, and falls accidents. They fail to pay attention to machine safety and end up causing harm to themselves and others around them.

Sometimes they’re lazy, sometimes they’re ill-informed, and sometimes they are not careful. Whatever the cause, it is your responsibility to take care of safety concerns and motivate employees to pay attention to what safety professionals have to say.

A good way to do so is to offer incentives to employees who attend employee training sessions, be careful around tools and machines, and be serious about safety management.

Incentives can be in the form of bonuses, coupons, or a pat on the back. If individual incentives don’t work then you can also try group incentives, i.e: put people in groups so that more employees can follow health and safety guidelines.

 

#5 Use Labels and Signs on Tools and Machines

Since a large number of workplace accidents occur due to the use of wrong tools and machines, it might be a good idea to label equipment so that there’s no risk. This is very important if you work around harmful chemicals and difficult to use tools.

However, it isn’t only about tools and machines. One should also pay attention to the environment and use illuminated entry and exit signs, signs to reach a fire extinguisher, etc. 

Labels and signs help people know if they’re in a ‘danger’ zone so they can act accordingly. You can create your own custom signs or purchase some online.

 

#6 Pay Attention to All Kinds of Risks

Pay heed to the health and well being of your employees by being careful about different aspects of the business. Take care of industrial hygiene and make sure employees work in a safe environment and they are not exposed to harmful chemicals, waste, or other such elements.

Transportation safety is another concern. All vehicles must be properly maintained and checked from time to time. 

Employees must be given regular breaks so that they can relax and enjoy a healthy meal. Working too much or working when they’re tired can increase the risk of workplace injuries.

Also, pay attention to the mental health of your employees and make sure they’re healthy when they come to work. 

Lastly, you must take steps to reduce or control noise pollution. It’s rarely paid attention to despite being a major cause of accidents at the workplace. 

Proper incident management involves identifying and correcting unsafe conditions including loud noises as they can be a major distraction and even lead to long-term health issues.

These steps will ensure nobody has to face a serious injury.

 

#7 Reduce Waste and Clutter

As mentioned earlier, lean management emphasizes the importance of a clean workspace as clutter and waste do not only make people unproductive but can also increase the accident rate at your manufacturing workplace.

Lean manufacturing principles can be very effective here. You can put in standards so that all your employees who have to perform the same job do it in the same way. This way the risk factor will be greatly reduced.

Moreover, less clutter can also reduce the risk of accidents and improve safety in the manufacturing unit. Improving safety might be your main goal but getting rid of clutter will also provide you with other important benefits so do consider this option.

 

#8 Keep an Eye on Numbers and Adapt

You must know how your current manufacturing safety protocol is working, i.e: if it’s effective or not. If your safety program is not able to reduce or control manufacturing safety hazards then you must make changes to it so that you can have a safe workplace.

Pay attention to how healthy your employees are, how many accidents are reported in a day, and how they’re handled. I

If there’s no reduction in the number of accidents then consider making changes to your manufacturing safety manual and improve employee training.

With the right employee safety tips, you’d be able to make your manufacturing unit safe and secure.

Using health and safety tools can be very useful. We offer various solutions to identify, address, and track safety concerns. Get in touch with us today to know more about how we can make your business safer and more productive.

THE FRONTLINE DOJO

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