Health and Safety is a universal language with an all round integration in every sector; this means that Health and Safety is applicable in every industry.
In this article we will be concentrating on Health and Safety in the manufacturing industry. We all know that a manufacturing industry is a production unit located in a certain area and is engaged in activities to transform raw materials mechanically or chemically into a product/goods which can used by the final user.
The process of acquiring these raw materials, and transforming them into finished products is not without risk. Examples of manufacturing industries are – Textile, Paper making, Food and beverages, Furniture, Petroleum, etc.
At the end of this article, you will understand the importance of health and Safety in the manufacturing industry and how to implement it successfully.
The Risks and Hazards in the Manufacturing Industry
As we already stated, the manufacturing industry has its own hazard, and are classified into:
These are physical dangers caused by the general environment and operation in the manufacturing industries, and they include the risk of falls, burns, electrocution, amputation, and even death.
This has to do with exposure to hazardous chemicals within the manufacturing industry. A typical example is the use of hazardous materials or their synthesis for production operations. They can cause serious harm, including immediate danger resulting from exposure, or illnesses related to long-term exposure.
Some of the biological hazards of the manufacturing industries are: Exposure to mold, bacteria, and viruses. Managing biological contaminants has become even more important and companies have had to rethink safety protocols to protect workers.
Some ergonomic hazards in the manufacturing industry includes, repetitive motions, lifting heavy objects, and exposure to repeated vibrations or loud noise which can cause long-term damage to employee health.
Importance of Health and Safety in the Manufacturing Industry
There are several importance of health and safety in the manufacturing industry, but we will narrow down to just few in this post.
We have already mentioned major hazards prevalent in the manufacturing industry; though each hazard is unique depending on the raw materials used, the production process and the management structure within the industry, it is necessary to mitigate the risk associated with these hazards to ALARP.
Now here are some importance of Health and Safety in the manufacturing industry.
1. Reduce Workplace Accidents and Injuries
Health and Safety when well implemented in the manufacturing industry has the capacity to reduce workplace accident and injuries.
For instance, manufacturing that uses complex processes must integrate process safety to minimize the potential of accident.
So when health and safety is integrated in every step of manufacturing, accident and injuries will be reduced.
2. Improving Employee Morale and Productivity
Integrating Health and Safety in your manufacturing company is synonymous to you showing your employees how much you appreciate them. And when leaders recognize the strengths and contributions of their people, they are far more engaged, productive, and creative.
So when employees knows that their safety is prioritized and feel safe and secured in the workplace, their moral will be boosted resulting to increase productivity.
3. Complying with Legal and Regulatory Requirements
Legal compliance is the process by which a company or business entity adheres to the complex rules, policies and procedures that regulate business practices in a particular jurisdiction.
This states that Health and safety at work is not optional. It is a criminal law requirement, and any employer who does not comply with this is subject to very serious legal risks, both on an organizational and personal level.
So integrating Health and Safety into your manufacturing company shields you from knocks, fines and other punitive measures you could get for non-compliance.
Enhancing the Company’s Reputation
Both employees and other interested parties are looking at the reputation of a company in regards to health and safety,
A company that records multiple accident, fines, court case and likes will find it difficult to retain good staff, gain contract and credibility.
However, a well structured health and safety program in an organization will help enhance your companies reputation.
How to Implementing Effective Health and Safety Practices in the Manufacturing Industry
If you are not implementing Health and Safety yet in your manufacturing company, here are simple tips you could follow to implement it effectively.
1. Developing a Comprehensive Safety Program
Safety programs will provide guidelines that direct procedures and include checklists that can make work environments safer by preventing mishaps.
This safety program must be relevant to your industry and the kind of services you render, it must cover all aspect of your manufacturing.
So before you draw out a safety program you must know this – It requires employers to be familiar with their responsibilities under the Occupational Safety and Health Act. For the purposes of OSHA or any other regulation within your area of operation, these requirements serve as the basis of every workplace safety program.
The safety program must be done with inputs from the employees; the program will analyze the company’s immediate needs and provides for ongoing, long-lasting worker protection. Once it is designed, the program should be applied in the workplace. A safety program serves to anticipate, identify, and eliminate conditions or practices that could result in work-related injuries and illnesses.
2. Conducting Regular Risk Assessments
As we already know, risk assessment is a process used to identify potential hazards and analyze what could happen if a disaster or hazard occurs.
- Identify the hazard: Be it physical, mental, chemical or biological.
- Decide who could be harm
- Assess the risk
- Make record of findings
This should be done regularly and where changes is to be made, it can be imputed into the safety program.
This should be done by competent persons.
3. Providing Proper Training and Education
A good training program will always help employees get acquainted with their organization’s ethics, values, policies, visions and missions.
Employee training programs help improve the knowledge and skills of employees to match the various changes in the industry with health and safety inclusive. These improvements will positively affect the safety awareness of employees and their productivity which can increase the profits and efficiency of an organization.
4. Ensuring Adequate Safety Equipment and Tools
Ensuring adequate safety equipment and tools involves providing the right tool, maintenance and replacement of tools where necessary.
This will boost safety and productivity at the same time.
The Role of Management and Employees in Maintaining a Safe Work Environment
Before I end this post, am using this bold sub-heading to point you to the fact that Health and Safety cannot be effective without the input of both the employer and the employees.
We often say, “Safety is everyone’s responsibility“. It is very easy, the employer does his part and the employees do theirs and everyone goes home safe.
Building a Culture of Health and Safety in the Manufacturing Industry is of utmost importance to the employer, the employee and the general public.
There are lots of benefits associated with this as stated within this post; you can equally follow the guide above to implement a successful health and Safety program in your manufacturing company.