No matter your position or manufacturing sector, common workplace risks lie around every corner. This can include anything from the improper use of equipment or tools to unregulated temperatures to operating without full consideration of your surroundings.
It’s up to both the employer and employee to establish and follow workplace safety standards to prevent accidents and injuries. As staff, circumstances or environments change, don’t forget to evolve the guidelines and keep the team educated. The following are five of the most common workplace safety dangers — and ways you and your staff can avoid them.
Elevated heights and raised work areas
When workers are required to perform job duties at elevated heights, there’s a first and immediate danger: falling. Conversely, if your workers are operating underneath raised work areas or storage, they also risk coming into contact with objects falling from above. In these types of work environments, it’s crucial to equip your team with proper safety gear including hard hats, guardrails and fall protection harnesses. These precautions will protect workers from the most common of dangers.
Within every workplace, there are a variety of spaces — open, crowded, large, small and everywhere in between. While working in smaller, confined spaces, it can be especially challenging to maintain safety standards. Have a plan of attack by making sure you:
- Allow for ease of entry and exit of the area
- Clear any unnecessary objects
- Limit the number of workers in these spaces
- Prepare yourself with proper lighting
- Carry a communication device at all times
Should an incident occur in a confined space, workers are more likely to avoid serious injury if they’re well prepared.
With equipment in motion all around your workers, it’s all too easy for them to accidentally touch or bump equipment. To avoid this workplace hazard, ensure workers are properly managing machinery at all times. Advise them to be aware of what equipment will be in use during their shift and make sure someone is always operating that machinery, never leaving it to run independently.
In many manufacturing workplaces, noise control is a consistent challenge. However, supplying your workers with earplugs or headphones can be both a safety precaution and a potential hazard — that is, if it is not addressed correctly. It’s necessary to find the right kind of earplugs that will block out disruptive noises but still allow your workers to maintain alertness, focus on their tasks and easily communicate with one another. You don’t want to drown out a caution or alert when needed.
Linked with each of the above safety dangers — or any workplace danger for that matter — is proper safety training. Without it, none of your efforts to protect your workers will support a truly safe working environment. Providing adequate training for all workers about each safety procedure is step one. Step two is enforcing those safety measures, every minute and every hour of every day. The moment you neglect one of these safety rules, you’re putting yourself and your workers at great risk. Take the time up front to train your team, and you’ll save your business from extremely dangerous, and potentially fatal, mistakes.