Being repetitive when it comes to safety is one of the best ways to ensure everyone understands their responsibilities and knows your expectations.
Consider the following six manufacturing safety topics to create awareness and build discussions with your employees.
#1 – Slips, Trips, and Falls
Slips, trips, and falls are some of the greatest contributors to workers' comp and disability claims. Even sure-footed workers can be susceptible to slips and trips in the workplace. Prevention and hazard identification are key to reducing slips, trips, and falls in the workplace.
#2 – Equipment and Machine Safety
Equipment and machine safety is paramount in manufacturing organizations. This is one of the top five safety hazards in the industry, with machine guarding being of the top OSHA violations each year.
It’s important that every employee is properly trained on machine operation and safety. Other safety topics, including lockout/tagout procedures, fall protection, and electrical safety, will also play a vital role in conducting equipment and machine safety training.
#3 – Fire Hazards
Fires can happen at any manufacturing facility at any time, which is why it’s important to be prepared with a plan. For starters, make sure you educate your team on how to escape the building, where to meet, and what their responsibilities are in the event of a fire (e.g. do not leave the premises, do not re-enter a burning building). Fire escape routes should be clearly posted throughout the facility.
Also, it’s a good idea to show teams what could potentially cause a fire. Teach them how to identify fire hazards and what they can do to reduce the risk of a fire. Training on fire extinguishers and alarms might also be part of your program.
#4 – Safety Equipment & PPE
Talk about the various types of safety equipment and personal protective equipment (PPE) your company makes available to employees. This might include safety masks, eyewear, hard hats or headgear, reflective vests, gloves, ear plugs, and more.
In many cases, wearing or using this equipment will be mandatory. It’s important employees not only know their obligations to use it, but also know how to properly use it. Show them where items are kept and how to properly store them to preserve their use. Also, let them know how to report issues with equipment and how to properly mark or dispose of items whose use is no longer safe.
#5 – Workplace Ergonomics
This safety topic largely flies under the radar until an employee becomes injured. Every worker in your manufacturing facility, from line assemblers to front office staff, can benefit from practicing safe workplace ergonomics.
For laborers, it’s important to dial in on correct lifting techniques and how to handle repetitive motion. Your safety talks might include specific stretches or exercises workers can do to minimize risk to their bodies when bending, stooping, lifting, or twisting.
For office team members, you should focus on posture when sitting. Teach them how to adjust their computer monitor’s height to avoid pain to the neck and back. Talk about carpal tunnel symptoms and causes and encourage regular breaks when working at a computer. Check out this infographic: A Look at Musculoskeletal Disorders
#6 – Incident and Hazard Reporting
Perhaps the most critical safety topic you could share with your team is how they can report hazards or incidents. Knowing how to secure an area until help arrives, who the incident should be reported to, and what they should or should not do in the event of a hazard is crucial in mitigating potential damage.
This can also apply to reporting workplace observations, such as unsafe employee behavior or potential safety hazards that haven’t yet caused issues.
Make it easy for team members to get involved. Doing so will encourage them to continue playing their role in maintaining a safe work environment.
Manufacturing Safety Topics Apply to Everyone!
Safety awareness and discussion isn’t just a one-off activity, but rather an ongoing integration to apply throughout the workday. It’s important you not only create top of mind awareness in manufacturing safety, but also ensure your workers are putting your tips, topics, and discussions into practice.
Further reading: How to Plan Effective Safety Meetings