What You Need to Know About Manufacturing Workplace Health and Safety

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Safety is a major concern in the manufacturing industry. Without standards for preventing and diagnosing incidents concerning radiation, explosives, chemicals, transit, and machinery, there is a high likelihood of workplace related injuries and deaths. Executives, managers and employees are all responsible for knowing OSHA standards and taking preventative measures to maintain workplace health and safety.

What is the Role of OSHA in Workplace Health and Safety?

In 1970, Congress introduced the Occupational Health and Safety Act with the intention of encouraging employers and their employees to work towards reducing the rate of occupational health and safety hazards at workplaces. The Act was also passed to stimulate employees and employers to come up with programs to help provide safe working conditions.

OSHA now plays an important role in ensuring safety in workplaces throughout the country. OSHA’s regulations offer a framework for manufacturing safety standards in the US around accident prevention, electrical hazards, machinery guarding, electrical equipment, and permit use.

Statistics On Risks Associated With The Manufacturing Industry

Based on a report by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the manufacturing sector in private industries recorded the largest number of cases of occupational illness and injury. In 2015, the manufacturing sector reported 32.9 cases reported for 10,000 full time workers. Though there has been a decline overall in the past 3 years, manufacturing remains the sector with the largest number of cases.

What Are The Top Safety Concerns in the Manufacturing Industry?

Poor Maintenance

Equipment and machinery that are not well maintained can pose serious risks. Failing to inspect equipment regularly is one of the causes of machine-related hazards. Employees should be able to detect warning signs like abnormal wobbles, exposed wires, grinding noises, and burning smells. Machines that are deemed to be potentially unsafe should not be used until they are fully repaired.

Permanent Hazards

Some of the items and conditions in the workplace pose permanent hazards. For example, you cannot eliminate the risk of hazardous chemicals by performing a routine check. However, the appropriate workplace health and safety measure against this permanent hazard is to label all chemicals correctly and ensure your employees are sufficiently skilled in handling them. Confined spaces are other typical examples of permanent hazards. Ensure your employees know the risk of being in entrapped or oxygen-depleted places. Address this risk by using exhaust blowers, confined space rescue equipment, and employee training.

Under-Trained Employees

Many workplace hazards in the manufacturing industry arise because of under-trained workers. It is important for employees to go through proper training and education on document safety data documents. Employees need to be properly trained on all the equipment they encounter. Training should include knowing how to ensure everything is working properly. Training sessions should be renewed to cover the use of new equipment and any newly documented updates to safety standards. Employees should also be subjected to regular safety training to learn the most current safety practices like emergency response to injuries, and how to identify signs of chemical or gas exposure.

What are The Main Responsibilities that OSHA Places on Employers?

Provide a Workplace That is Free From Health and Safety Hazards

OSHA requires employers to ensure that their workplace is well monitored and is compliant with OSHA rules, regulations, and standards of maintaining safety. Employers are required to use signs, labels, posters, color coding, and floor marking to warn employees concerning potential hazards.

Monitor the Workplace To Ensure Employees Observe Safety in Manufacturing

OSHA requires employers to inspect their workplaces to ensure that employees observe safety. This includes ensuring:

  • Employees use and maintain safe equipment and tools
  • Employees maintain the “Safety Standard Operating Procedures” and are aware and have access to safety data sheets and manuals.
  • Fatalities involving three or more employees are reported to the closest OSHA headquarters within 8 hours

Identify Safety Violations With Special Tags

To keep supervisors and employees attentive for workplace health and safety, identified safety managers are required to tag any violations of safety using colored tags. Whenever workers see these tags, they are required to fill them out stating the actions that were taken to rectify the safety violation and measures that will be taken to avoid these incidences from happening again.

Allow Global Safety Management to help you reduce time and resources trying to keep up with the ever-changing regulations.  Our team can help you with authoring  and managing your safety data sheets to be sure you offer the best environment for your manufacturing workplace health and safety.