The health and safety of your workforce is an essential part of running a successful factory business. Unfortunately, over 114,000 manufacturing workers are injured at work each year, with the main reasons being slips and falls and over-exertion and coming into contact with objects/machinery.
This figure highlights just how important it is to ensure that health and safety is instilled into every member of staff from the moment they walk through the door. It should begin with a full induction that covers every aspect of their job role and includes a full tour of the premises and workspace, with thorough attention dealt to detailing all the potential hazards and issues related to both their role and their work surroundings.
Once the induction is complete, management should schedule in refresher courses every three to six months to ensure that health and safety procedures are being adhered to and everything is fresh in the employees’ minds. There’s no such thing as being too thorough when it comes to the safety and security of your team members.
Invest in the Best Equipment and Machinery
It may seem like an obvious point, but it’s incredibly easy to fall into the habit of scrimping and saving rather than shelling out for the highest quality machinery and equipment. In the long run, taking the cheaper option will only result in higher maintenance and replacement costs, so it’s a better investment to get the best from day one. You can prevent many accidents and injuries by ensuring your workforce are working with the best tools that your company can afford, and their safety is paramount.
There is also the condition of the factory itself to consider. You need to ensure that any steps, gates, and railings are kept to an exceptional standard to ensure maximum safety for your work colleagues. It is worth contacting a reputable gate company and establish a good working relationship with them, so you have a good contact in place should any issues with any of your workspaces arise.
All Health and Safety Data and Training Manuals Should be on Display
The vast majority of workplaces have detailed signage for health and safety issues, including fire procedures, dangerous chemicals and more, on display, and these are essential within a factory environment where there is an increased risk from having contact with hazardous chemicals, machinery accidents, slips, and falls, etc.
As well as having all health and safety data on display around the factory, it is also important to have training manuals and information on the various hazards in the workplace available to read at all times. Management should encourage their team to approach them with any questions or issues, but sometimes the best way for employees to learn is to reach for the training manual and soak up the information on offer to them.
Make Health and Safety Fun and Interesting
Let’s be perfectly honest: Health and Safety isn’t a cool subject. You don’t hear those words and become enthused about the next fire drill or safety demonstration. Everybody knows and appreciates the importance, but that doesn’t necessarily translate to grabbing their attention. That’s when accidents can happen.
The best course of action is to find ways to make your health and safety engaging and interesting for your team. Not everybody responds well to reading booklets or watching a safety video. Interaction and activity based training could make a huge difference in retention of information.
You could replace the generic safety video with role play and live demonstrations. Asking members of your team to take part will prevent any instances of having a five-minute snooze at the back of the room. If you’re awake and engaged, the information will sink in.
You can also add a bit of friendly competition into the mix. You can create a reward scheme for members of staff who conduct the most safety checks or conduct a quiz during a training session to liven up proceedings. When there are prizes involved, you’ll be surprised at how attentive your team can be.
Vigorous Investigation and Reporting of Accidents and Incidents
There are times when somebody slips or accidentally cuts themselves, and the issue is dealt with on the spot and brushed off as ‘not a big deal.’ It may be the case on the surface, but this could lead to your staff becoming complacent in regards to reporting accidents and incidents. This complacency can then seep into other areas, including the cleaning and maintenance itself, and lead to bigger incidents down the line.
Management should ensure that their team reports every incident as it will highlight larger issues that need to be taken care of quickly. For example, if there is a water leak that has led to several slipping incidents, management will only have to look at their incident reports to see this pattern and get the issue swiftly taken care of to the best of their ability.
If your team know that you are on top of your reporting and investigations, they are far more likely to be careful and vigilant in their work, leading to a safer work environment.
Keep Maintenance and Cleaning Schedules Updated
Every workplace should have cleaning and maintenance schedules for every department, every piece of machinery and area of work. It keeps your team on top of everything and leads to the more efficient use of manager’s time as they can glance at the schedule/checklist rather than having to inspect the entire workspace.
If your team is keeping these schedules up to date, you can be safe in the knowledge that any issues with machinery will be detected, reported and dealt with a great deal quicker than if these checks were not made on a regular basis.
Although your team is likely to be on top of all the maintenance and cleaning schedules, it is still vital that management perform spot checks to ensure that boxes aren’t just being ticked, and that thorough cleaning and maintenance is taking place. It may seem a little untrusting, but for your peace of mind and for the sake of your team’s wellbeing, it is worth taking the time to double-check.