Injuries at work account for 40% of occupational health issues in Europe. Accidents do happen, but there are several ways to reduce the risks involved for your workers.
So, if you work in any industry that uses machinery to get the job done, you know where to tighten up your safety precautions. It’s easy to let the basics slide when you work with machines every day, and that’s when accidents are bound to happen.
Keep reading for a refresher course on how to tighten up your workplace safety.
Workplace Safety Training Is Where It All Begins
If you’re involved in one of these industries, you must engage in ongoing training for your employees. Even the most experienced operators can become lackadaisical over time.
Ongoing training in heavy equipment hazard awareness and safe work practices is the best way to ensure good habits for safety at work become ingrained in their daily activities.
Educate your workers on potential industrial safety hazards, like:
- Falling loads and materials
- Blind spots for equipment operator
- Leaving equipment in gear or engaged during an absence
- Equipment rollover or tipping
- Not locking equipment or controls during maintenance procedures
Negligence often plays a major role in these incidents. You must provide ongoing safety training for all levels of workers when it comes to operating machinery, handling chemicals, and working with electrical equipment.
Prepare a Plan for Every Project
No matter how often you’ve performed the same routine procedure, there are certain boxes you must tick every time. These include:
Choosing the Right Person for the Job
You must employ only trained equipment operators and spotters. If necessary, they should also possess all the relevant certifications.
One person that’s vital to safety at work is a safety officer. They’ll keep tabs on all your safety procedures and ensure everyone’s complying.
When you place your workplace safety in their capable hands, you can focus on building your business instead of spending your time checking safety procedures.
Keep Workers Informed
Provide specific training for the task at hand, and refresh their memories regularly. Make sure you have copies of the operating manuals for all machinery nearby for reference purposes.
Create Appropriate Zones in Your Workplace
Allocate space on your floor for vehicles like heavy trucks and deliveries. This can prevent delivery vehicles from backing up and creating dangerous hazards near your workers.
Create no-go zones around all machinery that rotates or swings during operation. Ensure your factory has enough lighting in areas used for after-hours work, and upgrade it as necessary.
Routine Industrial Safety Tips
As a matter of course, you should compile an OSHA-compliant risk assessment for every project and take pains to eliminate these potential dangers.
Make sure all workers have the correct PPE for the job at hand. This may include:
- High visibility clothing
- Hard hats
- Protective footwear
- Protective masks for working with chemicals
- Appropriate eye protection and gloves if needed
Check and double-check these requirements at the commencement of your project, and the start of every shift.
Safe Work Practices for Machinery Operators
Training and experience aren’t enough to safeguard machinery operators from the hazards of their jobs. These are the rules you should put in place to avoid injuries or fatalities on your factory floor.
Every operator should know the operator’s manual for their equipment by heart. They should inspect every element of their machine before commencing work, including the lights, brake system, audible warning devices, and windscreen wipers.
Before driving off, they must adjust the back and side mirrors to compensate for blind spots, and never drive a top loading vehicle without cab shields and canopy protection.
Likewise, they must take care to avoid working near tipping hazards like embankments or slopes as well as utility lines.
The operator must remain aware of the whereabouts of groundworkers and ensure they’re safely out of the way before starting their machine. They must allow groundworkers safety passage at all times while operating machinery, regardless of who has the right of way.
Groundworkers’ Safety Tips
Groundworkers easily become blasé about heavy equipment when they work around it every day. Make sure they’re fully trained and aware of the following workplace safety tips:
- Wearing high visibility clothing near mobile equipment
- Staying out of the operator’s blind spot
- Setting up their work area outside mobile equipment zones
- Staying clear of suspended loads
- Avoiding approaching vehicles without attracting the attention of the operator
- Riding only in approved seats with a seat belt when required
Staying aware of the dangers and alert at all times is the best way to avoid injuries from heavy machinery.
Invest in the Best Machinery You Can Find
According to Eurostat, there were 3 408 fatal incidents in the workplace at the last count. More than 20% of these involved machinery. Keeping your machinery in excellent working order is vital to ensure the safety of your workers, but there’s more you can do.
Look for comprehensive safety features when you buy new machinery, or implement additional safety features on your existing machines. Some vital considerations include:
- Rollover protective structures
- Cab shields
- Personnel detection systems
- Fall protection systems
- Sound covers
- Breakdown alarms
When purchasing machines, choose only those that comply with international quality and ISO 9001:2015 safety standards.
Implement Daily Manufacturing Safety Routines
Those at the coal face aren’t the only ones who should stick to the rules when it comes to your OHS policies. These are some safety standards you can implement across the board to enhance safety at work:
Early Reporting to Avoid Risks
Encourage and reward all workers to report unsafe behaviour and potential risks, no matter how trivial they might seem. An inconspicuous drip can cause a lot of damage if it’s coming from a container holding toxic chemicals.
Create Checklists for Everything
You can implement checklists at every stage of your business, starting with the planning stage mentioned above. Lists also work well to ensure workers have the correct gear before starting a project, or when visitors arrive at your workplace.
Checklists are invaluable for avoiding safety issues caused by forgetfulness or neglect.
Regular safety audits are an excellent way to identify potential risks and eliminate them before they cause problems.
Implement Compulsory Breaks
Fatigue leads to mistakes and accidents. Tired workers have slower reflexes and may not observe danger surrounding them in time. Repetitive actions can also lead to strain and permanent injury.
Make sure your supervisors insist that workers take regular breaks and rest when they need to. Often, workers are unaware of passing time when concentrating on their tasks.
So, they need someone to remind them that it’s time to rest. Stretching exercises or a few minutes outside in the fresh air are perfect for keeping your workers engaged and performing at their best.
Take Ergonomics Seriously
You must ensure your workers can perform their tasks as comfortably as possible. Poor posture leads to strain and injury.
Provide training on the correct techniques for lifting and carrying heavy objects, and implement ergonomic furniture and technology in all office spaces.
Take Time to Tidy Up
Set aside a few minutes at the beginning or end of every shift for employees to tidy their workstations. A neat, orderly workspace helps boost productivity, reduce hazards, and increase job satisfaction.
Hiring a cleaning company to visit after hours can ensure your employees arrive at a clean, hygienic, and safe work environment every day.
Cleaning up spills quickly and effectively will prevent slip and fall incidents, which are among the most common workplace injuries.
Encourage a Culture of Safety in the Workplace
Engage with your workers regularly regarding the importance of OHS procedures. They must learn to see these rules and regulations as a way to keep themselves and others safe.
Red tape and rules can easily create a resentful attitude toward safety, you must get their input on the measures you implement and make sure they understand why each rule is important.
When you create a culture of safety consciousness in your workplace, you’ll spend less time watching over your employees and more time celebrating your successes.
Protect Your Workers and Grow Your Business
As one of the leaders in the field of industrial machinery, we understand that your employees are irreplaceable. Apart from the human element, you can’t put a price on experience in your line of work.
That’s why we take workplace safety very seriously. You can rest assured that all our machines comply with stringent safety standards to ensure a safe work environment as far as possible.
Are you looking to upgrade your equipment soon, or thinking of expanding your operations? Get in touch to discuss your needs with one of our in-house experts.