Improving Health and Safety Measures in the Manufacturing Industry
The world needs the good that are manufactured in the UK. So much so that from the year 2020 to 2021, manufacturing output grew by a staggering 16.51% to $279.39B (USD)! An industry that size employs millions of people and is responsible for producing some of the finest goods available on the globe.
The challenge with any industry of that size is making sure that health and safety measures are adequate and that the workers are kept safe from harm as they go about their day’s work. Improving health and safety measures in the manufacturing industry benefits not only the workers but also all of those that move and use the goods produced in this sector. How do we improve these measures?
- Create a Safety Focused Culture
“We are what we repeatedly do. Therefore, excellence is not an act, but a habit.”
This quote is often used to describe championship teams and those that perform their craft at the highest level, whether that be an artist or an engineer. Excellence in health and safetyis built on solid habits. These habits are fostered by a culture that promotes and encourages safety through how it positions its health and safety objectives. Safety-focused cultures place safety as a part of life, or habit, as opposed to a task or action that needs doing.
- Determine Measurable Progress Milestones
Accomplishing goals is an innate part of being human. Setting an objective in plain view and making it the focal point will help to improve health and safety in manufacturing by keeping the end goals in sight. It could be “1,000,000-man hours with no lost time!” or “365 days accident-free” or whatever other goal you want. Measurable, tangible progress is an encourager.
- Ensure Safety Equipment is Properly Used
88,000 workers per year on average are injured in the manufacturing industry in the UK. Safety equipment is only helpful if it is being worn when it is needed. Gloves, glasses, boots, high-visibility clothing and masks are all easy to use and readily available. Double-check that the proper safety equipment is in use and that it is being used properly.
- Learn From Incidents and Apply Changes
Incidents do happen. When they do, do not let that opportunity to learn be wasted. Have a task force or panel (perhaps even just two senior staff) examine and review the incident to see what happened and why. Were protocols missed? Do new protocols need to be written? Is more education needed? These answers will help craft better systems for the future.
- Encourage Health and Safety Discussions and Questions
Those that are working hands-on have a better understanding of the risks than those in the office or boardroom. Encourage questions and discussions at all levels of the workplace and reward good ideas that improve health and safety outcomes.
- Implement Annual HAVS Testing
According to Shaun from Principal Power Tools “Hand-arm vibration syndrome is a challenge for many in the manufacturing industry and it can seriously affect your quality of life.” Implementing annual HAVS testing is a simple and effective way of being preventative and giving those that are most at risk a way of stopping the damage before it happens.
- Audit Machinery and Safety Protocols
Machinery can be a major danger if they are not properly maintained. Safety protocols and machinery should be audited regularly. Machinery should be audited to make sure that it is in good working order and maintenance can be done if necessary. Safety protocols should be audited to ensure that they are effective and should be edited as necessary to protect the workers in the manufacturing environment.
Improvements for the Manufacturing Industry
None of these improvements are difficult to implement or expensive to do well. Small changes in the manufacturing industry could lead to much better health and safety outcomes for all workers.