Working in the manufacturing business means being part of one of the largest industries in the United States. Manufacturers also employ a considerable percentage of America’s workforce. Because of the prevalence and growing consumerism in the United States, manufacturers look for the fastest and most efficient ways of getting their products made and sent out to the public for distribution and purchasing.
However, with speed being a top priority, manufacturers often cut corners on other important aspects, one of those aspects being the safety of their workers. While factories have large amounts of people working for them, a workplace injury can cause a disruption in the flow of production, and ultimately set back the distribution of the company’s product to the public.
Further, having higher accident rates leads to less employee engagement, according to a 2014 study done by Science Direct. This hurts not only the workers but also the company. But there are ways that manufacturers can prioritize safety while also maintaining the efficiency and speed they strive for.
What Can Manufacturers Do to Reduce Accidents?
One of the first steps is to already have an actual safe and hazard-free work environment. This can be done by putting up hazard signs, marking floors (when they’re wet for example), putting up posters about safety guidelines, and being vocal about hazards in the workplace to the employees.
Also, the safety manager needs to be familiar with all the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standards and rules regarding safety in the workplace, and be sure that OSHA standards and rules are met regarding workplace safety.
Another step to be taken by the safety manager is to closely and actively monitor the workplace in order to be sure that the workers are following the safety guidelines. These guidelines also include how tools and machines should be handled safely, as well as maintained in good condition.
This should also be done by the safety manager having open communication with the employees about posted guidelines, hazards, and standard OSHA rules and procedures if an accident were to occur.
How Managers Can Help Improve Efficiency and Also Reduce Accidents
In the context of a large manufacturing company, the responsibilities held by a safety manager may also be shared by safety assistants, while in smaller companies, the owner or HR manager holds these responsibilities, according to Cerasis.
These duties include, but are not limited to:
- Planning and executing safety meetings and training with employees
- Constantly be monitoring the work environment
- Correcting present hazards
- Investigating accidents
- Recording accident reports when necessary.
Along with these responsibilities, safety managers and assistants also have the authority to halt hazardous use of tools when they see it, stopping any unsafe actions being done in the workplace, and even have employees leave if they continue to violate said protocols.
It is important that safety managers and assistants recognize these duties and take on the responsibility of all parts of their jobs to ensure the safety of the collective body of employees. Through training, they can also ensure that other managers and workers can uphold these practices as well, which also gets employees more directly involved.
Science Direct also found that having standard safety practices, training, and meetings, and being consistently communicative towards workers will lead to an increase in employee engagement, which we discussed previously.
Having a higher employee engagement means that the workers are actively listening and practicing the safety guidelines being presented to them through these trainings and visible postings around the workplace.
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