Conditions in manufacturing facilities have improved dramatically over the last century thanks to increased safety and health regulations. Nevertheless, there are dangers inherent in the manufacturing industry.
Industrial Safety and Hygiene News explains some of the most common manufacturing safety hazards and how to avoid them.
1. Heavy machinery
By definition, manufacturing involves the use of heavy machinery. Therefore, this is one of the most prevalent safety hazards. Machinery used in manufacturing can shape rigid materials such as metal, plastic and wood, so it is not difficult to imagine the significant damage it can do to the human body.
Employers have a responsibility to train employees on the proper use of the machinery and to guard it properly when it is not in use.
In most workplaces, there is a risk of injury from falling due to a slip or a trip. In manufacturing, the fall may occur from a raised area such as a ladder, cherry-picker or high platform. A fall from a height is likely to result in more serious injuries than a fall from ground level. Workers should wear fall protection gear and hard hats when working in a raised area. Employers should prioritize safety and train workers to understand signals used by those on the ground to communicate with those up in the air.
The manufacturing process sometimes involves combustion or open flame, such as during the welding process. As long as the flame remains under control, this should pose a minimal safety risk to workers. However, a fire that gets out of control could be deadly. Manufacturing facilities should have clearly marked fire exits and hold fire drills so workers know where to go and what to do in an emergency. It should also have automatic sprinkler systems to extinguish fires.
The law requires that all employers, including manufacturers, provide a safe working environment for employees. Furthermore, employers stand to benefit from a workforce that is healthier and more productive due to having safety measures in place.