Manufacturing is a general term to describe many different fields and companies. These can encompass organizations that produce everything from batteries to plastic parts and products. Industrial safety in manufacturing can be addressed using very different operational practices and can be used to mitigate unique risks.
Diversity in its manufacturing base is at the heart of creating a strong economy for any country. To keep their industrial heart-pounding, companies must keep their workers safe. Safe workers are happier, healthier, and more productive. Because manufacturing processes can sometimes involve a lot of potential dangers, industrial safety in manufacturing is of the utmost importance.
Health and safety regulations for the industry have improved immensely over the course of the past century. However, despite creating better working conditions by employers, accidents can and do happen every day. This being the case, it is essential to understand the main risks in manufacturing. Furthermore, familiarity with safety pitfalls will enable careful, conscientious companies to prevent them. Therefore, it is paramount that manufacturing companies be mindful of some of the things they can do to ensure that their valuable workers are safe.
What are the risks that can exist for companies that do not apply industrial safety in manufacturing?
This list presents the top five known safety risks to achieving industrial safety in manufacturing. They are by no means the only ones, but they are critical dangers recognized by every responsible manufacturing manager.
Falls are the leading cause of injury and death among workers. This is especially true in the construction sector. The manufacturing industry also has a prevalence of fall-related risks in the workplace. This manifests itself often in companies that are engaged in heavy manufacturing.
US Federal agencies frequently cite falls as one of the top three causes of death, injury, and time missed by workers. As such, falls present a severe risk to those working in manufacturing facilities. Therefore, employers should take steps to implement comprehensive fall protection measures in their businesses for the good of their workers.
Company safety leaders can help reinforce fall protection measures and procedures by conducting regular safety review meetings.
- Machine protection
As many workers operate heavy machinery every day at industrial production facilities, proper machine protection is essential to keep workers safe and maintain industrial safety in manufacturing. Yet, safety inspectors often cite manufacturers for exposing employees to hazards from improperly installed machines and equipment.
For example, a metal container manufacturer now faces more than $81,000 in subpoenas after a third worker recently suffered the amputation of one of his limbs due to a lack of safety precautions being in place for the machine that he was operating.
- Industrial trucks with motor
Injuries and fatalities involving motorized industrial trucks are among the top three hazards facing today’s manufacturing industry. However, it is also a hazard in other sectors and is often addressed in warehouse safety guidelines.
As such, appropriate training procedures for industrial safety in manufacturing have been outlined for employers in the industry in general for those workers that operate equipment such as forklifts, hand trucks, forklifts, and any other vehicles on the job.
Workers must meet the safety standards for the operation of these types of vehicles to mitigate production plant hazards. For example, meeting inspection requirements for aerial lift machinery is known to help prevent workplace incidents that adversely affect the safety of company personnel.
- Electrical hazards to industrial safety in manufacturing
While electrical hazards are a serious concern for those who work directly with electricity, such as electricians and engineers, the manufacturing industry in general also has many electrical risks to its other workers.
Some of these electrical hazards can include improperly installed equipment, exposed wires, unlocked electrical panels, among others. For example, during the winter months, snow can accumulate on workers’ boots, which can be quite dangerous to those working in proximity to electrical connections.
When the snow melts, it can lead to small puddles forming throughout the facility. If the wires are not properly covered, this circumstance can lead to a dangerous or potentially fatal electric shock. Therefore, emphasis should be placed on electrical training to help the manufacturing industry mitigate these risks to employees and increase industrial safety in manufacturing.
Many energy sources in the workplace can be hazardous to manufacturing workers, such as electrical, mechanical, or chemical machines and equipment.
While workers are repairing or maintaining heavy machinery such as this, the unexpected release of energy or the abrupt start of such equipment can cause severe injury or death. This is why employers should follow proper blocking/labeling procedures to prevent this from happening.
What are the industrial safety applications in manufacturing companies?
- Cable Traction Safety Switches: Cable traction safety rope switches allow operators to initiate an emergency stop from any point along the length of an installed cable. This provides robust protection for exposed conveyor belts or machines, or other guards cannot protect equipment.
- Disconnect switches: Provide a means to ensure that a circuit is entirely without power. Blocking during service is critical to maintaining maximum security for personnel.
- Fuses and fuse holders: Fuses provide overcurrent or overload protection in an electrical circuit to prevent damage to the load or power supply. Additionally, this class of equipment protects against the possibility of electric shock to a worker.
- Circuit breakers: Protect the power, shunt, and control circuits from the overload current. This, in turn, increases industrial safety in manufacturing by protecting the equipment and the workforce.
- Pilot devices: This class of equipment includes pushbuttons, emergency stop buttons, switches, indicators, and other visual or audible devices. These are an integral part of most automated processes for safely controlling and monitoring equipment that is often placed in hazardous locations.
- Safety limit switches: these are positively operated switching contacts to check the position of machine elements or other moving parts for safety-related purposes.
- Cable ducts and tubes: These items are available in various rigid or flexible designs and colors. Cable ducts and conduits keep wiring protected and organized while protecting workers when accessing an indoor enclosure or panel.
Every workplace has its risks, but manufacturing presents a higher risk of injury than many other modern work environments. Despite this, it is possible to achieve and ensure industrial safety in manufacturing if employees are given the proper training and education. At Prince Manufacturing, our leadership and our employees work daily to maintain a safe and productive workplace.