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Reducing Manufacturing Plant Risks

Manufacturing plants can be a hazardous environment with multiple plant risks, and require safety measures to ensure operations run smoothly and all personnel are safe. Implementing an all-encompassing strategy to reduce accidents and maintain worker safety helps facilities stay productive and competitive. 

Modern technology and machinery used in manufacturing facilities can collect a wealth of data. Alternatively, solutions exist that allow adapting equipment so that it gathers data during operations. However, many company leaders have trouble adequately utilizing data, allowing existing safety risks to become more apparent and plant managers identifying which processes work well. A safety manager may discover that workers routinely disable a safety feature to deal with a malfunctioning part. In that case, getting the faulty component fixed goes a long way in preventing accidents. However, it’s difficult to spot problems like that without the strategic examination of data.

Companies and managers should encourage employees to take ownership of equipment maintenance to help eliminate risks. Most people know that correctly functioning machinery is less likely to perform in ways that cause accidents or fatalities. However, it’s not always as evident to them that equipment maintenance is a collective responsibility. When equipment maintenance is everyone’s concern, employees will take more ownership over the processes and understand their roles in boosting safety. 

When a person thinks of potential manufacturing safety threats, things such as fires, toxic chemical exposure, and injuries from incorrect equipment handling may come to mind. Those are the dangers that manufacturing professionals should minimize as much as possible. However, it’s also important to target the workplace dangers that are not as obvious. Factory managers should strongly consider getting worker input when learning more about what to fix. Floor employees likely notice dangers that others miss by not having direct exposure to them. 

Situational awareness relates to how well a person perceives their surroundings, and more importantly, whether things change in them. One option is to build prompts into critical work tasks that remind employees to look for hazards and signs of change. This type of approach encourages workers to think about task steps more thoroughly and urges them to avoid lapsing into autopilot modes. It’s also crucial to design tasks that help people stay focused on individual aspects as much as possible. If a worker has to verify five manufacturing process elements instead of one, it’s more likely that something will slip by them that could pose safety risks.

The most innovative training methods or detail-oriented approaches won’t pay off when company leaders don’t set aside adequate time for them. A recent study showed that more than 59% of surveyors noted reserving time for workplace training as among their biggest challenges. However, doing it brings measurable safety gains. The survey also revealed that people are 68% more likely to follow safety protocols on the floor when they have at least 20 hours of annual safety training. Beyond the time taken for the education itself, it’s also worthwhile to put effort into using videos and images specific to the site when teaching employees. Such an approach makes employees two times more likely to stay “very engaged” during training sessions, the research indicated.

Keeping manufacturing workers safe should not only become a priority after an accident happens or once companies receive fines. When safety is a constant top-of-mind matter, it’s easier to identify what’s going well and where weak points exist. Gastronics, Inc. began in 1997 developing combustible and toxic gas monitors and licensed radio telemetry systems for industry. With over 20 years of experience, our experts provide companies gas detection and telemetry solutions fitting all their needs. We assist our customers by finding potential hazardous conditions and offering reliable solutions to ensure all personnel are safe. 

To learn more about the products we offer or for specific solutions in your industry, click here. If you have any questions regarding your gas detection needs or would like to speak with one of our specialists, contact us today!

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