Safety in manufacturing should not be perfunctorily performed just to comply with government regulations; it should be taken seriously, but because the absence of safety exposes employees to serious workplace accidents. Human suffering and loss arise if there is an injury or death in the workplace. It affects everyone—the worker’s family and friends, his or her community, and fellow coworkers and the company’s reputation.
Fortunately, all it takes are a few simple measures to maintain a company’s respectable safety record, while addressing several issues in the process.
3 ways to keep workers safe
Here are three ways to keep your employees safe and keep your safety record at the highest level.
1. Label dangerous materials
Keeping dangerous materials properly labeled is easy with Label Solutions, which complies with the Global Harmonization System (GHS) adopted by OSHA. Basically, this is a coherent system to standardize safety information through the use of signal words, pictograms, and hazard statements. Regardless of where your manufacturing plants are located or the language used by workers, the warning label will be understood.
2. Follow OSHA guidelines on PPE
OSHA has established standards for personal protective equipment (PPE). According to the OSHA website, “Personal protective equipment may include items such as gloves, safety glasses and shoes, earplugs or muffs, hard hats, respirators, or coveralls, vests and full body suits.”
3. Ensure safeguards aren’t neglected or abandoned
Although it’s easy enough for your company to find out what safety equipment employees should be wearing and work to comply with these recommendations, getting employees to agree to protect themselves isn’t always easy, especially when they are working during shifts where there is insufficient supervision.
The best way to enforce policy is for safety managers to insist on it each day, to have written PPE policy on display, and to ensure that workers wear safety equipment in a proper and consistent manner.
5 issues to address in enforcing workers’ safety policies
One of the biggest reasons companies fail to maintain their safety records is their inability to remove frictions in enforcing the safety standards. Here are five common objections when it comes to following PPE rules and how to address them effectively.
1. Refusal to wear PPE
- Objection: A supervisor may complain that it’s difficult to get workers to wear PPE if they refuse.
- Response: If the employer or the safety manager insists on it, refusal to wear PPE is not an option.
2. PPE is uncomfortable
- Objection: The safety equipment is uncomfortable and makes it difficult to do the work.
- Response: In certain circumstances, PPE may be overprotection and it’s important to be flexible. For instance, during extremely hot weather, wearing many layers of clothing may result in heat stroke. However, If discomfort is due to a poor fit, then the company should allow workers to buy their own equipment and then reimburse them.
3. Gloves are too thick, too slippery, etc.
- Objection: The use of gloves might make it difficult to hold objects firmly.
- Response: If this is the case, a company should find gloves with a textured fingertip finish that makes it easy to grasp objects. This is particularly important in labs, where workers need to be able to grip glassware apparatus.
4. It takes too long to wear PPE
- Objection: Workers complain that since the job will only take a few minutes, it’s a waste of time to put on the right helmet, goggles, gloves, or boots.
- Response: This is not a valid reason to not wear PPE because it only takes a few seconds for an accident to occur.
5. Allergies to PPE material
- Objection: Workers complain that they are allergic to the manufacturing material. For instance, they may be asked to wear gloves but have a latex allergy.
- Response: There are many alternative synthetic materials available. So, if someone is allergic to latex, they can always wear vinyl gloves.
By addressing workers complaints in a reasonable way, your company can ensure that safeguards aren’t neglected or abandoned.
In conclusion, safety is something that a company must insist on. Although you may have a liberal organization and want to avoid sounding almost draconian, all it takes is one incident when a worker flaunts the rules for an injury, even a fatality, to occur.
In many instances, too, specific safety measures are required by law. In 1970, Congress enacted the statute to protect the health and safety of workers in the workplace through the Occupational and Safety Health Act (OSHA). Prior to this law, companies made minimal efforts to ensure workplace safety because it was comparatively cheaper to just replace a worker.
Abiding to laws is mandatory for a respectable business. What’s more important is upholding high ethical and moral standards. Enforcing safety policies through wearing proper PPE, etc. mean that you position your workers as stakeholders – something they truly deserve – instead of just another part of your business machine that’s easily replacable.