A Guide to Workplace Hazards in Manufacturing

The manufacturing industry is a large but diverse part of the employment sector. While the industry is responsible for creating parts, products, and tools that we need to live, there can be many workplace hazards in manufacturing businesses. Employees are required to work production lines and often operate heavy machinery.

Some of the most common workplace hazards in manufacturing include:

• The use of heavy machinery or hand tools

• Chemicals

• Lifting or pushing heavy items

• Falling or slipping on greasy or wet floors

• Noise from loud machines

See the Manufacturing Package for OSHA Safety Training

Businesses that practice safety skills and have proper training programs can avoid workplace accidents. Production managers should make use of training programs offered by OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration). This program was created in the 1970s to help prevent workplace injuries, sicknesses and death. They have standards that every manufacturing plant must follow to avoid such events.

OSHA has different safety programs that apply to various sectors of the manufacturing industry. There are specific programs for the construction industry while there are others for manufacturing. Industries that have to handle chemicals can learn from the HAZWOPER standard (Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response). Every type of manufacturing plant with employees involved in the production lines should present safety programs to its workers to avoid accidents.

Although safety programs may be installed, accidents will happen from time to time.

Some of the reasons that employees get hurt:

• Inadequate supervision

• Lack of training programs

• Inexperienced employees

• Improper use of machines

• Employees rushing to meet production quotas

• Employees uninformed about their rights

If more businesses in the manufacturing industry take time to implement proper training and safety productions, accidents can happen less often. Employees also need to understand how to use those safety skills so that they can avoid hazards that lead to workplace injury.

Manufacturing plants should not only have signs reminding employees of the dangers of their jobs, but they should warn employees about them each day. Managers should take the time to do strength and limbering exercises with their line workers to avoid muscle strain.

At least a few times a month, managers should also review safety procedures and expectations to keep information fresh in employees’ minds. Additionally, each section of the manufacturing plant should identify threats that are common to their job as a weekly review. When employees are informed, they can understand how to use safety skills to avoid getting hurt on the job. If employees understand how to correctly use the tools and machinery required to complete the job, they can turn out more products safely and successfully.

Accidents may also happen at a workplace when employees become bored with their job. Spirits should be kept high and managers should set goals for workers to achieve. Managers can make it a contest and award small bonuses when goals are met. This keeps the workplace high with energy and boosts employees’ mood. If the job becomes too mundane for a line worker, they may stop watching out for possible safety hazards.

As long as employees are informed about workplace hazards and they review details often, accidents can happen less. Keep up the morale of workers to make them feel like they are working toward something positive. When employees are eager to meet their goals and are educated about their job, a manufacturing plant can prove to be more successful.

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