Safety management in manufacturing is essential. Without protocols in place to prevent and diagnose incidents regarding transit, radiation, chemicals, machinery, and explosives, there is a large risk for workplace injuries and fatalities. Concerning manufacturing safety management, here’s what you need to know.
The Role of OSHA and ISRI
Congress passed the Occupational Health and Safety Act in 1970 with the aim to “encourage employers and employees’ efforts to reduce the number of occupational safety and health hazards at their places of employment, and to stimulate employers and employees to institute new and to perfect existing programs for providing safe and healthful working conditions.”
Since then, OSHA has played a pivotal role in workplaces around the country. OSHA’s regulations comprise the framework of manufacturing safety within the US, with regulations including standards on permit use, accident prevention, electrical equipment and electrical hazards and machinery guarding.
ISRI, the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries, formed an alliance with OSHA in October 2015, with the goal to “promote health and safety in workplaces throughout the recycling industry.” The agreement continues OSHA’s original goal of preventing workplace incidents and prevention of hazard exposure.
Safety in Transportation
Many businesses rely heavily on transportation to implement and deliver their services. Whether receiving or sending materials, it’s important to heed safety in transportation and avoid cutting costs associated with hiring drivers. In addition to the monetary loss, a transportation hazard can put lives at risk if a driver is inexperienced or inattentive.
Choose a fleet of drivers and transit directors with experience and attention to general safety practices. Also, be sure the driver is familiar with the type of vehicle and materials inside. A driver handling drum equipment, for instance, should be fully aware of proper methods for handling drums on ramps and in and out of trucks.
It’s also worth investing in tracking technology for transportation methods, to monitor overall driver efficiency and diagnose potential problems before they become a larger issue. RFID technology is already used in several airports to track baggage. The technology is worth considering for any business that wishes to monitor transportation activities to ensure both efficiency and safety.
Excessive exposure to radiation can cause tissue damage that can result in severe injury or death. Ionizing radiation has sufficient energy — enough to ionize atoms that could destabilize molecules within cells, leading to tissue damage. With this in mind, if there’s any possible risk of radiation exposure, it’s important to leave the proximity immediately. Reducing time of exposure can decrease the dose dramatically.
Any potential exposure to radiation of any kind should have appropriate warning signs to encourage employees to wear personal protection, such as UV-blocking eyewear with side-shields, long-sleeved and tightly woven clothing that covers the full body and sunscreen with SPF of 30 or higher. Ionizing radiation at workplaces is preventable with lead-based materials, like lead aprons and spectacles created with lead glass.
Attire and precautions can go a long way in preventing radiation exposure, but if it occurs it’s imperative to vacate the premises immediately and seek medical attention via 911.
Chemicals can be dangerous and exposure may cause injury or death. Regarding chemical safety management, it’s advised for workplaces to label any potentially hazardous chemicals. In the same vicinity, there should be instructions for use, as well as precautions to pay attention to, such as evacuation procedures and methods for treating exposure.
The signs and symptoms of chemical exposure should be common knowledge among any employees, as they could potentially save lives with this knowledge.
Machines, chemicals, and various transportation methods are abundant at many workplaces, prompting a concern regarding explosions due to misuse or electrical malfunctions. Routine electrical inspections should be made to prevent explosions. If there are any actual explosive or related materials on the premises, they legally must be stored in approved facilities, as required by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms regulations contained in 27 CFR part 55.
In addition, the explosive material can never be stored underground if there is only one mode of exit. Smoking and open flames are also prohibited within 50 feet of detonator store magazines and explosives.
Machines play a large role in many workplace facilities, with forklifts, factory vehicles, and automation machines being a common sight. While it’s common sense that the machine’s operator should be fully educated on maneuvering the machine, it’s also important to notify surrounding workers of potential risks.
Additionally, employers shouldn’t provide access to machines for those without the clearance. Untrained workers should have no access. If in the vicinity, they should always pay attention to nearby machines and their operators.
Checklist for Training Aids and Inspections
OSHA provides a comprehensive checklist for inspections. Here’s an overview for training aids and inspections:
- Implement a hazard communication standard for various types of accidents, so your employers and employees are aware of hazardous chemicals in the vicinity and how to protect themselves.
- Have an emergency action plan, with certain scenarios in mind. Protocol for radiation exposure, fires, explosions, transit mishaps and injury should be universal and known. A fire prevention plan, in particular, with an outlining of a fire exit route and various exits is a must.
- Ensure walking and working surfaces are in shape and abide by OSHA regulatory standards. Falls from heights are among the most common workplace injuries and often the most easily preventable.
- Provide first aid and medical equipment commensurate with potential workplace hazards while informing employees of medical and first-aid locations and how to contact further help.
Take a look at the most frequently cited OSHA standards to gauge potential areas you may have missed that are commonly cited among negligent businesses.
By being comprehensively aware of various hazards and how to prevent and react to them, workplaces can provide employees with a safe place to work, which will encourage productivity and prevent potentially catastrophic mishaps.
If you liked this article, here are others you might also find interesting:
- Transform Safety Policies as Robotics Expand on Plant Floor
- Factory Safety & Security: Where You Don’t Want to Skimp
- A Constant in Manufacturing – Improving Safety [INFOGRAPHIC]
- How Advancements in Manufacturing Have (Positively) Impacted Safety