How To Make Your Industrial Workplace Safer
Industrial work environments call for an immense amount of care and safety when it comes to handling equipment, transporting materials, and carrying out other daily tasks. However, maintaining that level of care and safety is easier said than done. With so many safety hazards to watch out for, it can be tough at first to solidify a sufficient set of safety guidelines. To help employers through this process, we’ll teach you how to make your industrial workplace safer with this helpful list. Whether you’re handling chemicals, grain, or any other kind of common material, these guidelines will be beneficial to your workplace.
Properly Train Employees
Industrial work environments can be home to a wide range of equipment, depending on the specific industry the company is operating within. Common industrial equipment includes forklifts, conveyors, and cranes, but they’re certainly not the only examples. It doesn’t matter what kind of equipment your employees use on a regular basis, this same principle rings true—all employees need to receive thorough training on how to use equipment relevant in order to prevent workplace accidents caused by poor employee performance. This training should also include tasks like maintenance, repairs, and general cleaning.
As an example, we’ll use forklifts because they are so common and, in the wrong hands, so very dangerous. Forklift operators need to undergo OSHA-approved training courses upon hiring to ensure they receive proper certification. If you don’t provide your new forklift operators with this training, not only are you violating OSHA guidelines, but you’re also creating an unsafe work environment. Forklifts are very dangerous pieces of machinery that can lead to many dangerous situations, such as collisions, tip overs, and materials falling off the fork.
Of course, a forklift is only one example of equipment that requires proper training to ensure a safe workplace. If you provide a good training course for your employees, you can prevent common workplace accidents and injuries from occurring in your facility. Beyond training employees, you should monitor how they put that training into use.
Regularly Monitor Employee Performance
Once an employee completes training and officially enters your workforce, keep an eye on them. Keeping track of employee performance allows you to swiftly correct an employee if they begin showing neglect for certain guidelines, whether it’s a hygiene issue, material handling issue, or another important workplace protocol. Besides monitoring and enforcing proper employee practices, you should also have refresher training courses in place for employees who need to, or simply want to, sharpen their knowledge of a certain topic relevant to the workplace. Forgetting certain details about safety protocols and workplace conduct isn’t impossible, but it is avoidable if you encourage employees to take part in refresher training courses.
PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) Is Essential
Aside from equipment like conveyors and forklifts, you also need to have the right safety equipment in your workplace. As the employer, you are obligated to provide your employees with sufficient PPE for completing daily tasks. PPE will vary from facility to facility, but the most common types include gloves, respirators, and goggles.
That’s why it’s so crucial to have a thorough understanding of the equipment and products you have in your facility and, more specifically, how they will impact the environment and people around it. If you understand that, you can gather together the right PPE for keeping your employees safe. Furthermore, the COVID-19 pandemic has brought on its own PPE needs, so don’t forget to provide face shields, masks, and other gear for preventing COVID and other illnesses from spreading throughout your facility.
Conduct Regular Inspections
Before employees use any equipment for work tasks, they should carry out a thorough inspection to ensure it’s in working condition. Hopefully, you should have a maintenance schedule already in place for your industrial equipment, but that doesn’t make safety inspections any less important. We’ll reference forklifts again because, as any forklift operator knows, pre-shift inspections are necessary before getting behind the wheel, hence the term “pre-shift.” That way, if something is leaking, loose, or otherwise unfit for working conditions, it can be properly and swiftly addressed. Doing this for your industrial equipment will help minimize the risks of accidents occurring on the job.
Provide the Best Equipment for the Job
Just because this is near the bottom of the list does not mean it’s any less important than the tips above. In fact, it’s one of the most important tips of them all—keep employee safety in mind when shopping for workplace equipment. For instance, don’t force employees to carry excessive weight when they don’t have to.
Instead, supply them with a forklift, pallet jack, or other types of material transportations equipment relevant to your specific facility. Improving workplace ergonomics with the right equipment isn’t just about keeping employees comfortable and efficiency high, even though those are nice benefits, but it’s also about preventing employees from developing injuries in areas like the neck and back over time.
Additionally, industrial facilities can produce dangerous amounts of particles and dust throughout the workday. These particles—whether it’s food, chemicals, or something else entirely—can be dangerous if inhaled by employees. This is why many industrial facilities use a suitable dust collector machine for getting rid of this very issue. Using equipment like dust collectors to keep the environment safe for employees is just as important as supplying those same employees with PPE and other essential gear.
Encourage Employees To Speak Out
One of the best ways to learn how to make your industrial workplace safer is by encouraging employees to speak up when they see a workplace hazard that needs addressing. This hazard might be another employee improperly handling equipment, an employee not practicing good hygiene, or an unsupervised leak or spill—anything that poses a risk to workplace safety.
Furthermore, if employees feel as though you as the employer are enforcing unsafe work conditions or practices, they should feel comfortable enough to come forward and speak with you or a designated supervisor about it. Employee feedback is a beneficial asset, but if employees don’t feel comfortable talking to you or another superior about it, they might look for a new job instead of a way to fix the solution in-house.