Manufacturing is a brilliant sector to operate in. It brings ideas to life, and you can actually feel them coming into fruition with each passing day. Manufacturing is also very versatile with regards to who cares about it. You can make products for your own customers, or you can work in a B2B sense.
The key asset for any manufacturing business is the employees. Not only are you hiring skilled workers that have tremendous talent, but they are in short supply. Engineers are always a niche kind of professional. It’s not like accountants which are a dime a dozen.
You need to protect your employees from the very real dangers of manufacturing. They face different kinds of dangers, from poisonous air molecules, something heavy falling on them, slipping, hazardous chemicals, heat exhaustion, and exposure to cold.
How to deal with a spill
Hazardous spills don’t just refer to nuclear waste in nuclear power stations. Although, this is the image that comes to many of our minds. A hazardous liquid could be anything such as brake fluid leaking out of the container in a car manufacturing line.
It could be a cooling liquid for your machines, or it could be oil. How do you deal with something like an oil spill? You use an oil spill kit that has socks, absorbent material which you can shovel onto the liquid that has spilled, a waste disposal drum, and personal protective equipment.
The socks are not like socks you wear, they’re a tubular structure that you put around the spill to stop it from spreading. They absorb the liquid rapidly and prevent it from traveling any further. This is something you need on slick surfaces such as those you find in warehouses and retail stores.
Make sure the employee dealing with this is wearing protective equipment which will prevent him or her from breathing in the fumes and touching the liquid that could burn their skin. You should also put signs down on the floor to warn people of the spill until it has been properly cleaned and the area is made safe to use again.
What if something falls?
One of the scariest dangers of working in manufacturing is something heavy and large falling on top of an employee. This could be something like a car chassis that wasn’t properly gripped by a moving robot hand. It could be parts that are not perfectly stored and kept away from ledges. It could be something like loose tools which are not put away in their correct holding place.
So what do you do when something like this happens? You find an employee on the floor, hurt, and they need help right away. Firstly you need someone who can perform emergency first aid and a first aid kit. So this means you should train your managers and employees to be able to do things like reading a pulse, performing CPR, leg elevation, putting pressure on open wounds, and talking to the injured person to calm them down and prevent them from going into shock.
You should always have first aid kits close by in any part of your manufacturing facility. For good practice, place one first aid kit at the end of each section. So this will allow everyone to remember where it is as they walk past it each time they enter the building and their operating area.
Caught in machinery
Just the mere thought of being trapped in a heavy-duty machine sends peoples’ toes curling. It can be one of the most traumatic things anyone witnesses and it’s not uncommon for people who saw their friend and work colleague get chewed up in a machine, seriously hurt or killed, to need therapy to deal with their psychological trauma. So what do you do if someone is caught in a machine that you operate for your manufacturing business?
You firstly need to have a protocol to halt power going to the machine. So the first thing you need to train your employees to do is to stop the machine from working using the emergency cease function button. Then you need to stabilize the person caught in it. Let them know you are there, you’re dealing with the situation to get them free.
Call the emergency services so he or she can receive immediate lifesaving treatment. You should also have tools that you can use to prevent the machine from working. These could be solid tools and bars. Some machines have so much torque that even when they have been halted, any further movement triggered by trying to free the person can make them operate mechanically.
This should be commonplace but it’s not. Many companies don’t realize they need to report on incidents of all kinds. Whether they are near-miss, actual incidents where someone was hurt, or even if no one was hurt. Part of the reason is that there needs to be financial accounting for the damage caused and the incident could also be something compliance needs to know about.
It’s easy to make incident reports once you know how, and you have the right software to support your managers who will be tasked with producing them. You may also need to formulate a method that could include taking photographic evidence of an incident, interviewing employees involved in it, and also making suggestions on how to improve the situation for the future. Incident reporting should be a weekly occurrence so you can catch emerging risks that could be hidden otherwise. If you don’t have the right protocols to deal with a particular event, it’s more than likely that it’s because it’s a new event that you hadn’t planned for.
Manufacturing accidents are unfortunately common. You’re lucky to go a month without an employee getting hurt. So it’s vital to have first aid kits and training throughout the entire workforce. But also, invest in proper spill containment equipment, and emergency stoppage procedures.
Discussion about this post