The manufacturing industry represents a vital part of the world economy and is a key contributor to global GDP. Factories around the world produce some of the key components that are used in other forms of commerce (such as the technology and aerospace industries among others) and produce final products that are sold to consumer markets.
Since the Industrial Revolution, factories have become increasingly automated and use the latest technologies to ensure that a high level of production and standardization can be achieved. Even with this impressive degree of automation, most factories still rely on a skilled and semi-skilled workforce to undertake some of the production processes. These staff members need to work in an environment that’s comfortable and free of hazards to ensure that they can complete their tasks safely.
In this brief guide, the subject of worker health and safety in a factory environment will be explored. Some key concepts will be discussed that allow improvements to take place to safeguard employees in these types of workplaces.
A culture of incident reporting
In many factory environments, there may be risks that are posed to staff from equipment or the surroundings. In some circumstances, accidents or near-misses may occur that have the potential to injure staff. It’s of paramount importance that every factory has a robust reporting method for such occurrences, and that staff can create an incident report when accidents happen or risks in the workplace are identified.
Today, many factories use incident reporting software platforms to gather this data. Typically, incident reports can be submitted electronically and are held in a database. This allows managers and senior staff to understand the risks in the workplace and ensure that remedial action is taken to prevent reoccurrences of accidents or near-misses. The software can be used to produce reports and statistics that help to identify areas for improvement in terms of workers’ health and safety on the site.
In addition to these types of reporting platforms, there should be a “no blame” culture of reporting where staff are encouraged to file incident reports without fear of recrimination. This will ensure that the organization is fully aware of the risks in the workplace and can take adequate steps to mitigate them.
Install air purification systems
Many factories will use potentially hazardous chemicals in their manufacturing processes. These may pose a direct risk to workers’ health if steps aren’t taken to protect staff from them. In addition, the factory environment needs to be suitable in terms of temperature and air quality to allow comfortable working practices to take place for staff.
A key way to achieve this is by installing an air purification system such as those available from Design Mechanical, Inc, in areas of the factory that require them. Such air purification systems filter the air in the factory environment and remove contaminants or particulates that could potentially damage worker health.
Factory owners must assess the air quality and ambient temperatures across the factory workspaces. Any areas that produce potentially hazardous emissions should have air purification systems installed. Put simply, this is an effective and vital way to ensure that factory staff can work in a safe environment that has suitable air quality.
In any modern factory environment, it’s vitally important that staff receive adequate training to undertake their roles. Comprehensive staff training programs have many benefits for the firm which can include ensuring that high levels of productivity and consistency are achieved. Put simply, a well-trained workforce will be able to undertake their roles more effectively and ensure that output levels are high.
However, it’s also important to recognize the value that training has in promoting safe working practices. Staff may need to operate complex machinery that has the potential to cause injury if not properly used. Ensuring that staff are competent in the operation of machinery and equipment will help to reduce accidents in the workplace.
Healthy meal choices
Briefly, staff health and well-being can be improved by offering the workforce a range of healthy meal choices when they have meals in the factory canteen. Managers should take steps to ensure that freshly prepared meals are available for the workforce that help to support their continued good health. A mix of fruit and vegetables should be available alongside main meal options that help staff to enjoy a balanced diet.
In the long term, this may help to reduce staff sickness absence levels as the workforce will be enjoying meals at work that are helping to support a healthy immune system.