At the beginning of the industrial revolution, factories were immensely dangerous places. Employees were routinely killed in the workplace as factory owners drove their workforce hard in the pursuit of productivity and profits. Thankfully the situation has vastly improved in the last hundred years and modern factories are now relatively safe working environments. However, accidents can and do still happen - often with tragic consequences - so factory floor safety is not something you can afford to ignore.
Safety Starts at the Factory Gate
Safety cannot be picked up and put down at will. Employees and managers must understand that health and safety issues need to be the number one priority at all times. From the moment employees arrive to the second they leave, they should adhere to all safety protocols. As a reminder, place prominent signs reminding employees of safety procedures at pertinent spots around the factory.
Equipment and work procedures are continually evolving, so risk management needs to keep up to speed as a result. Managers and supervisors need to carry out regular risk assessments to ensure employees are following safe working practices, for example checking downdraft tables from Diversitech on a regular basis. And if they do spot a safety issue, the problems needs to be addressed immediately.
Employee Health and Safety Training
Staff training is vital and even long-term, experienced employees will benefit from periodic reviews of safe working practices. New employees and trainees must be given appropriate safety training before they are allowed on the factory floor. They will also need close supervision for an agreed period of time.
A safety culture needs to start at the top. Employees on the factory floor will not buy into the concept of safer working practices of senior management is not on board. It doesn't matter how much you talk about safety - if you don't follow up the talk with actions and encourage everyone to get involved, working practices will not improve. As a result, make sure senior management and executives at board level are willing to invest in factory safety.
Safety is a team exercise, so to ensure your factory floor remains as safe as possible, offer perks to encourage everyone to follow safe working practices. For example, if there are no accidents for a specified period of time, management can offer non-monetary rewards. The same applies to supervisors and team leaders who are able to demonstrate that their workers follow safe working practices.
Poor Safety Protocol Has Consequences
Remind employees and management alike that there are serious consequences for not following safe working protocols. Serious accidents on the factory floor have the potential to shut down the factory for days, which affects profits and can ultimately lead to job losses.
Safety needs to be on the agenda at all meetings held in factory and industrial environments. Do not allow safety to be swept under the rug when the pressure is on to meet production targets - it only takes one mistake to lead to loss of life and financial disaster.