Manufacturing work is vital to the success of the economy. Nevertheless, it involves many inherent safety hazards.
Employers in manufacturing have a responsibility to provide a safe working environment. This means mitigating the hazards to the extent possible by warning workers about them and training them to cope with potentially dangerous situations. Industrial Safety and Hygiene News describes some of the most common hazards in the manufacturing industry.
1. Confined spaces
A worker who gets trapped in a confined space while working a manufacturing job may run out of oxygen and suffocate. Employers can train workers how to work safely in confined spaces, but if the workers do not know what counts as a confined space, they may not know when to apply their training. Therefore, employers should identify confined spaces with signage.
2. Hazardous materials
Hazardous materials, such as battery acid and caustic cleaning solutions, are often necessary to the manufacturing process. However, exposure to these materials can cause serious injuries or illnesses. Employers should train employees on safe methods for loading and moving these materials, as well as what to do in case of an accidental exposure.
3. Heavy machinery
Machinery used in manufacturing often has to be able to cut and shape metal, wood and other hard materials. Should a part of the human body become caught in the machinery, the effects can be devastating. Manufacturing employers need to be able to guard the machinery to prevent accidents and train employees on safe operation.
A major factor in many workplace accidents is pressure to meet a deadline. Therefore, supervisors need to set reasonable expectations and employees need to manage time effectively.