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Manufacturing - Manufacturing Industry Risks

MEMIC data analysis indicates the following are areas of concern in manufacturing. The following list of problems with recommeded solutions that — if put into practice — can help make your place of business safer.

1. Material handling
Workers in manufacturing must continually move raw, in-process, or finished goods in the routine course of producing marketable commodities. Equipment, too, must often be moved and maintained. Improper handling of these materials and tasks can cause overexertion, repetitive motions, strains/sprains, all of which can cause injuries. These risks can be controlled by:
  • Require the use and maintenance of lift-aid equipment such as hoists, cranes, forklifts and come-alongs (rather than manually lifting) whenever possible.
  • When materials must be lifted by hand, require workers to employ proper lifting techniques. For example, workers should avoid lifting from the floor level, and avoid extended reaching. Workers should get help to avoid heavy lifting by themselves.
  • Implement a stretching program.


2. Personal protective equipment
A leading reason for injuries in manufacturing environments is the lack or improper use of personal protective equipment. Employers should provide the appropriate personal protective equipment along with training on its proper use. Manufacturing environments should require:

  • Eye/face protection including goggles, shields, welding lenses and curtains.
  • Other safety apparel including safety shoes, gloves, and clothing.


3. Housekeeping
Falls are another leading cause of injury to workers in manufacturing. Most slips, trips and falls can be traced to poor housekeeping practices. Here are some simple ways to prevent these injuries:

Falls are another leading cause of injury to workers in manufacturing. Most slips, trips and falls can be traced to poor housekeeping practices. Here are some simple ways to prevent these injuries:
  • Keep floors and work areas clear of debris, electrical cords, tools and other extraneous equipment. Make sure floors are not slippery.
  • Remove ice and snow as often as practical, and use sand and/or salt on slippery walking surfaces.


4. Safeguarding and lockout/tagout
Injuries that are caused by workers who come in contact with machines are closely correlated with the lack of appropriate safeguards on the machines. Without proper guards, workers can suffer serious injuries to their extremities or, can be pulled by their hair or by loose-fitting clothing into a machine. In addition, injuries occur when maintenance is performed without disabling power to machines. To protect against these types of injuries:

  • Prevent worker contact with all rotating or moving machinery by using guards, enclosures, or guarding devices between the worker and the machine.
  • Implement a lockout/tagout procedure. This will ensure that power to equipment is completely disconnected and cannot be reconnected while someone is working on the equipment.


5. Effective supervision
Well-trained supervisors will manage well-planned jobs and will ultimately produce safe and productive working environments. Research shows that many supervisors are promoted because of their technical ability or their productivity, This does not mean that he or she is
ready for the human relations challenges of creating safe and productive environments. Employers should:

  • Provide supervisor training. Train your supervisors in human relations skills, behavior-based management and their responsibility toward safe production. MEMIC can help through our supervisory management training programs.
  • Make accountability to work safely a part of the job. Just as productivity is a valued when supervisors are reviewed, so should safe work environments. Make safety a part of every supervisor’s job appraisal.
  • Establish a written commitment from management to workplace safety.
  • Select a medical provider to assist in getting injured employees back to work.
  • Develop employee involvement through safety committees or regular safety meetings.
  • Require a new employee orientation to job safety requirements.
  • Employee selection process should include a job application, a reference check, and an in-depth interview, as well as a pre-placement interview.