Industry Trends

How to Build a Culture of Manufacturing Safety

manufacturing safety

Prioritizing manufacturing safety prevents injuries, enhances productivity and morale and improves overall employee health.

No matter how hard manufacturing leaders try to emphasize safety, though, a facility can only be as safe as the people working in it. There must be a shared sense of responsibility, meaning each employee must value others’ safety, as well as their own.

To embed safety into your company’s culture, follow these manufacturing safety best practices.

Prioritize safety in leadership.

For any business initiative to work, it must be supported from the top down. That means it’s crucial for managers to build upon their own safety leadership skills before they ask their employees to do the same. By developing these skills, they’ll have the opportunity to translate fundamental ideas into strategies and tactics.

Through safety training, mentoring and periodic assessment, leaders will be able to drive performance and motivate their peers and reports to practice safety.

Get everyone involved in machine maintenance.

Machinery left unchecked can be very dangerous. To keep track of its status, all employees should be taught to do a quick inspection before and after they use a piece of equipment. This balances the responsibility of safety on the entire organization, and not just on managers or safety officers.

Ideally, this level of inspections should include understanding how a piece of equipment sounds, smells and looks — all of which allow them to spot any warning signs.

That doesn’t mean that employees should take malfunctioning equipment into their own hands, though. If they do suspect an issue, they should be told to alert management right away. Equipment should be regularly checked and repaired by a professional.

Make safety resources easily accessible.

In the event of an emergency, easy access to medical equipment is crucial. At minimum, all facilities should be stocked with general first aid materials. Additionally, employees should have access to any other safety resources specific to the facility’s specific processes.

It’s all a smart idea to equip all employees with basic first-aid training. This way, they have the experience and knowledge to intervene if a dangerous situation presents itself.

Use proper labels and signage.

Most workplace accidents can be prevented simply by being alert. To ensure everyone knows what to avoid, manufacturing managers should post large, visible warning signs on potential hazards. All tools, substances and pieces of equipment should be clearly labeled and employees should understand their damage.

Similarly, restricted areas should be clearly identified. Dangerous areas should be limited to essential people, not friends, family or unnecessary workers.

Recognize safe employees.

Safety in manufacturing should always be a positive mindset. To encourage this culture, it’s a good idea to recognize and thank employees who exhibit safe practices while on the job. This can be through awards, raises or even just verbal recognition.

It’s important, however, not to discourage the reporting of hazards, concerns, accidents or injuries when celebrating safe employees. A great way to avoid negative feelings is to openly discuss ways to improve factory safety. If production managers are regularly identifying new safety concerns, workers will feel comfortable presenting issues if they arise in day-to-day operations.

Day-to-day manufacturing safety

What are some of your manufacturing safety best practices? How do you plan on continuously making manufacturing safety a top priority? We’d like to hear from you. Let us know by tweeting us at @AppleRubber.