There are some industrial workplace safety tips that you just can’t ignore. A sound safety program will significantly reduce the risk of work-related injuries. That’s because keeping your employees safe isn’t just about protecting the lives of the people you depend on, it’s also about preventative health measures.
According to the 2017 Liberty Mutual Workplace Safety Index, serious non-fatal workplace injuries amount to nearly $60 billion in direct U.S. workers' compensation costs. And in 2015, 4,836 workers lost their lives due to workplace injury — or about 13 people per day! You might think that your facility has safety figured out, but there’s always more that can be done to reduce these shocking statistics.
Here are four workplace safety tips you didn’t know you should be practicing.
1. Implement a Safety and Health Management System
A safety and health management system is a collaborative and proactive process that aims to identify and correct workplace hazards before they endanger lives. When properly executed, these programs can reduce expenses related to occupational injuries by 20 to 40 percent.
To give you an idea of how to build out your system, check out this roadmap, which outlines the system in terms of:
- Management leadership
- Employee participation
- Hazard identification and assessment
- Hazard prevention and control
- Education and training
- System evaluation and improvement
2. Ramp Up Your Employee Training Program
Employees in their first month on the job risk injury 3 times more than employees with a year’s experience. You need a dedicated training program that is tailored to address specific employee roles. For example, the safety training you provide to a laboratory employee is much different than the advice you provide for an industrial line employee.
The Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) recommends having plans in place in multiple areas. The five critical areas OSHA investigators say must be addressed for a comprehensive and effective safety approach include:
- Electrical Safety Program: This document directs activity appropriate for the risk associated with electrical hazards.
- Hazard Assessment: Section 130.2 requires that electrical equipment operating at voltages greater than 50 volts be put into an electrically safe working condition.
- Hazard Prevention: Preventive measures lower the probability of a hazardous scenario happening.
- Hazard Mitigation: After risks are identified, risk mitigation needs to be effectively implemented.
- Safety Training: Training workers (employees and contractors) that are exposed to hazards is critical to workplace safety.
And remember that effective training is not a one-time deal. Safety should be reiterated throughout the year to keep best practices top of mind for all employees.
3. Be Mindful of Brain Fatigue
If your employees are working longer-than-average hours in a fast-paced environment, they are at a significantly higher risk for injury due to brain fatigue. Brain fatigue occurs when the mind is so exhausted, it reaches a point of dysfunction. The most common symptoms associated with brain fatigue include:
- 1. Memory loss
- 2. Fogginess
- 3. Difficulty processing information
- 4. Lack of motivation
- 5. Tiredness
- 6. Poor focus and concentration
- 7. Inability to form complete thoughts
Serious accidents can result when these symptoms come into play. To prevent instances of brain fatigue, monitor the number of consecutive hours your employees work and mandate regular breaks. Watch out for the warning signs and approve time off as needed. It’s critical to creating a safe working environment.
4. Incentivize Compliance
This tip is especially important for high-risk environments like manufacturing where heavy machinery, toxic substances, and electrical equipment are a large part of the daily routine. It is human nature for us to adjust to our environments and become comfortable with our surroundings. But even a moment of carelessness can result in injury or death.
One way to ward off complacency is by incentivizing the adoption of safety practices. Set goals for your workforce and reward employees or department leaders when they meet goals. Take time to address instances of non-compliance with correction or consequence. Perhaps most importantly, encourage employees to report safety issues. Leadership can’t keep tabs on every employee every second of the day. But you can encourage your employees to monitor one another.
The main goal of your safety program should be to prevent workplace deaths and injuries. It should also address the serious consequences that these events can cause for workers, their families, and employers. Organizations with a strong safety culture that have established comprehensive safety programs, effectively act on them, and monitor their progress.
You’re legally obligated to find ways to eliminate unsafe conditions in your work areas. A comprehensive safety plan goes beyond emergency exits, protective equipment, and mechanical aids. It also requires a commitment from company leaders and employees to make safety a top priority.
From products and applications to processes and manufacturing, iCONN Systems is all about safety. We require our entire team of engineers to stay up-to-date on the latest safety tests and regulations to ensure that we offer the best advice to product development teams. We’re also an ISO 9001 certified company, which means we are trustworthy, cost-effective, customer-oriented and diligent about the quality of our products and service. Learn more about us by clicking here.
Or if you’d like information on how a custom engineering process can help your business, check out our six-step plan.