Safety at Work

10 Daily Workplace Safety Tips for the Manufacturing Industry


The working life today, DC (during Covid 19), differs greatly from the working life BC (before covid 19), and those differences have led to and still continue to lead to health and safety issues in the workplace. The adoption of safe working spaces, the introduction of masks and routine sanitisation of the workplace creates added costs to the employer and an increased responsibility to both the employee and the employee.


So today, we need to ask ourselves who the responsibility lies with in the workplace.


Who is responsible for the health and safety of the workforce?

The idea of one person being solely responsible for the health and well-being of all employees is a far-fetched myth where we have been led to believe that the Health and Safety Manager is the person in charge, but that is not the case. Yes, they have an overall responsibility for the implementation of and adherence to health and safety legislation. However, first and foremost, the health and safety of every employee lies with the employer. The employer must bear the majority of the responsibility and ensure the working environment is safe and free from hazards. The employer must also ensure that the employees are fully trained in the operation of all machinery they operate and the employer must also provide adequate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for each and every employee. The PPE should be fit for purpose and relevant for the activities of each employee. The H&S Manager will implement these practices and carry out regular audits of the business to ensure all health and safety codes are met.


On top of all this, and probably most importantly, the health and safety of the employee is the responsibility of the employee. As an employer it is relatively easy to train and clothe the employee but if the employee is negligent or worse still belligerent in their responsibilities then no amount of preparation can prevent accidents at work.


“Any man can make mistakes but only an idiot persists in his error” - Marcus Tulius Cicero

If the employee is responsible for their own health and safety and the safety of their machinery and workplace, then it goes without saying that the employer must support the employee in providing all the relevant information, training, clothing, and equipment needed for that. If each and every employee takes responsibility for their own workspace and their own health and safety, then the number of accidents due to “human error” will be reduced.


Here are ten tips for every employee to adopt in order to provide a safe working environment for themselves and their co-workers. If each member of staff adopts these tips on a daily basis, the incidence of workplace related accident and injury will fall dramatically.


10 Daily Safety Tips

Inform Supervisors of any unsafe conditions

Use equipment and machinery correctly

Wear appropriate PPE for your job

Prevent slips, trips and falls

Keep workspaces and emergency exits clear

Eliminate fire hazards

Avoid the tracking of hazardous materials

Prevent objects falling

Use correct lifting techniques

Take work breaks for time to time



Inform Supervisors of any unsafe conditions

Be responsible for your workspace and your workplace. You are the person who spends the most time in and around your workspace, and you are the person who operates the machinery regularly, so you become aware of any issues before management. So, if you see any potential hazards, remove them, but only if it is safe to do so, and report the removal to your immediate supervisor. If, on the other hand, it is unsafe to remove the hazard, refer the situation to your supervisor immediately.


“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” - Benjamin Franklin.


Use equipment and machinery correctly

Do NOT become relaxed or comfortable when using machinery and tools regularly. Maintain your concentration and use the equipment as it has been designed to be used. Ensure you are trained to operate the equipment safely and correctly. If you feel under-trained in the use of equipment, especially if new equipment has been installed, report the concern or request to your supervisor.



Wear appropriate PPE for your job

Under Covid-19 safe working guidelines, your employer is responsible for the provision of surgical masks or face coverings, unless their work tasks requires the wearing of a respirator or other PPE. Your employer is legally obligated to supply you with all the correct PPE for your job, if you do not have it ask your supervisor. Ensure the PPE is fit for purpose, in good repair and a good fit Conforming to all current regulations.


Prevent slips, trips and falls

Prevention is always better than cure, and this is just as pertinent in the workplace. Ensure all areas are free from spills and trip hazards. If in doubt, clean it or clear it. For all liquid spills use proprietary containers and all necessary PPE when handling the spillages.


Keep workspaces and emergency exits clear

As part of your induction and on-boarding process you will have been shown where the emergency exits are and how to egress the building safely. Therefore, you need to maintain adequate routes of emergency egress. You are responsible for your workspace and your workplace, so ensure that all emergency exits are clear of clutter and ingress and egress is unencumbered. If it’s not in its place, put it away safely.


 

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Eliminate fire hazards

If you need to use combustible materials for your job, you must ensure you have enough for the work at hand, not an excess. Excessive amounts of flammable material only increases the risk of fire, so be sure to have sufficient for the task at hand.

Make sure all flammable materials are stored safely and correctly, away from any sources of ignition.


Avoid the tracking of hazardous materials

Avoid cross-contamination by keeping all mats clean and well-maintained. Use specific mops for specific spills and change clothing if spills occur.

Remove any contaminated clothing before going home.


Prevent objects falling

In order to prevent injury, use protection such as nets, toe guards and rails. Stack boxes vertically with heaviest items in the bottom. Keep all stacked objects out of aisles and work areas.

"Prepare and prevent, don't repair and repent" - Anon

Use correct lifting techniques

Manual handling training should be mandatory for all employees in the workplace in order to prevent injury from straining. Use of special lifting equipment should be implemented to avoid injury and all relevant training provided regularly.


Take work breaks for time to time

Time away from your workstation allows the employees time to recharge and refocus and can therefore prevent injury. A tired employee is more likely to suffer injury than an employee who is well-rested.

Who is responsible for the health and safety of employees?


Simple answer: EVERYONE.


“You are your own last line of defense in safety. It all boils down to you” - Kina Repp

The responsibility for safety at work cannot be handed over solely to one department or person. The safety of the employee starts and finishes with that employee. Yes they need training. Yes they need to have the appropriate PPE, and yes they need to be using safe, well-maintained equipment, but, the last line of health and safety defense lies solely with the individual.


Stop passing that responsibility. Take it and own it.


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About the author

Jonathan Moore is the founder of Accent on Training, a Social Media Management, Brand and Website design agency based in Seoul, South Korea. For nearly ten years, he has helped clients in developing their businesses online through branding, website design and bespoke social media marketing solutions.


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