Workplace injuries are a risk in many industries, but potential vulnerabilities are heightened in manufacturing.
From chemical processing facilities to steel mills, manufacturing and industrial environments can harbor employee hazards. Heavy and dangerous equipment, chemicals and slippery floors are just some of the factors that can turn a day on the job into a disaster.
Despite the safety plans many businesses implement, rigorous fields produce a staggering amount of workplace injuries – with over 12,300 documented cases daily. Of these injuries, 100,000 or more are in the manufacturing sector every year, making it a top 3 industry in workplace incidents. While most documented injuries are minor, the business cost can be significant. Manufacturing trades are often very specialized and time away from the job due to an injury can have a painful production and operational impact.
Stopping injuries in the manufacturing industry must be collaborative between employer and employee. It is the worker’s job to be aware and take proactive steps regarding their own wellbeing, but manufacturers are also responsible for providing a safer daily environment.
Common Hazards in the Manufacturing Industry
Even the most experienced employee, who’s most familiar with their workplace, can be caught unaware. Whether an associate is new or seasoned, here are the most common injuries and their causes.
Slips, Trips, and Falls
The National Safety Council routinely lists slips, trips and falls as one of the most common workplace injuries every year.
The biggest contributing factor to these injuries includes slick or wet floors, stairs, and walkways. Manufacturing environments can be demanding to maintain high productivity, and incidents of spilled water or chemicals can be overlooked. Outside walkways or stairs exposed to cold temperatures and wet weather can cause poor footing. Falls from one level to another is also a worry, and the injuries are far more severe.
Accident prevention is vital for manufacturers, and with proper planning, slips, trips, and falls can be significantly reduced. Educating employees on workplace appropriate footwear, posting adequate signage, and having hand and guard rails on stairways and other walkways can help workers stay grounded.
Businesses can proactively address areas with unsafe footing concerns by installing anti-slip tape or stair treads. While regular staff instruction and facility maintenance are crucial steps in a manufacturer’s safety plan – having the best anti-slip products in place will limit injuries.
Contact with an Object
Machinery operators face an inherent risk during their workday. Often these jobs can be repetitive, and throughout a shift, a worker could become distracted, causing a lapse in cautious operation. Injuries like burns, severe cuts or worse can occur while individuals are operating dangerous tools or machines. Moving equipment or forklifts can also be a hazard if both the driver and those working in proximity aren’t aware.
Employees should be well trained for their assignment and given adequate breaks to mentally refresh. Employees can do their part by staying alert, paying attention while doing a task and wearing proper safety equipment to avoid injury.
Some workplace injuries happen as a side effect to a strenuous occupation. Manufacturing jobs often call for physical labor, putting those workers at a higher risk of strain.
Overexertion is a major workplace problem and a regular injury concern in manufacturing facilities. Other actions, like continuously using a repetitive motion throughout the workday can cause a problem.
Employees should be mindful of their own limits, taking regular breaks and using suitable braces and supports to avoid exhaustion. Employers should encourage a proper balance of productivity and safety.
Injuries in the manufacturing industry are never entirely preventable, but with planning and the installation of Sure-Foot safety products, accidents can be minimized.