Industrial workers face a lot of risk while on the job. They function in extreme work environments and often operating heavy machinery; the chances of a tragic accident are quite high.
Human error is a major contributor to industrial accidents—in fact, slips, trips, and falls are the most common cause. There are many factors that can cause problems, ranging from overexertion to mishandling of hazardous materials. There’s also a myriad of variables that can add to or influence a workplace accident.
To ensure safety for their workers, it’s imperative that employers establish safety procedures and practices. It’s also equally important for workers to make sure they are following them to maintain a safe work environment.
This blog post explores important industrial safety best practices that can help keep workers safe.
Promoting a culture of total safety
Workplace safety cannot rely on best practices and policies alone. A safe work environment greatly depends on how well both workers and management adhere to and communicate about safety standards.
The basis of any successful workplace safety culture is one that encourages employees to recognize unsafe behaviors and opportunities for improvement, while also making educated safety decisions during routine tasks.
Here are four industrial safety best practices that can help create a secure workplace environment based on shared responsibility:
Being aware of surroundings
It’s important to understand which challenges are faced by employees in their work environment. You should take frequent safety walks throughout the facility to hunt for hazards, gather ideas on how to manage them, and apply the best improvements based on feedback and suggestions.
For example: a certain area of the facility stores hazardous material can only be handled by those wearing protective gear. In this case, you should put up visible signs warning of this and informing workers of the necessary gear.
When aware of their surroundings, workers are less likely to get into accidents, and clear and well-communicated processes can help them stay protected.
Training your workers
Regular and consistent safety training can help build a culture of safety around the workplace. A completely safe work environment cannot be delivered by just one person; it takes dedicated teamwork.
It’s important to keep your workers well-trained and informed of best safety practices when it comes to handling hazardous materials or operating heavy machinery.
Delivering training doesn’t have to be boring. To help workers become more engaged throughout training, consider gamifying their experience. You can also outsource training to health and safety training providers, taking the pressure off your own team and assigning the task to the experts.
Try customizing training for smaller groups, and using videos or online courses instead of delivering a typical classroom learning experience.
Considering mental health
Mental and emotional health issues can greatly influence worker behavior and force them to disregard safe work practices.
Workplace-related stress can cause accidents and injuries to happen. Employees who feel an increased burden to meet deadlines or fill quotas are more likely to act carelessly and without thinking about their safety or that of their co-workers. Also, those who feel it’s necessary to work repeated overtime because of low salary also become prone to mistakes due to fatigue.
Employers should work extensively to address these issues and promote good mental health among employees. Limiting the overtime hours and setting achievable quotas and appropriate deadlines are a great way to start.
Communicating safety concerns
A collaborative approach to increasing safety in a work environment is integral. The dialogue should go both ways.
It’s up to facility managers to get their workers on board with workplace safety efforts and safety products, and encourage them to become active members in the process.
Supervisors should listen closely to workers when they approach management with any safety issues. Equally, management should share the workplace injury statistics and tangible risks their job presents to them on a daily basis.
Having a two-way communication flow can help create a conversation about safe best practices, and encourage workers to take ownership and adopt safe behaviors.
Safety and the human error: Are only workers to blame?
Although it’s easy to blame workers as the main cause of workplace accidents, that’s just touching the surface of the problem. With further investigation, you’ll discover many other elements that cause workplace accidents to happen.
Most industrial workers will behave in ways that make sense to them, based on the knowledge and resources they have. Individual factors such as training, age, fatigue level, attention, and expectations can affect the way a worker responds to certain situations or tasks. Similarly, workplace design plays an important role—poorly designed facility layout, workstation configuration, and accessibility can also cause accidents. From the management side of things, policies, management decisions, workload, communication, and task designs should be factored in.
When added together, these elements can greatly influence the way workers act and make decisions based on their understanding. To ensure total safety, it’s important that management investigates when and why an accident happens. By reviewing the cause of an accident, employers can ascertain all the contributing factors and learn from certain mistakes.
It may be obvious that industrial safety involves a lot of moving pieces, and a lot of information being collected from a wide variety of sources. Relying on paperwork or old-fashioned spreadsheets is outdated, inefficient and can cause oversights which lead to tragedies. Safety management software is the total worksite safety solution. It streamlines the process, digitizes forms, analyzes data, files it in the cloud, keeps track of necessary training, and more. Essentially, it removes the tedious and time-consuming tasks that go into developing procedures and practices. Safety and efficiency!
Ready to learn more about how to make your workplace safe? Talk to SafetyTek and learn how you too can prevent workplace accidents from happening in your facility.