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12/11/2021

Improving Health and Safety Measures in the Manufacturing Industry

No one wants to be injured whilst at work, and no one wants their staff to be injured, especially whilst on the job. That doesn’t mean that accidents don’t happen. In fact, each year an average of 22 manufacturing workers die in workplace accidents. With 2.7 million people currently working in the manufacturing sector in the UK, that may seem like a low figure, but it isn’t just injuries and deaths that we need to be aware of. 

The Labour Force Survey estimates that an average of 33,000 workers per year suffer from illnesses that have been caused or made worse by their job in the manufacturing sector. This highlights not only the increased risk within the sector but also the diverse range of health and safety issues that can follow. 

With that in mind, there’s never been a more important time to look at health and safety in the manufacturing industry and how we can mitigate risks.

5 Key Dangers That Factory Workers May Face at Work

Slips, Trips and Falls

Slips, trips and falls are some of the most commonly reported workplace injuries. Although not exclusive to the manufacturing sector, their prevalence is worth noting. With potential exposure to oils, chemicals and other hazardous materials, the manufacturing workplace is likely to see an increased risk of slips and falls. These can pose a huge risk to the health and safety of the workers and lead to major injuries.

Machine-Related Injuries

Due to the nature of manufacturing work, heavy machinery can pose great problems for the health and safety of workers. It may seem obvious, but moving machinery is one of the main causes of injury within the manufacturing industry. Machine-related injuries account for 19% of manufacturing fatalities, 13% of major accidents and 11% of minor injuries in the UK. Health and safety concerns can arise not only when factoring in malfunctioning machinery but also when there is a lack of strict health and safety protocols pertaining to the use of the machinery. Strict safety standards are absolutely vital to limit the safety risks of machinery within the manufacturing workplace. 

Falling Objects

High shelving and inappropriate storage solutions can raise health and safety red flags for your workers when it comes to the health risk of falling objects. Pallets and shelving are great for clearing floor space from objects that would otherwise be increasing slips, trips and falls, but pallets and shelving also pose their own hazards. 

Repetitive Stress Injuries

Factory and production workers have a high risk of developing a repetitive strain injury. RSIs are developed by an individual repeating the same motion over again in the same manner, overworking the same tissue groups. In the manufacturing industry, this is extremely common and this can lead to major injuries for workers. With an up-to-date health and safety policy in place, this can be mitigated.

Vehicle Accidents

Along with machinery, there is usually a large number of moving vehicles present at manufacturing workplaces. Vehicles can be a health and safety issue when they are being operated incorrectly or there is a lack of safety procedures in place to mitigate risk. Every year there are over 5000 incidents involving transport in the workplace, so it is extremely important to have measures in place for this.

Mitigating Danger and Ensuring Safety at All Times

Whilst the manufacturing industry is filled with potential workplace health and safety issues, it’s important to know the ways in which you can effectively mitigate danger by improving your health and safety measures. These steps will not only help keep employees safe from danger but also businesses free from costly legal battles.

To ensure that your machinery is as safe as can be we recommend regular machinery guarding audits and machine guarding risk assessments. Our expert Health and Safety Consultants are all members of the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health and will help you take effective measures to prevent access to the dangerous parts of machinery. 

If you’re looking for a more general approach to improving your health and safety measures, the best step would be to enquire about health and safety consultancy. With the complexities of manufacturing, it can be difficult to know where to start or what safety procedure to implement. Our specialist Manufacturing Health and Safety Consultants will guide you through the process, ensuring that you comply with the legal requirements but also improve your safety processes as a whole.

Once you have upgraded your health and safety measures and ensured that your machinery is all safe to use, it is a great idea to upskill your team in health and safety. In doing this, you will be adding an additional layer of protection to your business and your employees. We host a whole range of health and safety training courses from CEOs and Directors to Supervisors and Machine Operators. By educating your employees on health and safety measures, you are mitigating the dangers. 

If you’re looking to improve your health and safety measures in your manufacturing business, get in touch with an expert Health and Safety Consultant from SMS Europe via our website enquiry form, email us at office@smseurope.co.uk or give us a call on 0845 224 0028. 

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