Becoming a zero–accident manufacturing plant requires more than conducting new-hire training or handing out safety booklets. It involves full commitment from the owner on down as well as a safety culture that leads to the absolute minimum of accidents and injuries. The results can include increased morale, higher product quality and an improved bottom line.
Create a team that includes a rotating cross-section of workers from all departments and salary levels and give them a job that raises safety standards. Make sure the group contains an odd number of members so there can be a deciding vote. Providing the team with a specific purpose, such as conducting job-safety analyses, reviewing accident records and making recommendations, can motivate its members and encourage active involvement.
Get suggestions from your employees and include both broad and department-specific topics into regular safety meetings. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) offers a variety of topic suggestions, some of which include slideshow presentations and handouts. Focus on specific subjects by highlighting a new safety theme each month.
Coordinate safety themes with celebrations sponsored by national organizations, such as the National Safety Council’s National Safety Month or the National Fire Protection Association’s National Fire Prevention Week. Establish your own electrical, machine or production line safety awareness campaign as well.
Routine safety audits can help ensure employees are complying with anti-accident policies and procedures. Set an expectation that each shift must complete a safety walk-through before starting work. Authorize the shift manager or safety team to conduct weekly inspections. Look for hazards, poor housekeeping, missing machine guards or employees not wearing protective equipment. List any issues and require the department to remedy them as quickly as possible, preferably before the next inspection. It can also be helpful to conduct an unannounced inspection once or twice each year to keep everyone on their toes.
Preventive maintenance is important not only to comply with OSHA regulations, but also to keep equipment breakdowns and excessive noise from creating workplace hazards. Implement a clear lock out, tag out policy. It should include a checklist to follow when powering down and locking equipment before performing maintenance. It should also feature a process for returning a machine back to its working state once maintenance is complete. This creates a safer environment for both maintenance and production workers.