Common Safety Hazards to Be Aware of in the Manufacturing Environment

16 May, 2019
Common Safety Hazards to Be Aware of in the Manufacturing Environment

Manufacturing companies have distinct working conditions, employee responsibilities, processes and safety hazards, and some manufacturing companies are so unique, they have their own particular compliance guidelines under the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

Regardless of these differences, most manufacturing operations are affected by many of the same risks. Below are a few some typical safety hazards found in nearly every manufacturing sector.

Safety Hazards to Watch Out For…


1. Slips, trips, and falls

Slips, trips and falls are the top reason for injury and death for those working in manufacturing, and federal agencies often collectively cite slips, trips and falls as one of the top causes of death, injury and missed time.

Therefore, employers need to take many steps to prevent these kinds of accidents. Guardrails on elevated platforms, non-slip surfaces, non-slip footwear, good housekeeping practices and other measure can all prevent dangerous falls.

2. Moving vehicles

Moving industrial vehicles is another major cause of injuries, deaths and missed time in the manufacturing industry. OSHA has detailed appropriate operational and training procedures for manufacturing and industrial businesses with employees who operate fork lifts, lift trucks and other vehicles common to these industries.

3. Electrical hazards

While electrical threats are a severe matter for those directly dealing with electricity, like electricians and engineers, the manufacturing industry also has many common electrical risks for its employees. A few of these electrical hazards may include badly-installed equipment and exposed wires. Electrical hazards often appear as working conditions change. For instance, melting snow from employees boots during winter can form small puddles that can conduct electrical and cause a dangerous shock.

OSHA provides training standards, suggestions and guidelines to help manufacturing employers reduce electrical risks employees are likely to face.

4. Mechanical hazards

While employees are operating or maintaining heavy machinery, a sudden, unanticipated startup or release of energy could cause a severe injury or death. Because of this, employers should adhere to the correct lockout-tagout (LOTO) procedures.

LOTO involves locking down a machine so that stored electrical, mechanical or other energy within the machine cannot cause injury. After it has been established that a machine or system has been properly locked down, a tag is placed on the machine that lists essential information about the lockdown, including who hold the key to the lock. Once the machine has been locked and tagged, those performing the LOTO operation test the locking mechanism to ensure it is doing its job.

Moreover, proper machine guarding is crucial to keep employees safe. Far too frequently, OSHA cites manufacturing employers for exposing workers to poorly-installed machine guards. Recently, a Chicago manufacturer was given more than $80,000 in OSHA citations following a third employee amputation as a result of improperly-installed safety guards.

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