During 2020, the manufacturing industry had 373,000 nonfatal work injuries, the second-highest number behind the healthcare sector. How do you combat this statistic? With communication. And there are no shortages of manufacturing safety topics to cover.
You should hold regular safety meetings to educate workers and managers on injury and illness prevention. Use these manufacturing safety topics to keep your meetings engaging and the content fresh.
Manufacturing process safety topics
In manufacturing, processes are often optimized for efficiency. And without worker safety, there is no efficiency. Your process should never compromise safety for speed, but sometimes it happens despite the best intentions.
Here are some process-related topics that you should consider for your next walk-through, GEMBA, or safety committee meeting:
- Workstation configuration
- Task expectations (speed) and how they relate to safety guidelines
- Work area 5S
- Lockout tagout
- Workflow ergonomics
- Proper supply of necessary materials and tools
These are just a few examples of process safety topics to discuss. Process topics can include anything related to the tasks that workers must perform and the environment that they must complete them in.
Behavioral safety topics
When doing a safety walk, the easiest safety hazard to address on the spot is unsafe behaviors and habits. Behavior-based safety programs can have a major impact on site incident rates. If you’re noticing a lack of compliance with site safety rules, consider making this the topic of your next safety meeting.
- Individual grooming standards
- Dress code enforcement
- Explaining behavioral safety hazards to your workforce
- Safe PIT driving guidelines
- PPE use
- Expressing empathy when correcting unsafe behaviors
Discuss behavior-based safety topics with floor managers and supervisors. Ultimately, they will have the biggest influence over workers. And if leaders know how to empathetically correct behaviors, your workers will be more willing to adopt long-term changes.
Equipment safety topics
After you buy and implement new equipment, it’s easy to leave it to the maintenance team to oversee. But everyone in the operation should keep an eye out for equipment-based hazards. They may come from the condition of the equipment or the lack of proper tools. These are some areas to discuss and revisit often:
- Cable management
- Disposal of retired/irreparable equipment
- Tagout process for broken equipment
- Management of equipment repairs
- PIT maintenance and management
- PPE access throughout the facility
- Storage of seasonal equipment and tools
Involve interested parties when discussing these topics. For example, if you want to discuss cable management, let members of the IT department join. They can expand on your knowledge of cable management solutions and may be able to help you solve a problem more effectively.
Building safety topics
If you think of safety in terms of just your manufacturing processes, inputs, and workers, you’re missing a large piece of the puzzle. Overall site safety helps drive the organizational culture to notice, report, and address hazards. Here are some building-related safety topics that you should make time to review:
- Trash and recycling management for fire and trip hazard prevention
- Parking lot etiquette
- Parking lot configuration (crosswalks, stop signs, etc.)
- Storage of materials
- Improvement of building 5S
- Sitewide cleanliness
- Facility walkways, stairs, and elevators/ladders
Looking at safety from a comprehensive lens will reduce incident rates and have a long-term positive effect on your employees’ wellbeing. Process, behavior, equipment, and building categories cover most manufacturing safety topics. The next time that you’re struggling to pick a topic to focus on, refer to these four categories and see what else there is to explore.