Protecting Workers in the Manufacturing Industry
We outline the dangers associated with roles in the manufacturing industry and provide tips on how to keep high-risk workers safe.
The manufacturing sector is a crucial part of our economy. It employs millions of workers and generates billions of dollars in revenue each year.
However, statistics about the number of people in the US manufacturing sector who are injured or killed each year while at work are alarming. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 384 fatal occupational injuries in the manufacturing sector in 2021, with 385,100 non-fatal, work-related injuries and illnesses reported. These numbers highlight the importance of improving safety measures to reduce the risk of accidents and injuries in the industry.
In this article, we will explore the dangers associated with roles in factories and the wider manufacturing industry and provide some tips on how to better protect high-risk workers. After all, OSHA state that companies which have a core focus on worker safety lose nearly 50% fewer workdays. Consider the financial and operational impact this would have on your business.
What are the top 10 key safety topics in the manufacturing sector?
There are many risks associated with working in the manufacturing sector which can vary significantly between roles. Therefore, it’s important to do a thorough risk assessment for each role type to ensure all of the risks have been identified. You can then develop a plan to ensure these risks are appropriately managed or mitigated. Take a look at our lone worker risk assessment template to give you a head start.
However, here are the 10 most common safety topics discussed in the manufacturing industry:
- High level of slips, trips and falls
- Equipment, electrical and guarding issues (e.g. poor maintenance)
- Hazardous materials and waste management
- Lack of appropriate training for high-risk tasks
- Operating large, heavy machinery
- Fire safety
- Heavy lifting leading to sudden injury or longer-term occupational health issues
- Falling objects
- Spills and leaks
- Lone or remote working
Lone working hazards in the manufacturing industry
Lone and remote working can be particularly dangerous in the manufacturing sector and is an issue which is sometimes overlooked.
Lone workers are those who work by themselves or in isolated locations without close supervision or regular contact with other workers. Remote workers, on the other hand, work at locations far away from their colleagues or the main manufacturing facility.
Workers in these arrangements may be at greater risk of falling, getting caught in machinery, or suffering from toxic exposure, and the impact can be much greater because there’s no one around to see or hear the incident and provide support. Lone and remote workers are also more vulnerable to assault, robbery, or other criminal activity.
How can manufacturing companies keep lone workers safe?
To reduce risk in the manufacturing industry, many companies equip their lone and remote workers with a lone worker safety device. These workers could be factory workers, warehouse staff, plant engineers, delivery drivers, and more.
A lone worker device is a personal safety alarm which allows the worker to raise an alert at the push of a button in an emergency. This connects the device to the Emergency Dispatch Center where operators will establish the severity of the incident and send an appropriate response e.g. calling the police or an ambulance or notifying a manager, colleague or security team. The device can also provide GPS tracking so that workers can be located quickly in the event of an incident.
SoloProtect’s lone worker safety devices will also automatically raise an alert when it detects a slip, trip or fall, ensuring help is sent to the right place as quickly as possible.
Take a look at our full range of safety features.
You can also read our blog: 10 Lone Worker Safety Tips for the Manufacturing Industry
Put lone and remote working on your health and safety agenda
If lone work or remote working hazards aren’t a priority topic at your workplace health and safety meetings, add it to the agenda to ensure you’re looking after the safety and wellbeing of your employees and complying with regulations.
To find out more about how SoloProtect’s lone worker safety devices and apps can help protect your lone and remote workers from risk, please contact us.