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Safety hazards in a manufacturing workplace

Safety hazards in a manufacturing workplace Midlands Health and Safety Consultancy

In autumn 2022, the manufacturing sector accounted for 8.1% of jobs across the whole economy. Its estimated output totals over £180 billion, with the UK being the ninth-largest manufacturing nation worldwide, according to MAKE UK.

There are countless situations that can be hazardous for manufacturing companies and over the past 5 years, each year an average of 22 workers died in workplace accidents. There was also an average of more than 3,100 reports of major injuries and about 4,100 reports of injuries that kept workers away from work for seven days or more.

Our latest article looks at the most common safety hazards in a manufacturing workplace and what can be done to reduce risk.

Vehicle hazards

While seemingly essential for running businesses, transport can be extremely hazardous. As well as causing death and injury, collisions involving vehicles can cause substantial damage to other vehicles, buildings or racking, and plant or equipment.

The Health and Safety Executive has produced extensive statistics that have identified four main areas where workplace transport accidents occur:-

  • Moving vehicles that come into direct contact with people in the workplace.
  • Persons falling from vehicles during the loading and unloading operations.
  • Vehicles (including fork-lift trucks) that have overturned due to exceeding site speed limits, uneven surfaces in the yard, or unsafe loads that have moved, causing instability.
  • Goods that have fallen from a vehicle, striking individuals in the area.

 

These types of vehicles should only be operated by those with valid certifications and training, such as a forklift licence training course. Typically speaking, workers will only be able to operate certain machinery once an official qualification can be obtained.

Machine guarding

Heavy machinery being used every day without issue can lead to complacency or cut corners when it comes to safety. But an improperly installed safeguard can be just as dangerous to employees, if not more, because an incident can happen at any time during normal operation. Training and equipment inspections are imperative.

Electrical hazards

Besides the common vocational hazards faced by engineers and electricians, a manufacturing setting can contain electrical hazards that put employees at risk. The risks increase the larger and more powerful the equipment, making electrical safety measures even more important in factories. The most effective way to protect people and property is to have the electrical installation inspected on a regular basis. Testing consists of multiple visual inspections and electrical tests, covering all hardwiring such as sockets, lighting, switches, main panels, distribution boards, air conditioning and other fixed electrical components.

It’s also vital to ensure that all employees, whether full-time or contract, are properly trained in electrical safety and risk management.

Chemical hazards

Many industries require that workers manage and handle hazardous chemicals daily. These are often crucial elements in the manufacturing process, but workers must be trained to use them correctly and safely. Examples of dangerous chemicals include caustic cleaning solutions, battery acid, and flammable substances such as ethanol. First and foremost, the workers using these chemicals must know how to move, load, and operate processes using these chemicals safely. This will ensure safety in normal, predictable use cases.

Training in treating exposure to dangerous chemicals is also vital in case of accidents, alongside First Aid Training of course.

For further information on safety hazards in a manufacturing workplace, please contact us here.

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