People often refer to manufacturing as the backbone of the American economy. However, safety hazards can compromise the stability of the industry, the company and the livelihood of workers.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration developed various guidelines to help companies operate safely. While specific regulations vary by the particular manufacturing sector, certain expectations exist in nearly all facilities.
Employers must share accurate details about the harmful chemicals employees may use or come into contact with. Company oversight must devise a hazard communication plan for:
- Labeling hazardous chemicals properly
- Training employees
- Creating and posting a Safety Data Sheet
- Updating employees on changes
Employers must review the plan and adjust it when necessary.
Personal protective equipment
Employers must conduct annual training on using PPE. Such instructions must discuss the correct way to use the equipment, the dangers of not using it correctly and how to care for PPE. Employees should also learn the limitations of PPE and signs that a piece of equipment is not functioning correctly.
Manufacturing involves working with dangerous machinery. Lockout/tagout prevents machines from operating at the wrong time and causing injury or death. Companies must authorize specific individuals to perform repairs. This personnel controls the locks and assigns the placement or removal of locks and tags.
Authorized lockout/tagout personnel must also alert other employees about locked machines. The team should follow procedures to ensure no more power is running to the unit. The authorized person is also responsible for ensuring the safety of an area before allowing affected employees near the location again.
Other concerns may arise, including details about respiratory equipment, machine guarding, electrical considerations and powered industrial trucks. Employees can review OSHA guidelines, industry publications and company manuals to verify compliance with current rules.