Now more than ever, Americans in particular are paying attention to how employers treat their workers. While worker pay has certainly been in the forefront, concern over one’s employees should go beyond compensation. Businesses need to be asking themselves if employees feel valued, respected, and safe. In fact, how an organization like Marlin Steel views and values safety sends an important message about safety culture to its employees and, in turn, employees are happier, more productive, and more engaged.
- Why Workplace Safety in the Manufacturing Industry is Essential
- OSHA Manufacturing Safety Regulations You Need to be Aware of
- 7 Ways Marlin Steel Leads the Industry in Workplace Safety Procedures
Why Workplace Safety in the Manufacturing Industry is Essential
First and foremost, safety should be a core value of any manufacturing facility and not just because OSHA has requirements. Not only can safety issues impact your bottom line, with costs for workers’ compensation, fines, potential lawsuits, and time lost to accident remediation, but the costs can last well into the future.
Ideally, the primary motivator behind maintaining a safe workspace in the manufacturing industry is to keep your employees safe. As noted above, businesses with prioritized safety plans and procedures project those values onto their employees and send a very clear message about the employees’ value to the company as well. As a result, productivity and morale are boosted and the impact of this on a business is invaluable.
In contrast, when safety standards are not a core value, the resulting accidents have an impact on a businesses bottom line, with very real financial implications. In fact, in 2019, work injuries cost businesses $171 billion, averaging about $1,100 per worker. Similarly, organizations lose a considerable amount of time and productivity post-accident. Not only is the business short a worker, but there may be damaged equipment, time for cleanup, and lowered productivity as workers react and respond to the accident itself.
Further, worker mental health is impacted as well (productivity and morale decrease) and, in turn, the brand may see a reputational repercussions. Consumers of your product, or the companies you supply, may begin to believe that the well-being of your workers isn’t something you value and find a new supplier or business to work with.
Important OSHA Manufacturing Safety Regulations
Because workplace and worker safety are so important, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration was formed in 1971 following Nixon’s signing of the Occupational Safety and Health Act in 1970. Since that time, occupational accidents have dropped from 11% to 3.6% which suggests there’s still more work to be done. While the onus for valuing workplace safety, particularly safety in the manufacturing space, falls largely upon an employer, OSHA does regulate standards and it’s important to know what those regulations decree.
OSHA lays out fairly clear guidelines regarding the importance of equipment safety including:
Workers or anyone on a manufacturing floor should be protected from both being caught in machinery as well as reaching into dangerous moving parts. Further, guards should protect workers from debris, sparks, or other materials that might be kicked up by a machine/moving part. These guards must not be moved or compromised while the machine is in operation.
While machines are being repaired or preventative maintenance is being performed, all precautions must be taken to ensure that the machine cannot be operated. This may include a lockout device on the power supply with strict guidelines about the placement and removal of that device.
Depending on the type of work being done in a manufacturing facility, workers may be required to wear hard hats if there is a risk of falling materials or items, safety glasses if machines kick off debris or sparks, and/or ear plugs if noise levels reach 85 decibels. If noise levels exceed 90 decibels, the employer is expected to either dampen the noise or limit employee exposure.
Employees may also be required to wear gloves if a worker’s hands are exposed to risks including cuts, punctures, extreme temperatures or dangerous chemicals. If heavy materials are being moved or transported, by hand or vehicle, employees on the floor must wear steel-toe boots. Finally, workers who may be exposed to high voltage machinery may be required to wear flash suits or protective clothing.
OSHA similarly requires any area which may pose a significant danger (electricity, chemicals, fumes, falling items, etc.) must be marked, clearly, by signs that include verbiage as well as pictures making the danger clear.
Perhaps one of the most important fundamental regulations that OSHA requires is comprehensive reporting of all accidents from a business. This allows them to track ongoing concerns and prevent or mitigate future accidents. Additionally, they can also facilitate reporting by workers or other witnesses so that they may redress concerns with an organization.
7 Ways Marlin Steel Leads the Industry in Workplace Safety Procedures
Marlin Steel prides itself on a number of things among them that safety is a core value of our business. Not only does it strictly adhere to OSHA regulations and standards, but it also ensures that all employees are educated and aware of safety procedures and precautions. Through this focus, it has been 1,100 days since the last accident and, prior to that, 2,800 days.
In addition, Marlin Steel also takes the following actions to ensure the safety of its team:
- Maintains a safety committee made up of manufacturing floor employees. The safety committee meets monthly to review issues, address concerns, and create proactive safety plans.
- Focuses on near misses. Near misses help us identify potential risks and put preventative measures in place.
- Machine Review and Training. Prior to deploying any new equipment, the safety committee reviews the new machinery, identifies risks, and establishes safety precautions and controls around its use. Any employees using or working with machinery, including forklift operators, are given comprehensive safety training.
- Establishes a safe environment. Not only are LED lights installed across the floor, but our facility design includes wide aisles to help control clutter. Similarly, workspaces are maintained to ensure these areas are clear of tripping and falling hazards.
- Works in conjunction with OSHA. OSHA is invited in regularly to review and examine our facilities and provide guidance and recommendations on ways we can improve our safety.
- Aggressive drug testing. Employees under the influence of drugs or alcohol are 3x as likely to be injured or cause an injury in a workplace accident. For that reason, Marlin Steel ensures that employees working on the floor are regularly tested for controlled substances.
- Creates a culture of safety. Among the most important steps it takes is to create a working environment that places safety at the forefront. To ensure this, every team meeting starts with a discussion of safety issues that need attention or are of concern to employees working on the manufacturing floor. Marlin’s employees are, in some ways, its eyes and ears on the floor, so empowering them to be a part of this safety culture is vital to its success.
Manufacturing is hard work, but taking pride in that work shouldn’t be. One of the best ways Marlin Steel has to ensure its employees take pride in the work they do is to make sure they are safe and valued. That shows in their work and it shows in the product. That matters to Marlin and we know that matters to you.
If you’re ready to talk about how our products can work for you, get in touch with our team today.