Paramount to any operational environment is workplace safety. Comprehensive workplace safety is made possible only through documented procedural guidelines and implemented practices, which is effectively enabled by total staff involvement, irrespective of seniority, at all times.
The most obvious but also often the most overlooked or ignored workplace safety elements are:
- SAFETY CODES & GUIDELINES-Ensure that such safety practice codes and guidelines are adequately drafted, are on record, are publicly displayed on the shop floor and inclusive of rest areas, as a double precaution. Include evacuation and assembly procedures, and stating appointed safety representatives.
- SAFETY EQUIPMENT– Always wear task appropriate safety equipment such as hardhats, safety shoes, eye googles, earmuffs, masks etc. Always ensure that there is nothing on your person that can get caught in any moving equipment or parts thereof.
- SAFETY SIGNAGE AND MARKINGS– Ensure that all safety signage and floor markings are in place, clearly visible, not obscured in anyway and regularly maintained.
- FACILITY BASED SAFETY EQUIPMENT– Ensure that all safety equipment such as hydrants, extinguishers, overhead sprinklers etc are kept in serviceable condition and regularly checked. Same applies to all fire escapes. Common knowledge of location/storage of such is critical.
- FLOOR/OTHER HAZARDS– Ensure that floor and operating walkways are kept maintained, clean, dry and non-slippery, as well as obstacle free. Also ensure all goods/materials are stacked and racked with safety /damage considerations first. All dangerous/hazardous equipment and stock/stores should be stored separately, with clearly viable and comprehensive hazard related warning signage.
- VISITORS-Know at all times who is visiting the shop-floor, that they are suitably attired and accompanied if needs be. This is a very lax aspect of shop floor safety, and can literally be life or death related in the right set of circumstances.
- EQUIPMENT MAINTENANCE– Ensure maintenance of facility, all floor equipment (plant machinery, warehousing equipment etc) occurs regularly, with safety and operational effectiveness and uptime paramount.
- RESPONSIBLE EQUIPMENT AND PACKING PRACTICES– Ensure the right lifting equipment and method is used for the right task to avoid personal injury. Responsible management of correct packing/stacking procedures, methods and practices is required to prevent collapses and other related incidents resulting in injuries, stock damage and associated downtime issues.
- TRAINING AND UPDATES– Ensure all staff members are trained in specialised equipment handling (i.e. forklifts), current safety procedures and practices, and are given regular refresher courses. Also frequently review and update safety practices in accordance with current business operations. Too often this does not occur.
- SAFETY PRACTICE IMPLEMENTATION AUDITING– Shop floor operations should regularly be audited for safety compliance. Familiarity breeds contempt (classically with forklift and hand truck operators amongst others) which most often than not leads to incidents and accidents.
- SAFETY PROMOTION WORKSHOPS– Holding safety workshops where the staff and management can actively contribute to issue identification and resolution is important, as they are the most actively involved on any shop-floor, and therefore can make quality contributions and suggestions towards floor safety, and are made to feel a valued part of the safety process.
Executives understand that Safety is a priority at all times, and impacts directly upon sustainable or improved operational efficiency and profitability through a variety of ways. Should you have safety concerns within your organisation, we would like to hear from you. Karl is contactable at firstname.lastname@example.org or telephonically on 27 82 393-3685.