Employees’ physical safety at work is of utmost importance to every employer. Companies have workplace safety rules and regulations in place to guarantee employee safety and well-being, as well as to help prevent accidents from occurring. Employees have the responsibility to comply with a company’s rules and regulations to solidify the safety partnership.
When it comes to working in a light industrial, manufacturing, or production-related environment especially, more hazards may be present than at a desk job, and accidents can be harmful or even deadly. This is why ensuring you are familiar with and adhere to all company safety policies and procedures is important.
Doherty Staffing Solutions has established its own workplace safety rules, but there may be additional rules depending on the company’s manufacturing environment, the products or goods it creates, and/or the physical aspects of the light industrial tasks being completed. In this article, we will cover general workplace safety rules, common workplace hazards, and avoiding workplace accidents, as well as your rights as a worker.
General Safety Rules for Manufacturing Environments
As previously stated, workplace safety rules and regulations can vary depending on the manufacturing company. However, some general safety rules are fairly consistent, regardless of the light industrial work environment. It is essential for employees to familiarize themselves with these rules and educate themselves on regulations specific to job tasks to help ensure safety for all. Employees are expected to follow all of a company’s verbal, written, and posted safety rules, always utilizing safe work practices. If any employee is unclear about these rules or has questions about safety, they should ask a supervisor at the worksite. The following are a few general safety rules summarized from AMAXX:
- Wear all the required safety gear while at your workstation. This could include safety glasses, hearing protection, hard hats, gloves, proper clothing, and/or other protective clothing.
- Don’t wear loose clothing or jewelry that could get caught in machinery. Similarly, long hair should be tied back, and nails should be kept short to prevent catching on moving parts.
- Use proper lifting techniques as outlined in this guide by the US Army Center for Health Promotion and Prevention.
- Tools, machinery, and other equipment that is defective in any way should not be utilized. Any equipment missing safety guards should not be used. Any defects should be reported to maintenance and repaired as swiftly as possible.
- Only operate equipment for which you have received proper training.
- If you are not trained in repairing or modifying equipment, do not attempt to fix it.
- Instruction manuals for all equipment and machinery should be readily available for use and reference.
- Tools, machinery, and other equipment should be cleaned and put back in their proper places when not in use.
- All machinery requires a two-hand operation to keep fingers and hands away from moving parts.
- Work areas must be appropriately maintained. Spaces should be clean, well-lit, adequately ventilated, and organized. Remove or dispose of any potential trip or slip hazards.
- Do not allow emergency exits, fire protection items, or safety equipment to be blocked or hidden.
- Stay out of the way of forklifts, powered pallet jacks, or any other powered industrial trucks and their loads. Do not approach a load being deposited by a forklift until the truck has backed away from the load.
- Working under the influence of drugs or alcohol is highly unsafe and strictly prohibited. Working while under the influence of substances can result in extreme disciplinary action and potential termination.
Employees’ knowledge of these rules is a critical first step in promoting and maintaining workplace safety. Additionally, addressing hazards to prevent accidents is vital to making the work environment a safer place for everyone involved.
Workplace Hazards and Accident Prevention for Light Industrial Operations
Encouraging a workplace safety culture is every worker’s responsibility, but leadership and safety officers play a significant role. A good safety program and top-notch communication from the top down are both key elements to preventing accidents at work. Frequent monitoring of workplace environments and potential hazards is critical to employee safety. Additionally, employees should be trained in what to do in emergency situations, including fires, exposure to hazardous materials, emergency machinery shutdowns, and more.
Employees must be trained in all safety procedures and know how to avoid workplace hazards. OSHA requires safety training for all production or manufacturing facility employees. In addition, employees must pass a workplace safety exam to be eligible for work. If employees discover a hazard while working, it should immediately be reported to the supervisor and maintenance, if applicable, to remedy the situation as soon as possible.
Ultimately, being aware of your surroundings at work is extremely important. Common workplace hazards may stem from a lack of education or from things such as faulty or malfunctioning equipment, misuse of equipment, trip or slip hazards, not adhering to procedures, or any other environmental problems that could impact workers’ safety. Once you are trained and familiar with workplace safety and hazards, it is also important to know your rights as a worker under OSHA.
Your Rights as a Light Industrial Worker at Your Manufacturing Facility
It is your legal right to work in a safe and clean environment free of hazards. According to OSHA (the United States Occupational Safety and Health Administration), employees have the right to speak up about any hazards they notice in their environment without fear of retaliation. In addition to this, under OSHA, employees have the right to the following:
- Receive workplace safety and health training in a language they understand.
- Work with machines that are safe.
- Receive any required safety equipment, such as gloves or a harness and lifeline for falls.
- Be protected from toxic chemicals.
- Request an OSHA inspection and speak to the inspector if requested.
- Report an injury or illness and receive copies of their medical records.
- Review the records of any work-related injuries and illnesses.
- See the results of tests taken to proactively locate potential workplace hazards.
If an employee has spoken with a supervisor or management about an issue that is not addressed or resolved properly, they can file a complaint and request an inspection from an OSHA representative. Additionally, there are legal resources available for whistleblowers in the case that an employer retaliates against an employee for filing a complaint. To learn more or get in touch with a representative, OSHA can be contacted at 1-800-321-6742 or by email. All information provided is guaranteed to be kept confidential.
Doherty Staffing Solutions knows that employees’ safety is the most important aspect of any workplace, and working in an environment that does not cause any harm to health and well-being is every employee’s legal right. Being informed, aware of surroundings, and actively promoting workplace safety is the best way to prevent accidents from occurring.