A safe production plant is a more productive and profitable one. Industrial hazards can occur across various parts of your operation, putting your output, workers, and productivity at risk. 

Accidents can happen anywhere. But the most important thing is to minimize the impact of these by catching them before they happen. Preventable accidents or illnesses lead to employee absence and lower productivity levels, and could affect your company’s bottom line.

In the majority of workplaces, people will be aware of some of the hazards present, but often not the gravity or severity of these issues, until it’s too late.

Below, we examine a list of the most common industrial hazards in manufacturing and other sectors, and explore some of the best safety practices in manufacturing. Reduce the impact of any interruptions to your operations and avoid subsequent drops in productivity with the right industrial safety precautions, and maintenance and repair strategy. 

 

Stopping Slips, Trips, and Falls

Slippery floors are common industrial hazards. Whatever the cause, slips can cause severe issues and lead to numerous different types of injuries. 

OSHA cited more fall protection violations than any other category in 20191. Prime places for these accidents include:

  • Elevated surfaces
  • Overhead platforms
  • Worn flooring areas

The nature of manufacturing means that your floors can, on occasion, present industrial hazards to those working there. But some industrial safety solutions can minimize the risk and lower the chance of someone being injured.

Applying non-slip floor coatings across your plant can reduce the risk of slips and falls. This is especially important in problem areas that have high foot traffic, or are close to liquids, leaks, or common slip hazards. 

At Henkel, we offer a range of non-slip options designed to improve underfoot conditions and keep people as safe as possible at work. These include:

Identifying the source of a slippery surface, such as a leak or a spill, and making sure to eliminate this cause, is also vital to create a safer working environment.   

Falls are among the most common causes of accidents, so fall protection is among the most meticulous of standards to uphold. Consider installing guardrails, toe boards, and stair railings to provide protection when workers are moving around your plant.

Preventing Leaks

Leaks are also common hazards in the manufacturing industry. That’s why, in many plants, you’ll hear hissing noises as air escapes from places it shouldn’t. Many people simply accept leaks as part and parcel of working in a manufacturing plant. But this doesn’t have to be the case.

Leaks can be prevented with the right tools, maintenance, and products. Minimize the risk of slips, trips, and falls, as well as contamination, before they occur, or get worse.

For example, a steam leak will often start as a tiny pinhole-sized leak. If left untreated, this will quickly grow, cutting through metal and causing serious damage and risk to anyone working nearby. Treat the leak early on with the relevant sealant, however, and you can prevent it from expanding, avoiding any dangerous leaks and expensive downtime.  

  • Fluid leaks can lead to slippery surfaces and reduce performance efficiencies of parts, components, and complete machinery. 
  • Gas leaks can introduce an additional health hazard to workers if not detected quickly enough. 

Browse the range of various Henkel industrial sealants to find out how our solutions can help prevent leaks by keeping components of your machinery air and/or watertight where required.

Planning Maintenance

Emergencies are the enemy of industrial plant safety. If something breaks down unexpectedly in your manufacturing plant, the first concern is minimizing downtime. 

Reactive, emergency fixes come with greater risk, however. There’s a higher likelihood of cutting corners just to get your operations back up and running as quickly as possible. 

Preventative and predictive maintenance schedules help reduce this risk. Planned downtime presents a controlled environment, where skilled engineers can follow protocols better and more safely.

 

Reducing Maintenance Injuries

Whenever machinery needs to be repaired or maintained, there’s a potential risk of injury. Trying to work on a piece of machinery that hasn’t been properly shut down, or something powering up while it’s being worked on, can lead to catastrophic injuries.

Employ effective Lockout/Tagout (LOTO) procedures to ensure the safe shutdown of your heavy machinery. These vital safety tools protect your employees during the service or replacement of parts. 

LOTO isolates machinery from its energy source. By locking or tagging out a piece of equipment, it eliminates the chance of an accidental discharge of energy. LOTO prevents the machine from starting up while an employee works on repairs, which could result in serious or even fatal injuries. 

If your workers are trained on how to adhere to LOTO standards correctly, it should reduce the risk to anyone working in maintenance and repair on site.

 

Securing Parts

Nuts and bolts can, from time to time, loosen due to shock, vibration, thermal expansion, and improper torque. This can cause component and equipment failure that leads to downtime. But it can also present a significant safety risk in cases where these fasteners hold heavy machinery and parts in place. 

Should such fasteners fail, heavy objects could fall and cause serious damage to whatever is below, whether that’s workers or machinery.  

Even small nuts and bolts falling from a height can be a safety concern. Safety is especially important in food manufacturing, where fasteners and parts could fall into the final product. It’s why many manufacturers install metal detectors to identify such issues and prevent it reaching the customer and why securing parts effectively is massively important. 

Securing parts as effectively as possible is essential to reduce and even eliminate the impact of vibration, heat, and torque on such large machinery. 

Products like LOCTITE® threadlockers help to eliminate the risk of fasteners loosening and causing safety issues, locking assemblies tightly in place.

Creating a Safety Culture

Many tools and solutions can be employed to improve plant safety. But at the heart of it all is a safety-conscious mindset. Promote this in your operations by outlining the benefits to ensure people are bought in. 

Running regular safety training sessions and encouraging workers to share their concerns can create a culture of safety first across the plant. Such sessions and open forums can even highlight risky areas you may miss, allowing you to address problems before they escalate. 

For more help choosing the right safety equipment for your operation, get in touch with a Henkel expert below, or book an on-site consultation today.

 

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