How do Factories Keep their Staff Safe?

Factories are a common and vital feature of manufacturing organizations, and many industrial towns and cities will have specific zones where factories can be located. It is estimated that there are over 300,000 factory workers in America of which almost 57% of staff are male. There are a wide range of occupations for factory staff. There are a wide range of occupations in a typical factory, often with a mix of skilled and unskilled positions. In any factory environment there are likely to be inherent risks posed to the health and safety of staff due to the working environment. These risks will be minimized by using specialist equipment and providing training for staff. This article explains two key types of activity that take place in a factory and how action is taken by management to keep factory staff safe.

Moving and handling

In a factory environment, moving and handling tasks will be commonplace. Staff will need to unload raw materials from delivery trucks, as well as move equipment and finished goods. The employer should provide specialist equipment to undertake these tasks safely and effectively. When the items that need to be moved or lifted are exceptionally heavy, forklift trucks are often used. These vehicles can lift loads that human workers simply could not without the risk of serious injury. However, the use of forklift trucks can also create a hazard as there is a risk of collision with other workers, especially if the vehicles are electric powered and difficult to hear when they approach. Many factories will use dedicated “fork lift zones” which are away from the general workers as a way to minimize the risks of collisions. For smaller loads, specialist trolleys may be used to help staff transport them safely without risk of injury.

Hazardous chemicals

Some factories will be directly involved in the production of chemicals or will use these substances as part of their manufacturing processes. These chemicals can often pose a direct hazard to human health and may cause severe injury or illness if they are ingested or come into contact with skin. If a factory does not put suitable safety measures into place for the handling of these chemicals, they may be found to be negligent if an employee suffers serious injury. The employee is then entitled to seek the representation of a legal firm that includes chemical exposure attorneys and may receive significant financial compensation as a result of employer negligence. Factory owners must ensure that staff who are required to deal with hazardous chemicals can do so safety. Typical safety measures include the use of personal protective equipment (PPE) when handling chemicals which may include the use of specialist breathing apparatus. Some modern factories are incorporating the latest technology to remove humans from the risk of chemical exposure, especially when leaks or spills occur. The latest drone technology can be remotely operated to locate and determine the nature and severity of chemical spills and leaks. By working this way, the safety of staff can be guaranteed as they do not need to be at the site of the incident.

To sum up

Moving and handling tasks and the use of hazardous chemicals are common activities in many factories around the world. Factory owners and management must ensure that there is suitable equipment on site to allow heavy loads to be moved safely without putting workers health at risk.

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