Health and safety on the factory floor

Posted on 14th Dec, 2015 | By Lorretta Tatham

Factory settings are full of health and safety hazards, but with good knowledge and sensible working practices all these potential hazards can be avoided. From slips, trips and falls, to accidents involving factory transport, there’s a huge range of risks employees need to look out for.

Between 2014/15 there were 80,000 cases of self-reported work-related illnesses in the manufacturing industry and 70,000 self-reported non-fatal workplace injuries. 25% of these injuries were a result of manual handling issues, 21% a result of slips, trips and falls, 12% a result of being struck by an object, and 12% resulting from contact with machinery. What’s more, 16 workers were fatally injured in the manufacturing sector during this period.

Top six risks in the factory

Some of the most common risk factors on the factory floor include:

1.    Working on gangways and elevated platforms


Working on elevated platforms and gangways can be hazardous, particularly if not using harnesses or lanyards. Slips, trips and falls can happen easily. Likewise, caution needs to be taken when working from any platform or height.

Suggested training courses: Harnesses & Lanyards Training Course ; Work at Height Training Course

2.    Working around moving machinery


Moving machinery such as conveyer belts, cutters and shredders present an extreme hazard to workers and operatives. Clothing can get caught in these mechanisms, which can cause injury or in the worst case, fatalities.

3.    Vehicles


Vehicles such as forklifts and trollies are in operation at all times on factory floors and store houses. The presence of vehicles needs to be made clear to all workers to avoid any major accidents from occurring.

4.    Working with hazardous materials


Depending on the product that the factory manufactures, workers can be exposed to hazardous fumes, chemicals and materials. This can cause health problems in later life if the appropriate PPE isn’t worn and the appropriate health and safety measures aren’t taken.

5.    Climbing fixed ladders and steps


To access higher up areas on large containers, workers may need to climb up using fixed ladders and steps. These can be hazardous when slippery – and also carry risks if not used correctly.

Suggested training course: Ladders & Steps Training

6.    Lifting and carrying heavy objects


Many factory operatives will have an element of manual handling in the their job. When items are carried incorrectly, strains and long-term injuries can occur. Employees also need to speak out if an object’s weight is beyond their capacity when it comes to lifting and handling.

Suggested training course: Manual Handling Training

To find out more about any of our training courses visit our training pages. You’ll be able to browse the course content and make an online enquiry about the course and course dates. You can also call our training team on 01282 615517 for further information.

Do you have any other tips for maintaining health and safety on the factory floor? If so, share them in the comments below, or tweet your tips to us @BrownsLadders


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