Increasing safety is always a priority in industrial facilities, and a continuous improvement method is an ideal solution for constantly growing while protecting employees and visitors. This ensures that updates to methods and procedures are tested for success and safety using an incremented approach. These safety improvement tips help keep staff out of harm’s way, every day.

Focus on Training

Safety gear, color-coded signage, floor marking tape, and other messaging only go so far without proper training. Beyond choosing colors, graphics, and messages that are clear and easy to understand, also ensure all orientations and facility training sessions are accurate, up-to-date, and comprehensive. Build manufacturing safety training programs to improve overall OSHA compliance, address location-specific concerns, and to answer matters brought up by staff members at all levels—from the production floor employees to the management team.

Reducing Injury Through Education

Manufacturing and other industrial facilities require constant attention to ensure ongoing safety. Just as you wouldn’t expect a person to know how to ride a horse without instruction, education is required for safe forklift operation, machine use, and related tools and equipment procedures.

Forklift training and certification are imperative: Forklifts are a common workplace hazard, and accidents can lead to serious injury or death. In fact, forklifts are a leading cause of incidents in industrial facilities. Mitigating risk requires properly trained employees, including drivers, warehouse staff, and employees who may be passing through.

Don’t Underestimate Clear Signage

Regular training highlighting processes and machine use can help prevent accidents and injury, keeping employees safer while on the job—but there’s more to safety than training alone. Pair safety instruction with bold, easy-to-spot facility safety notices that make hazards clear: Pinch point dangers, chemical hazards, PPE and safety clothing reminders, and location-specific safety labels provide clear instructions to reduce risk.

The floor markings in front of this door state “No Exit Ahead,” which is unclear because there is a door. Instead, clear messaging such as “Closet. Not an Emergency Exit.” would provide necessary information, without confusion.

Look to Improve, Not Just to Comply

While adhering to safety requirements may feel like the end goal, improving overall systems, efficiency, and function while complying with OSHA and other entitites’ requirements is even better. OSHA’s mandates are a goalpost for safety, but there are chances to meet the requirements while going beyond the bare minimum. This can significantly improve safety and processes, but can also work to save budget dollars, solve bottlenecks, or reduce wasted time or effort.

Replace Chipped Paint With Longer-Lasting Options

Painted lines, while in compliance with OSHA, often require reapplication due to fading, chipping, or scraping away. To reduce time spent repairing floor markings, your facility may move to a different method: adhesive-backed floor marking tape, virtual signs, or LED lines. Not only do you spend less time re-painting, but you’ll also save budget dollars: You’ll spend less time and fewer supplies when you choose an option designed to last longer. Floor marking tape and signs are designed for one-person installation. If you decide to update processes or paths of travel, the residue-free removal process means it’s faster and easier to swap out your floor markings, too. Use convenient floor marking equipment to apply durable lines and signs in a snap, and repair smaller sections as necessary without needing to scrape, sandblast, and re-paint the entire space.

Adjust Methods as Necessary

While specific safety processes are mandated, individual methods may be personalized to the facility. To ensure you’re building a safety program that works for your employees and location, you may need to adjust using the Continuous Improvement model, part of the Lean/5S methodology. Get feedback from staff and management, review audits and accident reports, reflect upon feedback from governing entities, and adjust your safety processes as necessary to ensure you’ve created the best possible safety program for your location.

Potential adjustments may include:

  • Updated signage for visibility, clarity, or to target problem areas
  • Traffic pattern changes to further separate pedestrian and vehicular traffic
  • New production processes to streamline steps, which can help prevent bottlenecks as well as improve safety
  • Updated storage solutions and signage to improve organization and reduce clutter
  • Evaluate safety gear and PPE needs—what works, what needs improvement, what’s damaged or otherwise not working—and update requirements accordingly
  • Corner markers applied in the warehouse help improve pallet organization, preventing accidents caused by forklift impact

Improving safety in industrial facilities depends on training, visual cues, and keeping a constant eye out for hazards. Evaluate your facility’s needs to determine which areas are working well—and which safety methods need improvement. For more information on improving safety in industrial locations, explore our Resource Center.