Manufacturing Floor Safety:
Risk Management for Visible & Invisible Threats

Over the years, safety has improved dramatically in the manufacturing industry. However, manufacturing requires workers to engage in high-risk activities, such as heavy lifting, welding, metal cutting, and material assembling and rely on computer systems to keep equipment running correctly and safely. Additionally, employees in this field are often left to handle hazardous materials, which can pose a threat to their health.

In 2018, the manufacturing industry saw 5,250 total deaths in 2018 and 421,400 nonfatal injuries in 2019. Besides a reduction in productivity and the potential for lawsuits, failure to maintain a safe working environment for those in manufacturing can cause irreparable damage to workers, cause small manufacturers to never recover, and have a significant impact on the bottom line.

In Cyber Space

It’s easy to post a “wet floor” sign or see cables that need to be moved out of the way. But what about the invisible threats to your employees’ wellbeing? Protecting your employees from cyberattacks is just as critical to maintaining a safe workplace as removing obstacles on the manufacturing floor. It only takes one breach in your network to cause a catastrophic, even fatal, event for your employees and your business. You routinely perform maintenance checks on your equipment – but your cybersecurity maintenance is just as important.

Some risk mitigation practices include:

  • Ensure you have the proper cyber insurance coverage to fit your needs. Carrier requirements are rapidly changing as cyberattacks continue to escalate in frequency and severity.
  • Keep all software up to date.
  • Use multi-factor authentication to provide an extra layer of protection.
  • Regularly educate your employees about cyber best practices to help them avoid falling victim to phishing scams and clicking without thinking.
  • Back up your data regularly.
  • Know and communicate your plan among leadership if a cyber incident does occur.
  • Stop thinking “It won’t happen to me” because nobody is untouchable.

On The Floor

Maintaining a clean manufacturing floor is essential to providing a productive and safe job site. The most common injuries are caused by slips, trips, and falls. Here’s what you can do to help provide a safer working environment, from managing hazardous materials to keeping a clean workspace.

Potential hazardous items include:

  • Extension cords
  • Hand tools
  • Hoses
  • Cables
  • Debris
  • Food
  • Water or spills
  • Sawdust
  • Combustible materials
 
 
Good risk mitigation practices:
 
  • Establish a culture of safety by regularly implementing training programs.
  • Have employees use personal protection equipment and provide it in an easily accessible manner.
  • Be proactive in identifying safety issues by conducting safety audits.
  • Limit the amount of materials and chemicals onsite to the quantities that you will need.
  • Store tools and materials out of the way in storage bins or lockers.
  • Keep flammable or hazardous wastes in covered, separate waste containers.
  • Place warning signs in wet or muddy areas that could pose a slipping hazard.
  • Place protective guards across areas where workers could fall or face an impalement hazard.
  • Control muddy areas using gravel, boards, or plywood.

Practices to avoid:

  • Do not leave clean-up responsibilities for the last few minutes of the day.
  • Do not clean equipment without first locking out.
  • Never pile material around fire extinguishers, sprinklers, or emergency exits.
  • Never blow off dust with compressed air; use a vacuum or brush.
  • Do not collect broken glass or metal scraps in plastic bags.
  • Never use bare hands when collecting waste; gloves prevent cuts and splinters.

Maintaining a clean manufacturing floor and a secure cyber posture are some of the best ways to mitigate hazardous risks that could cause irreparable accidents or fatalities. Each manufacturer is unique in its operations and the machinery that they use, so there’s not a one-size-fits all workplace safety and cybersecurity approach that works. Partnering with an experienced team can help you stay on top of your risk mitigation strategy and avoid potentially devastating events.

Contact us to review your risk mitigation strategies to help protect your employees and your business.

DISCLAIMER

 

This material has been prepared for informational purposes only and was generated from information provided to BKS from the client and/or third-party sources. Therefore, BKS makes no warranty or representation(s) as to the accuracy or appropriateness of the data and/or the analysis herein. This information is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for, tax, legal or accounting advice. You should consult your tax, legal and accounting advisors for those services.

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