In a manufacturing enterprise, the safety of workers has to be an omnipresent concern, from line workers to plant managers to administration. A company which is unable to guarantee the safety of its workers (within reason) is in no position to be providing its customers with quality products, and chances are if you’re careful with safety you’re also careful enough to make the best product possible. However, one of the biggest impediments to keeping the entire plant safe is simply that not everyone has the information that they need to make decisions correctly. In the wrong circumstances, it can be intimidating for workers to bring up important safety concerns to their superiors. While it is important to maintain authority and responsibility in a company, it’s critical that workers feel comfortable discussing safety concerns with their colleagues and superiors. Here are a few ideas for making sure that information about safety (and efficiency) flows freely though your entire enterprise.
1. Ask and you shall receive (use specifics).
Rather than singling out a single employee or group of employees to ask about their concerns, draft a company-wide survey asking employees to each be specific about individual concerns. Unfortunately, these surveys cannot be anonymous, because it’s important to know in which areas workers are concerned about their own safety. Take the opportunity to ask about general satisfaction with other aspects of the workplace, as well. It can be as simple as asking their opinion of the coffee in the break room, or the selection in the vending machine; let your employees know know that their opinions are important to the company, and they’re more likely to be forthright with their concerns. You just might be surprised to learn of a concern that someone has about areas that you had assumed were safer than they are.
2. Have a plan.
Make sure that everyone is properly trained for the equipment that they’re using, and that they know what to do in case of an emergency. It can happen that only one person in a crew is truly an expert on the machinery they operate, and they haven’t completely trained the rest of the crew. They may wish to hold onto this specialized knowledge as much as possible, in order to continue to be indispensable to the company. Throw these employees an olive branch. Offer a bonus, promotion or other on-the-job perk, while at the same time mandating that they make sure that their colleagues are well-trained and safe on the job.
3. Have channels of in place.
Making sure that information can flow freely from the top to the bottom of an organization and back again isn’t just crucially important for safety – it can also do wonders for the bottom line. Safety and communication go hand in hand with higher productivity and better job satisfaction for everyone involved. You owe it
to your employees to make sure they’re safe. You owe it to yourself to make your company as good as it can be.
Eagle Technologies Group is an industry leader in the design and implementation of factory automation systems worldwide.