Manufacturing contributes over £6.7 trillion to the global economy and employs close to 2.6 million people in the UK alone – the industry is thriving, despite popular belief.
Yet whilst the industry is in a very strong economic position, it continues to be one of the most dangerous to work in. Given the heavy use of large machinery and vehicles, it is no wonder that it is the fourth deadliest industry in the UK.
With over 110 deaths occurring in the last 5 years in the UK alone, health and safety managers face a huge task of ensuring that hazards are dealt with and risks minimised. Failure to do so can result in nasty injuries, hefty fines, and demoralised employees.
What are the biggest hazards?
The Health and Safety Executive provide statistics on the most common fatal and non-fatal causes of injuries within manufacturing.
Most of the incidents relate to falls, contact with machinery or objects, and lifting and handling. These, alongside many other hazards, can have huge knock-on effects in the long term.
Given the high severity of these hazards, it is both the legally and morally right for manufacturers to take steps to prevent the risk of harm to their employees.
There are several ways that software can help organisations to do this.
Modern EHS software, like EcoOnline EHS is very good at collating and understanding data relationships. Technology, like graph databases, connects data much more intuitively than, say spreadsheets or paper-based systems can. This makes understanding and analysing data much easier. From here, EHS managers can make conclusions and take appropriate responses.
EHS software allows companies to register information on near misses into a system. Within a high-risk industry such as manufacturing, it is no longer acceptable to play by the ‘no harm, no foul’ rule. Reporting near misses can help benefit manufacturers in a number of ways including…
- taking pro-active steps to lower risk before serious incidents occur.
- helping to develop a positive safety culture for workers and improve employee engagement. By promoting a culture of ‘if you see something, say something’, a chain reaction is likely to follow of employees reporting dangerous situations.
The manufacturing processes are ongoing and various hazards can appear at different times. It is important for manufacturers to integrate and schedule audits into their regular tasks to keep risk minimised.
For example, with the use of large machinery and busy factories, a likely by-product is noise pollution. Studies found that 14% of workers exposed to noise in the manufacturing industries had some form of hearing deterioration as a result. This occurs over a long period, so it is important to regularly assess noise hazards and take actions to reduce harm in the long-run.
Keep Environmental Impact to a Minimum
EHS software can help manufacturers to stay informed with environmental performance, potentially making mass savings on waste and emissions.
An EHS system that offers an Environmental Performance Reporting application enables the manufacturer to record the likes of wastage and emissions so that conclusions can be drawn to minimise the environmental impact.
Make the change…
In recent years, changing laws and public views have put emphasis on the need for businesses to make an active improvement to their EHS practices.
Given that the manufacturing sector is one of those with the highest risk, they have a fundamental responsibility to take steps to limit the risk they pose to their workforce.
By investing in EHS software, manufacturers can deal with health and safety in a much more effective way, whilst promoting a safety culture within the business by acting both proactively and reactively to improve the safety of the workforce for the future.