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Marketing to Safety Leaders in Manufacturing

Understanding Their Role

Working in manufacturing facilities is dangerous. In the US, around 500,000 workers a year are injured manufacturing products, and several hundred die because of their injuries. Due to an intense focus on safety in the industry, these totals are down substantially from the 2,200,000 manufacturing workers injured on the job 20 years ago. Actively managing the health and safety of employees has been integrated into the culture of most manufacturing organizations.1 Workplace safety in the US is regulated by the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA). Manufactures use health & safety professionals to assess facility risks, ensure compliance with all regulations and recommend safety improvements. Hazards differ by industry, but common problem areas include:

 

  • Dangerous chemicals
  • Heavy machinery with moving parts
  • Confined spaces
  • Noise
  • Slips and falls
  • Hazardous levels of energy and heat2

 

Production facilities identify hazards and develop protocols and solutions, which vary by situation but commonly include:

 

  • Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
  • Machine Guards3
  • Lockout / Tagout (LOTO) procedures to shut down equipment and remove from power sources in the case of an emergency4
  • Process Safety Management procedures in the event dangerous chemicals are released5
  • First Aid protocols based on the specific materials and hazards in the facility

 

Despite these efforts injuries still occur, often due to:

 

  • Poor maintenance leading to machine breakdowns
  • Undertrained employees
  • Carelessness and complacency
  • Untrained access by non-manufacturing employees, family members, consultants or workers from outside the facility performing maintenance job, technology upgrade, etc.6

 

Safety improvements are a constant effort at all manufacturing facilities, and involve specialist, managers and all production workers.

 

“GE’s commitment begins with its Board of Directors, which regularly reviews the Company’s environmental and safety performance. GE’s vice president for EHS, in turn, sets global EHS policy and implements EHS strategy.” – GE’s EHS Program Website.7

1 Minter, Steve. “Workplace Safety: Small Failures and the Occasional Catastrophe.” Industry Week/IW 263, no. 4 (2014): 38. EBSCOhost(95680138).

2 See, as examples: www.osha.gov/SLTC/plastics/hazards.html, and www.osha.gov/SLTC/weldingcuttingbrazing/hazards.ht...

3 Ibid.

4 “LOTO Tutorial.” OSHA. Accessed 11/23/15, available at: www.osha.gov/dts/osta/lototraining/tutorial/tu-ove...

5 “Process Safety Management.” OSHA. Accessed 11/23/15, available at: www.osha.gov/SLTC/processsafetymanagement/index.ht...

6 Bonine, Tom. “Top safety concerns in the manufacturing industry.” July 2014. Plant Engineering. Accessed 11/23/15, available at: www.plantengineering.com/single-article/top-safety...

7 “EHS Program Management.” GE. Accessed 11/23/15, available at: www.gesustainability.com/how-ge-works/environment-...

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Production facilities are hazardous workplaces, and manufacturers devote significant efforts to improving safety, including assessing risks, developing protocols, and employing safety specialists.