Safety Strategies: A Handbook for Employees in Manufacturing

Manufacturing positions, such as machine operator or assembly line worker, can be tedious and even mind-numbing. But they are also safety-critical roles, because things could go very badly very quickly. Here are some proactive steps you can take to minimize risks on the manufacturing floor.

Always Use PPE

Depending on your specific position, you may need personal protective equipment (PPE) such as a hard hat, gloves, or goggles. Never start or continue work until you have all of the PPE you need, and you have checked to make sure it’s in good repair. Your employer should provide most items, though you may be responsible for obtaining things like steel-toed boots on your own.

Follow Your Training

When things get busy, it can be tempting to start cutting corners to save time. But you were trained to do your job in a specific way for a reason. Always insist on doing things by the book, no matter how much pressure you feel. If you run into a situation that wasn’t covered in training, ask your supervisor how to proceed.

Assess Each Situation

Before you begin your shift, and again whenever you return from a break, take the time to carefully assess the situation. Is your machine working properly? Are there any nearby hazards, such as spills or debris? Do you have everything you need within easy reach. As you perform your tasks, keep your eyes and ears open. If a machine suddenly starts sounding funny or you aren’t getting the expected results, shut it down and seek help from your team lead.

When in Doubt, Ask

It would be impossible for even the most thorough safety training to cover every single situation that might arise. Whenever you feel like you’re in over your head, talk to a more experienced employee or to your team lead. Never guess or make assumptions, as you could accidentally break an important safety protocol.

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