Safety Education: Prepare Employees from Day One
Keeping your employees safe from on-the-job illness and injury will involve effort on several fronts. First, you’ll need to make sure physical hazards are under control, which will mean careful attention to handrails, pressure valve maintenance, and safe floors. Second, you’ll need to make sure you have strong protocols in place so everyone knows what to do in the moments following an accident. But just as important as both of these plans, you’ll need to cultivate and reinforce a culture of safety. This means educating your employees and making safety a priority for everyone. Here’s how to start this process the first day a new employee comes on board.
Use Visual Cues and Messages
Near every potentially dangerous workstation or piece of equipment, post warnings and safety instructions clearly. Keep the posts (plaquards, posters, or visual symbols) maintained and clearly legible. And make sure they provide enough information to be meaningful and useful. Don’t let them fade or come down simply because these warnings are not needed by senior employees.
Monitor Training and Certification
When managers look around the workplace and see various employees handling forklifts or overhead cranes, they should immediately know where these employees stand in terms of formal training and certification status. No employee with outdated training credentials should operate dangerous machinery for even one day.
Keep Detailed Records as New Employees are Trained
When new employees walk in the door, they’ll probably be paired with a trainer or mentor as they learn the ropes. So make sure these instructors are well chosen, qualified to teach, and able to monitor and accurately report on the progress of their trainees. If one trainer leaves and hands a new employee off to another, the transition should be seamless and should involve the transfer of written documents.
Offer Feedback and Coaching in Real Time
Don’t wait to correct the behavior and habits of new employees. Instead of taking notes and providing feedback at the end of the day, or the end of the week, provide it immediately. If a new employee is using poor technique or skipping part of a pre-shift inspection, intervene and find an appropriate way to alter the behavior and clarify the lesson in the moment.
Managers Should Set an Example
When it comes to safety, don’t allow managers to cut corners or give lip service to rules and policies. Rules governing hard hat zones, equipment checks, or any other aspect of safety should apply to everyone in the workplace, including managers and guests.
For more on how to cultivate and maintain a safe work environment and workplace culture, reach out to the staffing team at Lift Temp .
Creating a 30-60-90 Day Plan for a Successful New Job
You just stepped into your first permanent manufacturing job…Congratulations! But in order to make sure this job stays “permanent” and you and your employer launch into a mutually beneficial experience, you’ll need to stay on your toes. Start by creating a clear plan for success, a road map that will guide you through the next 30, 60, and 90 days. By that time, if all goes well, the novel parts of the job will start to feel routine and natural. With any luck, you may feel confident enough to give a helping hand to new employees who will be standing where you are now.
Your First 30 Days
Start by making a strong impression during your first day, and build on that foundation during your first week. Make it clear that you’re happy to be here, excited to start working, and eager to identify your role and give this job your best shot. Make an effort to learn and remember the names of everyone you meet. Keep your conversations and interactions positive. If you feel like you may not remember everything you learn, keep a notepad close and take notes. Ask plenty of questions and try not to ask the same ones twice. By the end of one month, you’ll have won over a few friends and supporters, and learned the basics of the job.
The First 60 Days
Within 60 days, you should be finding a sustainable rhythm and brining your daily productivity rate (however that rate is measured) up to a level on par with the average in your industry. You should also be making a note of your error rates. Now is the time to start tackling those rates and bringing those numbers down. You’ll still be asking plenty of questions, of course, but your questions should be rising to the next level and should be focused on specific aspects of this operation and your contributions.
The First 90 Days
By the time you’ve been on the job for three months, you should be ready to iron out aspects of your daily work that seem uncomfortable or difficult for you. What’s the most challenging part of your day? By this stage, you should be able to answer that question quickly, and your answer should show where your focus lies at this point. Get these rough spots smoothed out, and as you do so, you’ll move closer to a degree of expertise which will earn the respect of your employer and prepare you for the next level of responsibility.
For more on how to step into your new manufacturing job and hit the ground running, contact the expert staffing team at Lift Temp.
Prevent the Hazards of Manual Materials Handling by Using Forklifts
The term “manual materials handling”, or MMH, usually referrers to the handling, lifting, and moving of inanimate objects in the workplace without the benefit of mechanical assistance. Some form of manual materials handling takes place in almost every job, but employees who work in factories, warehouses and distribution centers handle objects without support more often than employees in other industries. And as it happens, research shows that MMH is the most common source of work-related lower back pain and occupational fatigue. In fact, three out of four Canadian workers who lift and move objects on a regular basis will suffer from back pain or back injury at least once.
Preventing MMH Injuries
There are no demographics that indicate a greater risk for MHH injury. Both genders and all ages are equally susceptible to strain, fatigue and back pain. Women and men are not statistically variant in their ability to lift and move objects, and while workers over the age of 45 may lose physical strength, their bodies typically adapt by applying years of ingrained experience to the lifting process. In fact, younger workers suffer a higher number of back injuries while lifting loads of the same weight and size. So preventing MMH hazards should not excuse gender and age discrimination.
Instead, preventing MMH injures should involve a careful evaluation of required tasks and the provision of tools, protective gear, and safe lifting equipment. For smaller tasks, a supportive belt can prevent hernia and muscle strain. Proper safety training provided by qualified experts can also reduce lifting injuries. But most important: Workers should be provided with devices that offer the leverage and lifting support they need.
The Benefit of Forklifts
Forklifts and mechanized lifting equipment, like overhead cranes, may require an initial outlay of capital. But this cost should be considered an investment in worker safety and productivity. Forklifts now include advanced ergonomic and safety features, and the fuel efficiency of both gas and battery powered lifting equipment has increased in recent years. With sophisticated mast-stability features and a growing ratio of lifting power to size and maneuverability, forklifts are becoming a necessary feature of almost any materials-handling workplace.
Versatile designs are now available, including narrow-aisle forklift models and a range of lifting extensions and attachments. Now may be the perfect time to examine the costs and benefits of various forklift models that may protect your employees and meet the unique needs of your workplace.
For more information on lifting equipment and injury prevention, reach out to the materials handling staffing experts at Lift Temp.
The Basic Responsibilities of OH&S Legislation
Across all the jurisdictions and provinces of Canada, the language and broader points of Occupational Health and Safety legislation remain similar. The basic responsibilities of employees, employers, and supervisors are fairly consistent across most workplaces, though the finer points of the legislation and methods of enforcement may vary slightly from one region to the next.
Basic Employer Responsibilities
Supervisors and employees will need to read, process, and apply the information relevant to their own aspects of the law, and employees will likewise need to address other areas of responsibility. Here are some of the key points that will require employer attention.
A joint health and safety committee
Employers will need to establish and maintain a committee to address issues relevant to safety and injury prevention in the workplace, or otherwise compel employees to form and maintain a committee or elect a representative to handle this task.
Take precautions to ensure a safe workplace
Since only employers have the ability and authority to change the nature of the workplace, this task will fall under the employer umbrella of responsibility. This will include, among other examples, installing safety railings, preventing harmful substances from intruding into workspaces, and preventing shop floor accidents, machinery malfunctions, and traffic collisions.
Provide complete and adequate safety training
It will be the responsibility of the employer to provide and pay for safety training sessions and make sure all employees have completed the sessions and understand the content. These sessions will train employees to handle workplace safety emergencies and also use, handle and dispose of hazardous materials properly.
Supply protective equipment
Employers will need to provide all employees with personal safety equipment and protective gear that will be well maintained, inspected, and in good repair. This will include items like hard hats, gloves and protection from heat, cold, and hazardous materials.
Employers will report all injuries, accidents and relevant safety incidents the proper department of the Occupational Health and Safety office. The reporting process must be timely, accurate and complete.
Employers will set and maintain high safety standards by appointing a supervisor who will control specific workplace metrics relevant to safety.
For more on how the responsibilities of OH&S legislation will be distributed and enforced, reach out to the workplace safety and staffing experts at Lift Temp.
The Impact of Workplace Stress on Manufacturing Employees
As a business owner, team leader, or operations manager in the manufacturing sector, you already know that productive workers are happy workers. And happy workers are usually those who feel safe in the workplace, who are paid adequately, and who are treated with respect by their employers. If any of these conditions aren’t met, stress levels go up and productivity goes down. Here are some of the specific ways that poor working conditions can hurt your employees and undermine your bottom line.
Noise, Temperature, Vibrations, and Environmental Stressors
Short intense bursts of exposure to any of these three conditions (noise, temperature extremes, and vibrations) can cause trauma and one-time injury. A burst of sound can damage the tympanic membrane, which may result in hearing loss. Sudden bursts of environmental heat and cold can cause hypothermia, frostbite, heat exhaustion or burns, and vibrations can cause muscle and skeletal injury. But these conditions can also have serious impact on employee health at very low grades if they’re sustained and the employees are not protected. Don’t wait for employees to complain about these problems—be proactive and perform regular inspections to make sure these threats are kept under control.
Perceptions of Employer Commitment to Safety
It’s been well documented that employees are more productive and turnover tends to be lower when workers perceive that their employers are committed to their safety. Simple things like installing a handrail on a high platform can make a significant difference in terms of employee engagement and loyalty. Even if no employees have ever fallen from the platform, protecting them from the possibility can be a wise investment. The same applies to protection from dangerous machinery, enforcement of hard hat rules, and prominently posted safety warnings.
Overtime and Working Hours
Monitor overtime and make sure that employees are getting enough sleep and adequate breaks, especially when these employees are completing high stress tasks that require concentration and focus. Don’t allow employees to skip rest periods or work consecutively for an unsafe or chronically stressful number of hours.
Monitor Manager-Employee Relationships
Studies typically show that a high percentage of workplace happiness or misery results from the health and strength of boss-employee relationships. If you see evidence of a mismatch, bullying, extreme personality conflicts, or other problems that keep exceptional employees under stress or not operating at their full capacity, intervene. Disciplinary action or a transfer may be necessary.
For more on how to keep both acute and chronic background stress from undermining the productivity of your workplace and the health and engagement of your employees, contact the expert staffing team at Lift Temp.
Risk Management: Five Ways to Prevent Workplace Hazards
You may have the strongest and most effective policies in place when it comes to addressing and documenting workplace injuries. When your employees experience any incident, from a fall in an icy parking lot to a malfunctioning pressure valve on a dangerous machine, your HR, safety, and legal teams swoop to the rescue of both the person and the company. But here’s an even better way to deal with workplace incidents: prevent them from happening in the first place. Here are five steps that can derail unfortunate incidents long before they take place.
Perform Regular Audits
Choose simple, easy-to-measure safety metrics that can guide your entire program. Then record these metrics at least once and ideally several times per year. For example: measure the number of falls that occur on your shop floor, the number of hard hat rule violations each quarter, the number of machinery jams per week, or the number of times a cleaning inspection reveals cut corners. Use these metrics to monitor larger problems and address the issues that lie beneath. Too many hard hat violations, for example, can suggest deep flaws or gaps in your safety-gear training program.
Act Quickly and Decisively on Safety Reports
If an employee reports a potentially dangerous chemical leak, a wobbly hand rail, a strange smell, or weak adherence to safety rules on the part of a manager or superior, act on these reports quickly. Don’t allow them to accumulate or go unaddressed. Review your response record, and no matter how swiftly and effectively these complaints are dealt with, find room for improvement.
Update Your Data Platforms
Your reports are filed into your software system after they’re submitted, and you have the ability to call them up and review them at a glance. But can you cross reference different data feeds? Can you review the data in real time? Can you isolate certain metrics from others and determine if there’s a correlation between, for example, cold weather and a rise in PTO days? If you can’t do this with your current system, it may be time for an upgrade.
Refresh Manager Training Programs
Train your managers carefully, and provide refresher training as often as necessary. Not only should managers know how to explain and enforce safety rules (like preflight machinery reviews), they should also set an impeccable example. If they violate a safety rule, cut a corner, or put an employee in harm’s way for any reason, the consequences should be serious and well understood.
Use Digital Monitoring
Keep track of climate conditions, temperature, hazardous fumes, noise levels, vibrations, and other potential dangers with reliable measuring and recording tools. Don’t allow human judgement and human error to determine the definition of a “hazard”.
For more on how to keep your workplace and your employees safe, reach out and arrange a consultation with the experts at Lift Temp.