Manufacturing Safety Just a Band-Aid? Get to the Source of your Problem

posted on: Thursday September 22, 2016

You can find endless articles describing tips and guidelines to create a safer manufacturing facility, but most of theseplay-jenga bypass what is really happening at your site. If you want to improve safety, you need to establish a safe work environment. That means that you can’t just focus on the aftermath of poor choices. You need to evaluate the reason the problems occur.

When a work environment like a warehouse or factory has safety concerns, it means that your processes are out of control. For example, if something is slowing your manufacturing process, workers will try to compensate to get caught up. They may rush and take chances that endanger themselves or others. A forklift operator may drive or move faster than he should. Production personnel may let their workspace become cluttered or dirty. Anyone manually transporting a load may try to push one larger load at once instead of splitting it into two smaller loads. All of these are choices that compensate for a poor process, thereby creating opportunities for accidents.

Understanding where the problem occurs, you can understand why simply reminding employees not to rush is not an effective solution. The underlying priority that your employees have is to complete the work on time. Your performance benchmarks probably focus more on hitting numbers than on proper use of equipment. If you want your employees to carry out their tasks safely, you have to ensure that the process allows them to apply safety measures without compromising their output.

Lean manufacturing strategies have a profound effect on these problematic processes. The analytics step, like creating a Value Stream Map, pinpoints your opportunities for improvement. This is where you can really see how your process is slow or weak. When you fix these issues, not only does safety improve, so does your productivity and efficiency. (Read more about lean manufacturing or Value Stream Mapping.)

A popular lean manufacturing solution that really enhances safety is the use of a power tug and cart system for pushing and pulling tasks. They are excellent at providing a clean workflow. Tugs can be conveniently stationed for workers to connect to any cart and swiftly transport product and parts to the next cell. The tugs can also be used in lieu of a forklift for horizontal movement – this removes a lot of wait time and stress on the forklift operator. It also eliminates many opportunities for accidents.

If you’re wondering how a power tug could improve your business, talk to Load Mover Inc. We can identify where a tug would transform your processes into a smooth-running, highly-productive operation. Call us at 952-767-1720 or email info@loadmoverinc.com.