Creating a Safety Checklist

September 30th, 2021

Is your manufacturing facility a safe place to work? You may feel prepared to answer with an immediate “yes” if you don’t happen to have a questionable record of recent injuries and incidents. But a lack of incidents does NOT mean you’re operating a safe workplace. It might just mean you’re either lucky, or you’re relying on the judgement, reflexes, and skill of your employees to keep themselves and others out of harm’s way. That’s not the path to success. Instead, consider tightening up your layout, procedures, and policies so your workers and visitors are safe even in the event of off days or lapses in attention. Start by creating a safety checklist that each employee can adhere to at all times.

Here are a few simple guidelines.

First, divide universal items from individual ones.

Every employee who enters your workplace should have a list of shared rules and protocols. These will all be the same, and everyone will follow them (from part timers to executives) with zero exceptions. For example, you may need all workers to sign in, or to wear helmets while inside the building. You may need every incident to be reported, no matter how small. And you may need every person who touches a machine to be certified on that machine. Keep these checklist items separate from the checklist items that apply to specific, individual jobs.

For individual checklists, gain input from relevant workers.

Start with OSHA requirements, HR data, and manufacturers guidelines for specific machines. But don’t rely on these three things alone as you create your safety checklist for individual jobs. Walk through the job with an employee who holds that job. Gain insight into every detail that may impact employee safety. What happens if the machine isn’t cleaned properly between uses? What if the floor of the work area is wet? What if the lighting is too low? What are the steps that must be taken by the company and by the worker to keep this job safe?

Gain buy-in from management, employees, and HR when changing official policies.

Don’t require an employee to take certain cumbersome safety steps if you aren’t prepared to enforce those rules. For example, if requiring an employee to slow down for safety makes it harder to meet productivity quotas, the quotas must be changed or employees might not comply. Don’t put anyone in the company into a catch 22; instead, make sure rules and policies work for everyone before you put them in place.

Allow flexibility in the process.

Chances are, you’re create a safety checklist that contains a few oversights and mistakes…or more than a few. Be ready to revisit your checklists again and again, adding, removing and editing items that need adjustment. Let science and experience be your guide. If a new rule seems like it SHOULD make the job safer, but it actually adds complications that make it more dangerous, revisit the rule. For more on how to support workplace safety, contact the experts at PSU.

The Rewards of a Job in Manufacturing

September 15th, 2021

Should you explore a career in manufacturing? How about just a job, one that pays well, offers opportunities for growth, and provides benefits you might not expect?

Here are a few reasons to add manufacturing companies to your list of potential employers.

This isn’t your grandparent’s industry.

Our culture associates manufacturing jobs with old-fashioned images of conveyor belts and smelting pots and dank, loud, dangerous workplaces with lifelong employees toiling at repetitive jobs until they retire. Maybe they take a break each day to eat lunch from a tin pail. But in recent decades, manufacturing workplaces have seen regulations that make them safer, cleaner, innovative, respectful, and often places where new employees don’t stay for life, but instead launch fulfilling careers into a wide variety of other fields. Take a closer look; what you see on the manufacturing floor may not be what you expect.

Manufacturing jobs are offering better pay.

Along with safety, cleanliness and advanced technology, manufacturers all over the country are beginning to increase salaries to ensure that they can compete for labor against other industries. Minimum or non-livable wages won’t cut it anymore, and a growing number of employers are not just grudgingly offering the new minimum. They want the best workers they can find, so they’re willing to pay the true cost of your commitment, energy, and time.

…And if you want to stay, they want you to stay.

Smart employers recognize that ambitious workers won’t stay on board forever. They’ll come in the door, give everything they have, learn, grow, and then leave to begin the next chapter of their lives. Smart employers don’t resent this—they encourage it. They want to be your stepping stone to “better” things. But they also want to create career paths within the company, so they can retain the talents and productivity of their most ambitious workers. If you want growth, you can find it in manufacturing. If you want stability, you can find that too.

The doors are wide open.

As it happens, the current balance between employers and employees in this sector is tipped in favor of workers. Workers willing to step onto the factory floor are in very high demand right now and fairly short supply. If you’re willing to consider a job in this field, employers are ready to roll out a red carpet for you…or at the very least, they’re eager to take a look at your resume. In fact, many employers have far more open positions than they’re able to staff, so the cards are in your favor at the negotiating table. Have a seat! If you listen to what these employers have to offer, you may find yourself in a great new job—one with a bright future, benefits, competitive wages, a respectful environment, and the opportunity to learn new skills that you can apply wherever your lifelong career may take you. For more information, contact the job search experts at PSU.

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