How To Make Your Manufacturing Business Safer

Dec 21, 2022

The Australian Work Health and Safety Strategy has urged the manufacturing sector to lower its rates of fatalities and serious injuries.


Learn how Trident Insurance can assist manufacturers in managing the many risks faced by the industry. Manufacturing businesses can minimise their exposures by having a broad coverage from a trusted carrier.

This industry has the eighth-highest death rate and second-highest frequency of serious claims in Australia. There were more than nine claims per million hours worked in 2019-20.

So, what are the main causes of injuries and fatalities?

  • Incidents involving vehicles
  • Falling objects can cause injury
  • Muscular strain when lifting, carrying, or placing objects.

Here Trident Insurance offers tips and tricks to help manufacturing businesses improve their risk management strategies.


Poor health & safety compliance


For smaller businesses, it can be difficult to keep up the ever-changing safety and health legislation. Although there can be a lot of red tape, the legislation is necessary to protect your workforce. Are your employees wearing the right protective clothing? Simple things like steel toe caps and work boots. Are they safe lifting? Back injuries are the number one workplace accident. Are you able to be certain that the rules are followed when they work at height? Do they seem overconfident or tired, stressed or distracted by the job? All these factors can lead to accidents.


Handling hazardous chemicals


Employers should ensure that hazardous chemicals are handled, stored and transported safely. According to the OHS Reps union website, Australian workplaces use up to 40,000 different chemicals.

Here is Safe Work Australia’s national guide for classifying hazardous chemicals.

Consider these methods to manage hazardous substances in your workplace

  • Make, review, and update your action plan to protect and promote safety.
  • Learn the legal standards, including those that relate to maximum exposure levels like for chemical fumes.
  • You should be aware of the possible health consequences of exposure to dangerous chemicals. These include acute and long-term effects.
  • Understanding the effects of multiple chemicals or exposure to other hazards, such as heat and noise, is important
  • Understanding how chemicals can poison, corrode, inflame, or cause irritation to the body is important.
  • Consider severe toxic effects as mutagenic, carcinogenic, teratogenic.
  • Learn about chemical exposure. Its physical properties, its form, and how it enters the human body. Then, see how the body reacts after exposure.
  • Identify harmful chemicals or airborne particles. These include liquids that are absorbed through the skin and into the bloodstream, dust, liquids, vapours, inhaled or gases that can be explosive or flammable.


Manual handling


Manually handling refers to when a worker uses force to lift, push and pull, carry, or restrain an object. Sprains and strains are among the most common injuries. These risks can be minimised by:

  • They must adhere to the legal weight limits for lifting.
  • Ask them to use lifting belts and back braces
  • Rotate workers through repetitive strain injuries prevention tasks
  • Look into ways to make sitting and workstations more secure
  • Use appropriate, safer work systems, training, supervision, and, where applicable, personal protection equipment
  • Encourage people with sedentary jobs, to take five-minute activity break at their workstations or anywhere else every 40-50 minutes.

More tips can be found in Safe Work Australia’s Principles of Good Work Design ebook.


Managing heat concerns


There are no workplace standards regarding maximum temperatures. But heat stress can cause serious injuries and increase the risk of accidents. Assess your workplace for heat stress and discuss ways to improve the comfort of employees.

Tips for managing heat issues at work:

  • Fans or air conditioning can be installed, or you can ensure natural ventilation.
  • Insulate or shield heat sources along with roofs, walls, and windows
  • Reflective film or blinds can be used to reduce window area, heat transfer, and minimise heat loss.
  • Duct hot exhausts to the outside
  • If possible, mechanise some of the tasks
  • You should ensure that your work vehicles have air conditioning.


Insufficient staff training


Safety rules can only be enforced by the weakest link. Do you have confidence that your employees are following safety rules and not taking shortcuts that would violate them? When a claim is made for injury, the first question to be asked is “How adequate was the training?” The employer must show that the training would have prevented the accident from happening. For smaller businesses, it can be difficult to know what training is required and produce the documentation.


Reducing noise and hearing damage


For noise exposure limits, check the workplace health and safety regulations in your state or territory. The key figures to watch out for are 85-140 decibels. Your staff should not be exposed for longer periods of time to noise at higher decibels.  This site here, allows you to adjust the dial to see how increasing decibels affect acceptable exposure periods.

In this order, you can reduce noise levels at your workplace.

  • Engineer controls allow you to move equipment to a safer spot or soundproof the room.
  • Rotate staff between quieter areas
  • When there are fewer people about, run the equipment
  • You can ensure that your employees and visitors are wearing quality, fitted hearing protection.

Also, ensure that staff have regular hearing checks and that you monitor noise levels and work practices to manage this risk.


Protecting you staff


After you’ve minimised the above risks, there’s still more you can do. Find the right workers’ compensation insurance policy for your business. A policy like this will cover your employees’ ongoing and immediate medical costs, as well as part of their wages while they are unable to work. Continuous improvement is a way to lower your risk management costs.

Employer’s liability insurance provides additional protection in the case of an employee suing your company over an injury. This policy will cover legal fees, court costs, and settlements regardless of who you are. We can customise a policy package that suits your business.


Trident Insurance can help


Trident Insurance provides risk management advice to reduce the chances of your business being involved in an accident. Our goal is to make it as easy as possible for you. We will identify and guide you through the most common risks, helping you deal with them, while protecting your company’s reputation strong.  Contact our team today.


Feel free to reach out to our insurance expert today for more information.