The manufacturing industry has made big strides in improving the safety and well-being of its workers over the last few years, but there are always improvements to be made. As with just about every other industry, however, these manufacturers are constantly trying to cut costs and streamline operations with lean manufacturing practices.
Fortunately, the right EHS software can help managers accomplish both of these goals. With a little extra effort and investment in the right software upfront, manufacturers can reap long-term rewards: fewer incidents, lower injury/illness related costs and a healthier, more productive workforce. Here are a few of the most important ways EHS software can help manufacturers prepare for their biggest safety hazards.
Update and Display SDS
Safety data sheets (SDS) should be constantly updated as manufacturers acquire and put into use new chemicals for production and cleaning. With each update managers should also ensure the revised documents are readily available to all workers who need to see them. Proper management and disposal of chemicals may seem simple, but one slip-up with a dangerous substance can lead to a costly or even deadly injury. EHS software with capabilities like this provides everything manufacturers need to manage SDS and keep them readily available to employees.
Keep Track of Injuries and Illnesses
One of the best ways to prevent future incidents is to document and track the ones that have already occurred. While this process can be done manually, an incident reporting software is far more cost-effective and time-efficient. By looking at months' or even years' worth of incident data, EHS managers can pinpoint the areas, tasks and cohorts of employees most susceptible to illness and injury.
Monitor Chemical Exposure
Prolonged exposure to certain airborne compounds can be extremely dangerous, but it can be difficult or even impossible for workers to tell they're in danger – particularly when working with odorless chemicals. Safety personnel should conduct regular air monitoring to avoid overexposure and treat contaminant-heavy areas before incidents occur. This monitoring can sometimes take a backseat to other tasks when there is constant reminders to keep it top of mind. Most EHS software allows for built in reminders and follow up for this exact type of task, and some even allow for the measurements to be tracked and trended over time.
Enforce PPE Compliance
One of the greatest dangers among workers is the lack of PPE (personal protective equipment) compliance. Switching from hardhats to welding masks may seem cumbersome, for instance, but avoiding the hardhat altogether in an effort to save time will almost inevitably lead to avoidable head trauma. A manufacturer's PPE policies should not only be strictly enforced, it should be clearly explained to all employees. Understanding the personal risks they and their coworkers face is invaluable in achieving greater buy-in and compliance. EHS software with the right training tools and easily accessible policies, improves buy in and keeps employees accountable in a very measurable way.
At the same time, compliance will always be limited when workers have to deal with unwieldy or ineffective PPE. As important as education and enforcement are, manufacturers should carefully consider their PPE purchases and select equipment that keeps workers safe and productive. This is why manufacturers should be able to track changes in company culture and in incident rates aligned with changes in PPE. Ultimately, less frequent purchases of high-quality, employee-approved equipment can both save money and improve compliance.
Use a Digital Safety Management System
One of the best ways to cost-effectively improve lean manufacturing practices is to implement an EHS software. Keeping track of training, injuries, audits and JSAs by hand can be a nightmare, but a comprehensive software can make even the most skilled EHS manager more efficient, increase the company bottom line, and support lean manufacturing practices.
Get ready for a leaner year by reaching out to BasicSafe today for a free demo.