Improving Safety Through Employee Engagement
One of the most overused phrases in the corporate world is the infamous “employee engagement.” The term is most often used to describe a worker’s loyalty to the company. Surveys are conducted and numbers are crunched. Markers for measuring employee engagement are usually aligned with a company’s long-term strategic goals. Employee retention and loyalty are important, but what else matters when measuring engagement?
Safety should be a substantial marker in measuring employee engagement in the manufacturing sector. Shoe factories use hot glue machines, furniture factories use nail guns and industrial sewing machines, recycling facilities use shears and cutters, printing companies use large staplers and conveyors, pottery manufacturers use large, high temperature kilns. Every item you touch on a routine basis is cut, shorn, stapled, glued, sewn, fitted, molded, compressed, assembled – or all of the above – somewhere. Large, industrial machines are run by human operators to produce these products. Less modern facilities may operate older machinery, whereas their modern counterparts operate newer equipment. Regardless, human hands are operating the tools, equipment, and control panels that perform this work.
The manufacturing industry has a high rate of reportable hearing loss and hand injuries (cuts, lacerations, amputations, burns). Puncture wounds frequently occur from the careless use of staplers and nail guns. Failure to wear proper eye protection frequently leads to eye injuries in the manufacturing environment. Amputations and crush injuries can result from untucked shirt tails, long hair, and jewelry getting caught in moving machinery. Burns are often reported as a result of coming in contact with hot machinery, glues, or solvents. Strain and sprain injuries are common in this sector, as materials and finished products are transferred from production to the warehouse on fork lifts, by hand trucks, and sometimes by good old fashioned brute strength. The order fulfillment process often requires reaching overhead, stretching, bending, and twisting maneuvers that lead to back strain and sprain injuries.
Engaged employees take the time to assess their environment, their tools, and their processes. They feel empowered to make decisions, and they look after their co-workers. Safety becomes a priority in an engaged workforce. Injuries decrease and production and morale increase. Investing in safety is always a win-win proposition.
Does your company have formal safety policies in place? Are you responsible for workforce safety or risk management? Contact us or give us a call at (816) 349-0850 to see how we can help design a safety and risk management plan that meets your unique needs.