RECOMMENDATIONS FOR IMPROVING SAFETY STANDARDS IN FACTORY Prepared for Managing Director Xxxxx sdn Bhd Penang By Occupational Health Manager 1.0 Introduction Safety in the work place is a matter worthy of utmost concern from the management as it involves preventing any harm whether physical, physiological, or psychological in nature. Any company worth its salt should realize that work place safety and health of employees is synonymous to protecting the assets of the organization. A rise in issues on well-being among employees is equivalent to an unaccountable amount in losses due to lowered productivity and medical expenses. And, having a healthy workforce will help sustain a nation's economic growth in the long term. It's critical for an organization to enforce safety in work place and that workers stay safe and healthy as they age. Therefore, the purpose of this report is to submit my concerns as the Occupational Health Manager regarding some safety issues that being neglected blatantly by our operators in Material Handling Department. As our company produces heavy load products which require proper and safety packaging and storage, the handling of the finished products from the production area to the storage area is critically need to be done carefully to avoid any fatal injuries or accidents especially the forklift handling. There are several matters I would like to highlight and some recommendations and suggestions will be laid out in this report for consideration. I hope that the recommendations will be taken into consideration and necessary actions will be taken as soon as you finished reading this report. 2.0 Problems Material handling is a significant safety concern. During the movement of products and materials there are numerous opportunities for personal injury and property damage if proper procedures and caution are not used. There are 4 major issues that needed to be intensely looked into and the situations must be corrected immediately. The problems raised are regarding; 2.1 Forklift Mishandle The 'workhorse' in many factories is the forklift truck. It carries heavy goods from the production to storage and vice versa, which means that transport is key safety risk factor. Through my observations and interviews with workers, most of them do not have any qualifications that permit them to handle forklift. Thus, they don’t know about forklift’s operating instructions, warnings, and precautions for the types of forklift the operator will be authorized to operate. The workers might not also understand the differences between the forklift and the automobile. Furthermore, the workers are not trained about forklift’s controls and instrumentation such as where they are located, what they do, and how they work. They drive the forklift with dangerous level of speed as if it is their personal vehicle. They also use the forklift to load as many as boxes from production area to the store area. The overload cause the worker who is driving the forklift could not see over the boxes he is moving. Accidents can happen when loading or unloading these delivery vehicles. 2.2 Lifting heavy items One of the most common problems when moving is lifting things. This is also commonly the highest cause of injuries when moving. It is very important to take proper precautions when moving, to make sure there are enough persons to lift heavy objects, and that lifting is done properly so as to mitigate as best as possible the potential for injury. At the same time there are a number of very easy ways to accomplish this, and while moving things isn’t exactly fun, it is a lot less fun if someone is injured, or something gets broken. Through my observations, the safety factor in this matter also being neglected by the workers. The activities include putting down, pushing, pulling, carrying or moving of a load. 2.3 Electricity Safety in the Factory Electricity is used extensively in this department often at a higher voltage, 415v, than domestic supplies. Some workers are unaware that they work among potential electrical hazards. The dangers from electricity can come from: • Portable Electrical Equipment • Leads, Plugs and Sockets are often a source of accidents. Problems usually arise from damage to the insulation on the lead or strain on the connection into the plug. Workers also ignore to wear Personal Protective Equipment – including Work clothing while working with electrical equipments. 2.4 Slipping and Tripping There are many situations that may cause slips, trips, and falls, such as ice, wet spots, grease, polished floors, loose flooring or carpeting, uneven walking surfaces, clutter, electrical cords, open desk drawers and filing cabinets, and damaged ladder steps. Slipping and tripping are workplace safety issues in any work environment, including what is happening in our Material Handling Department. There are liquids spilled on a slippery floor, and workers do not bother to wipe it up. This could cause other workers fall and get injured. The walkways between each machinery also filled with many obstructions such as rejected parts or unused hardware tools. Some workers also not carefully climbing up and down ladders to arrange boxes on the storage racks. 3.0 Recommendations The health and safety issue should be prioritised and given utmost attention, regardless of the department. Here are some recommendations to improve safety standards based on areas of issues raised. 3.1 Forklift Safety To ensure the safety of workers when handling the forklifts, the following standards and procedures should be implemented; 3.1.1 All candidates for forklift operators must meet the following basic requirements prior to starting initial or annual training: ● Must have no adverse vision problems that cannot be corrected by glasses or contacts ● No adverse hearing loss that cannot be corrected with hearing aids ● No physical impairments that would impair safe operation of the forklift ● No neurological disorders that affect balance or consciousness ● Not taking any medication that affects perception, vision, or physical abilities 3.1.2 Training Training for forklift Operators should be conducted by an experienced operator, selected by Management. All operational training should be conducted under close supervision. All training and evaluation must be completed before an operator is permitted to use a forklift without continual & close supervision. Training consists of: 220.127.116.11 Trainees may operate a forklift only: Under the direct supervision of persons, selected by management, who have the knowledge, training, and experience to train operators and evaluate their competence; and where such operation does not endanger the trainee or other employees. 18.104.22.168 Training Content Training consists of a combination of formal instruction, practical training (demonstrations performed by the trainer and practical exercises performed by the trainee), and evaluation of the operator's performance in the workplace. Initial Training: forklift operators shall receive initial training in the following topics: 1. Operating instructions, warnings, and precautions for the types of forklift the operator will be authorized to operate 2. Differences between the forklift and the automobile 3. Forklift controls and instrumentation: where they are located, what they do, and how they work 4. Engine or motor operation 5. Steering and maneuvering 6. Visibility (including restrictions due to loading) 7. Fork and attachment adaptation, operation, and use limitations 8. Vehicle capacity 9. Vehicle stability 10. Any vehicle inspection and maintenance that the operator will be required to perform 11. Refueling and/or charging and recharging of batteries 12. Operating limitations 13. Any other operating instructions, warnings, or precautions listed in the operator's manual for the types of vehicle that the employee is being trained to operate. 3.2 Load Handling and Lifting Manual lifting or carrying heavy loads should be a last resort only. There are ways to eliminate or minimise manual tasks. As well as reducing health and safety risks for workers, this recommendations will make work done more efficient. 3.2.1 Redesign the task The task of lifting heavy load should be redesigned to avoid fatal injuries or accidents in the factory. I would like to suggest that machines should be used wherever possible. The load to be lifted manually also should be made lighter and less bulky. To make loads easier to grasp, handles should be provided at the loads holder. When moving loads, mobile racks should be used for pallets, containers or trays. Use skids, skates, wheels and slides as well. Other ways to improve safety regarding lifting heavy loads are; ● Keep heavy work items at waist height. ● Push, pull, slide or roll a load (instead of carrying). ● Use packaging that is not slippery with a comfortable temperature for handling. ● Take precautions (for example, secure a load if the contents are likely to move). ● Use non powered conveyors, air bearings, ball castor tables, monorails and other devices to reduce the need for pushing and pulling. ● Use trolleys with large wheels or castors that roll freely, and with handles at about 1m. ● Mechanical aids and assistive devices ● Select the correct aids to suit the load and the work. Check they are light and easy to use. ● Locate handling equipment close to the work area. ● Maintain aids and devices in good working order. ● Train workers in the correct use of aids and devices. ● Storage Store loads between thigh and shoulder level. Store only light items close to the floor or above shoulder level. Where a load is to be lifted from a low to a high position, provide a surface midway. This allows the load to be rested while the grip position is changed. Avoid double handling. Implement 'just in time' arrangements to reduce the amount of materials in storage and requiring handling. Arrange for the delivery of goods close to where they are needed. Reorganize the work area to reduce the need to carry loads for long distances. Implement a procedure so workers can access help with handling loads (particularly if they are working alone or mechanical aids are not practical). Match people involved in team handling arrangements. Train workers in safe manual handling techniques. 3.3 Electrical Safety According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), there are four main types of injuries that can occur as a result of electricity-related accidents: electrocution (which refers to the stopping of a heart due to an electric shock), electric shock, burns and falls caused as a result of contact with electrical energy. To ensure safety regarding usage of electrical in the Material Handling Department, there are certain guidelines that should serve as a helpful reminder of basic electrical safety practices. Firstly, the company must ensure an employee is properly trained and qualified for a job. Not understanding the circumstances about the job can lead to accidents and injuries. Even properly qualified workers are susceptible to accidents. That’s why it’s important to make safety an integral part of the planning process for every job. Other important safety tips to help avoid injuries include: Identify the electric shock and arc flash hazards, as well as others that may be present. Use the right tools for the job. Isolate equipment from energy sources. Test every circuit and every conductor every time before you touch it. Work on electrical equipment and conductors only when de-energized. Lock out/tag out and ground before working on equipment. Treat de-energized electrical equipment and conductors as energized until lockout/tagout, test, and ground procedures are implemented. Wear protective clothing and equipment and use insulated tools in areas where there are possible electrical hazards. Adherence to these basic safety tips will help avoid serious – or even life-threatening – injuries while working with electrical equipment. 3.4 Avoiding Slipping and Tripping The controls needed to prevent these hazards are usually obvious, but too often ignored, such as keeping walkways and stairs clear of scrap and debris; coiling up extension cords, lines, and hoses when not in use; keeping electrical and other wires out of the way; wearing lug soles in icy weather; clearing parking lots, stairs, and walkways in snowy weather; and using salt/sand as needed. Place non-slip strips on stairways made of slippery materials to help reduce accidents. Workers should be warned to be careful when climbing up and down ladders to make sure that you do not mis-step on a rung and slip. 4.0 Conclusions Workplace health and safety hazards can be costly (to lives and the bottom line), but the good news is that they are largely preventable if you take the right precautions. In this report I have identified and highlighted four areas of danger in Material and Handling Department that are, forklift mishandle, lifting heavy loads, electrical safety and slipping and tripping that might cause occupational accidents if not rectify immediately. I have also list recommendations on improving safety standards in the department according to each of danger area. For forklift handling, training is the most critical factor should be given to the workers involved. Lifting heavy loads should be done majorly by machines and electrical equipments must be handled carefully under trained personal’s supervision. Finally the area of production should be cleared of obstructions and should be keep clean and systemically housekeeping should be done periodically. Bibliography Alwi Saad, (2011). Occupational Safety and Health Management. Penang:USM Press Benjamin O.Alli, (2008). Fundamental principles of occupational health and safety. London, U.K.: International Labour Organization. Factory Safety – Managing the Risks. Retrieved October 25, 2012 from http://www.safetyforwork.co.uk/factory-safety.aspx Safety First in Your Factory. Retrieved October 25, 2012 from http://www.newark.com/pdfs/techarticles/Choosing_safety_switches_11-20-06.pdf 2168 words.
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