Health & Safety in Manufacturing

  • Health & Safety
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Peninsula Group, HR and Health & Safety Experts

(Last updated )

When running a business in the manufacturing sector, there is a high risk of Health & Safety hazards causing harm to your employees. And as an employer, you must provide a safe working space for all your staff members. In this guide, we'll discuss the common risks in manufacturing, relevant legislation, and how to keep your employees safe at all times.

When running a business in the manufacturing sector, there is a high risk of Health & Safety hazards causing harm to your employees. And as an employer, you must provide a safe working space for all your staff members.

Not doing so may lead to serious accidents, which could sometimes be fatal. As a result, you could face prosecution or a prison sentence. This is why you must be aware of all the risks that can harm those working in manufacturing industries.

In this guide, we'll discuss the common risks in manufacturing, relevant legislation, and how to keep your employees safe at all times.

What Health & Safety Regulations are in place for the manufacturing industry?

Under UK law, you have a legal duty as an employer to keep your staff safe. But, you must also comply with manufacturing Health & Safety regulations if you work in the industry. It’s in place to ensure anyone on-site is kept safe at all times - including employees, visitors, or contractors. 

These regulations include:

  • Health & Safety at Work Act 1974.
  • The Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmospheres Regulations 2002 (DSEAR).
  • Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations (COSHH).
  • Health & Safety (First Aid) Regulations 1981.
  • The Manual Handling Operations Regulations 1992.
  • The Provision of Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 (PUWER).
  • Control of Noise at Work Regulations 2005.
  • Control of Vibration at Work Regulations 2005.
  • Work at Height Regulations 2005.
  • Confined Spaces Regulations 1997.
  • Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences at Work Regulations (RIDDOR) 2013.

What are common Health & Safety risks in the manufacturing sector?

Several Health & Safety risks are unique to a manufacturing environment - so ensure you’re familiar with them. Regardless of the size of your company, these risks will likely be present. 

The risks include:

Fire and explosion risks

One of the main risks in the manufacturing industry is fire and explosions. This is because you're likely to store highly flammable materials that create potentially explosive atmospheres.

Under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, you must perform a fire risk assessment to ensure the correct safety measures are in place. Examples of these are:

  • Installing fire alarms and emergency lighting.
  • Installing sprinklers or smoke venting.

Storing and handling of hazardous substances or chemicals

Another common risk in manufacturing is the storage and handling of hazardous substances or chemicals. Typically, most manufacturing businesses will store large quantities of potentially harmful chemicals.

Incorrect handling could lead to major accidents, including skin damage and burns. Not to mention - there will likely be an increase in fire risk. But it isn't just a risk to humans you need to be aware of, chemicals also pose a major risk to animals and wildlife.

Machinery and plant equipment

Heavy machinery and plant equipment can cause serious injury or even death. This is mostly down to incorrect use or faulty parts.

Under the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations (PUWER) 1998, any equipment must be adequately guarded. As well as this, according to the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations (LOLER) 1998, any equipment used for lifting must be inspected and tested regularly.

How to keep people safe in a manufacturing workplace

There are many safety measures you can take to ensure the safety of those in your business at any given time. All of which should be a major factor in your overall management of Health & Safety.

Let's discuss them in more detail:

Conduct risk assessments

One way to protect people from harm is to carry out a risk assessment. Whilst it’s a legal requirement, it should be a vital part of your Health & Safety management. Risk assessments must be used to find any hazards and risks on-site, and help you implement effective measures to keep your employees from harm.

For example, a risk assessment of moving machinery will show any gaps in your control measures that urgently need filling. New risk assessments should be carried out annually, and when a process is changed or a new material is used on your site. 

Conduct Health & Safety training

Another way to ensure the safety of people on your site is to conduct Health & Safety training. Training will help your employees be aware of both the risks they face and the safety procedures they can use to mitigate the chances of harm occurring. 

For example, users of heavy machinery must receive adequate information, instruction, and training regarding the use of the machinery. Make a record of all training completed on each member of staff's file for future reference.

Regularly test machinery and machinery guarding

In a manufacturing setting, it's likely heavy and dangerous machinery will be used. So all your machinery must comply with Health & Safety requirements as set out in the Supply of Machinery (Safety) Regulations 2008.

You can do this by checking that:

  • Moving parts of machinery are adequately guarded, such as safety fencing. 
  • Guards cannot be easily bypassed.
  • Employees are fully trained in using machinery safely. They should be able to safely remove blockages, clean and maintain any machines they use.

Create a Health & Safety Policy

Another way to keep people within your business safe from injury is to create a watertight Health & Safety policy. A Health & Safety policy outlines your approach to maintaining safety within your business, as well as how you plan to keep everyone you have on-site safe.

If you employ five or more people, legally, this policy must be written down. Ensure you share it with all of your employees, along with any changes you make to the policy in the future.

Provide personal protective equipment (PPE)

You are legally required to provide PPE in work activities that could expose employees to harmful substances.

For example, protective clothing should be worn when handling chemicals such as ammonia or acids, as these can cause burns. Or, hearing protection may be required in louder areas of the business.

What happens if there's an accident?

If an accident occurs in your business, it must be reported in an accident book. This process must be followed for every accident, regardless of its severity - but more serious events should be reported to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

This is according to RIDDOR (the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases & Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013). Remember, employees can claim compensation if they believe the accident was your fault. Their claim can be made within three years of the accident taking place.

How Peninsula can help with your Health & Safety

There are thousands of manufacturers within the UK, with millions of products being made around the country. This is why you need to be aware of the relevant Health & Safety rules and regulations. But, when running a factory, this can take up valuable time - and every minute counts.

That's why Peninsula is here to help. We can help with every aspect of your Health & Safety management. Including:

Our team offers expert advice on Health & Safety and risk assessments. We provide 24/7 Health & Safety advice which is available 365 days a year. We take care of everything when you work with our Health & Safety experts.

Want to find out more? Contact us on 0800 028 2420 and book a free consultation with a Health & Safety consultant today.

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