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Tips for training employees in manufacturing safety

Manufacturing as a rule is a large, complicated task, involving many employees and many machines. Manufacturing plants, therefore, see a disproportionate number of employees injured each year. An injured employee can be a terrible blow to a manufacturing plant. Not only does the plant lose a good worker for a number of weeks or months, it ends up paying expensive hospital bills as well as worker's compensation. It sees a loss in morale, but a gain in timidity, and even unruliness, in the employees left behind. Legal battles sometimes ensue; there have been cases of entire manufacturing plants grinding wretchedly to a halt because of one injured employee. Such tragedies can be avoided if employees are properly trained in manufacturing safety. Let's look at some tips for training manufacturing employees so that they don't get gruesomely injured on the job.

1. The kind of training offered by a particular manufacturing firm will obviously depend on what exactly the firm is manufacturing, but the intensity and thoroughness of the training should be equal across the board. That is, a manufacturing plant dealing in huge steel instruments and molten lava and so forth is going to have a much larger safety net in place than a manufacturing plant that specializes in, say, gluing cheap books together. The managers of the respective manufacturing plants have quite a wide disparity of potential hazards between them, yet the manager with less potential hazards to deal with should do so no less systematically and conscientiously than the manager worrying about people plunging into molten lava. Interestingly, oftentimes manufacturing plants that would seem to have less safety hazards to worry about end up with more injured employees than the ones building, for example, aircraft carriers. This is because the managers of these smaller plants take their job of training employees in manufacturing safety too easy, deceived by the apparent simplicity of the operation.

2. That said, the managers of any type of manufacturing plant should exhaustively (and as a team) explore every potential safety hazard confronting them, no matter how silly or inconsequential these hazards may seem at first. The manager is a little removed from the actuality of these hazards, as he or she isn't the one standing in an assembly line. Before training employees in manufacturing safety, the trainers need to become expert in all the different ways an employee might act unsafely within the walls of the manufacturing plant.

3. Once this is accomplished, the leaders of the manufacturing plant need to sit down and put a plan together, a safety plan. It's always a good idea not to start from scratch; manufacturing plants have been operating for a long, long time across the world, and the question of employee safety has loomed large from the beginning. There's a large amount of literature available on employee safety, covering a wide and diverse range of types of manufacturing, but treating the subject broadly, too, so that one can start with the basics and then get into the details. Leaders should combine their knowledge of their particular plant with the knowledge of other leaders down through the years, and create a safety plan for their employees.

4. A safety plan, though, is about as useful as a screenplay gathering dust in some producer's drawer if it isn't implemented properly. Manufacturing safety demands the full attention of the employees as well as the managers. Employees should be tested after their training in manufacturing safety to see how much information they retained from the initial overview. Employees should be held to a high standard on these tests; no sleeping during class! Managers who use all their resources to create a detailed plan for manufacturing safety, and who then train their employees with at least the caution and thoroughness of the DMV preparing to hand a sixteen-year-old a new driver's license, should rate quite excellently when it comes to employees and manufacturing safety.

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