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Creating a safer workplace for Manufacturers

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Manufacturing and visitor management

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Manufacturing and hazardous environments

According to the Dept of Industry, science and resources, Australia’s manufacturing contributes to about 6% of total GDP and currently supports around 860 thousand jobs. It’s also growing and moving to more high value add manufacturing specialities like R&D, logistics and sales/services.

Globally, manufacturing industries are bouncing back after the drop in productivity during the pandemic and industrial production surpassed pre-pandemic levels by mid 2022. Deloites 2022 report on the outlook for manufacturing confirms that there’s strong evidence new orders for all sectors is signaling a strong growth continuing into the latter half of the year.

With all this said, there’s no better time to ensure the safety of workers across manufacturing. With productivity rising and demand to get back to pre-pandemic levels, manufacturers need to be conscious of ensuring the safety of their workers. As part of this rebound, corners can easily be cut when it comes to workplace safety as small to medium manufacturers work hard to become competitive with their big business counterparts.

The report created by the Australian government outlines a framework on how safety across most industries has been improved over the last 10 years. It identifies that manufacturing is a priority to improve safety for all employees, as the industry, along with construction (and others) has been notoriously poor in providing higher levels of safety standards. Specifically, the areas of hazard have been:

  1. Airborne hazards – Vapours, gasses, fumes and moisture/mould
  2. Noise hazards – Vibrations, noise from tools and equipment and vehicle noise
  3. Skin contact hazards – chemicals, oils, solvents and cleaning fluids

Manufacturing is affected by all of the three top hazards mentioned above, however there has been great strides achieved in providing safer workplaces and reducing the risks associated with exposure to these hazards.

The most important thing is education and providing employees and contractors with the right training on how to avoid exposure and incidents happening on the factory floor. A great way to ensure people are educated is to implement a “safe workplace” solution.

Our close partners at Safety Hut are specialist in providing manufacturers with software that helps solve common issues with business compliance in safety. They work with you to create a plan in the following areas:

  • Onboarding workers
  • Communicating policies and operating procedures
  • Competency assessments
  • Workplace screening and inspections, staff training and incident reporting

Safety Hut’s Workhub software helps with repetitive administrative  tasks, data entry, spreadsheets and forms. Easily manage your data, forms and workflow tasks, to ensure all staff always have the proper knowledge and safety based skills. By implementing a safe workplace solution along with a visitor management system, you will be doing all that is practically possible to create a safe working environment.

Visitor and contractor management solutions help keep manufacturers safe

Part of what makes a safe workplace actually starts at all entrances into your manufacturing facility. Manufacturers are challenged when trying to prevent unauthorised entry into their facilities, and even more so challenged when working out what to do about it. Ensuring that anyone entering the facility is fully compliant and understands their obligations when entering and leaving is paramount in securing a safe workplace environment.

This means ensuring visitors and contractors who are entering the facility need to be inducted correctly. Educating them on what is expected to ensure safety is essential. It’s so easy for visitors to enter a facility who have no idea where the exits are, what they are expected to be wearing as well as any other company based policies and conditions of entry. In reality, anyone entering a manufacturing facility who has not been inducted properly is potentially dangerous for them and the people located in that facility.

This can be resolved by simply implementing a visitor management solution at each entry or location. By using a digital based contractor onboarding solution you can deliver inductions, policy conditions of entry and educate visitors on exit points in the case of an emergency evacuation.

Visitor management and your manufacturing safety obligations

As a manufacturing business in Australia, you must ensure the health and safety of workers and visitors at your workplace. This means making everyone aware of the work being carried out, its undertakings and ensuring the co-operation of activities with all relevant duty holders.

In short, the business must ensure they have done everything that is practically possible to ensure that all people, including contractors, visitors and employees are safe.

According to Safework Australia’s “Good Work WHS Design” guide, the best designed workplaces including the following:

There are four areas PCBUs should consider for good work design.

  1. The work, including:
    • How to perform it, including the physical, mental and emotional demands of the tasks and activities
    • The task duration, frequency, and complexity
    • The context and systems of work.
  2. Your workers’ needs, preferences and capacities.
  3. The physical environment, including:
    • The workplace itself
    • Plant, equipment, materials and substances
    • Vehicles, buildings and structures.
  4. The systems and processes involved in the work, including:
    • Information technology
    • Business management
    • Products and services
    • Supply chains
    • Human interaction, including customers and clients.

A Visitor Management solution falls into all areas of the above, from providing context around company site policies, through to educating visitors on the workplace environment, such as where to find PPE equipment, location of exits, and evacuation instructions etc. These attributes are included to provide a safer workplace, as well as a record who and when people are entering and leaving the manufacturing facility. Implementing a digital visitor management system should become part of designing your safety policy and safety actions across your business.

What’s the difference between Visitors and Contractors

Let’s clear up any confusion with regards to the differences between Visitors and Contractors.

Although there are some similarities, Visitors are not Employees or Contractors. Visitors are there to meet with someone (who we call Hosts) within the business and is generally chaperoned during their visit at all times. This means they are visiting temporarily and may also return at some point in the future.

Visitors should be acknowledged in some way, through recording their entry, screening them with entry surveys and workplace policies of the facility, and in some cases going through an induction process to ensure they know where all exits are located in the event where an evacuation is required.

Contractors are guests who are potentially unaccompanied within your facility, and are there to perform authorised contracted work within your facility. For example to conduct repairs to manufacturer equipment utilised in the facility.

Therefore, a Contractor should be onboarded appropriately, as they are required to provide qualifications on the work they conduct, as well as being taken through an induction process to ensure they understand the safety policies and procedures to work independently (and in unison with company procedures) in the event of an emergency or accident.

Your Visitor Management software must cater for both scenarios. Many manufacturers are running manufacturing machinery that requires servicing and maintenance. In most cases this is conducted by the manufacturers service contractors coming on site. This becomes a safety concern, and you’re obligated to implement a proper safety plan for when they are on site. If an incident occurs and you have not provided the Contractor with relevant and up to date safety plans you may be held liable for any damages.

The benefits of visitor record keeping

Keeping records of all guests entering and leaving the facility is crucial in maintaining a safety compliant workplace. Any incidents that happen need to be recorded to provide proof at a later date.

Using a digital based visitor management system that tracks and records all movements ensures you have evidence of guests entering and exiting your workplace, when they’ve arrived and who they are meeting with.

Being able to download secure data of all movements is a must to maintain a level of accuracy. You can also expect to record and reference at a later date who has accepted your conditions of entry, as well as all completed inductions and entry approvals granted. In short all visitor and contractor onboarding activities are recorded for later reference.

Summary

Implementing a visitor management program is a low cost, highly value-added way for you to meet your workplace safety obligations, as well as gaining some real workflow improvements when receiving guests to your manufacturing facility. You can automate many of the tasks and functions within the software.

Features like notifying hosts, displaying workplace safety policies and educating contractors through pre-approving them with onsite and offsite inductions procedures are only a few things that will help your workplace be safe.

At Ezy Sign-in we’ve helped many manufacturers move to an automated visitor/contractor management system, where they have benefited by implementing the Ezy Sign-in solution to help automate sign-ins, visitor screenings, workplace inductions and contactor pre-approvals.

Speak to us to find out how we can help you save time, redirect important resources and provide your guest with the best first impression possible.

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