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4 March 2020

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Risk Management in the Manufacturing Industry


Workplace accidents are not intentional events. However, they are not chance events, either.  They have direct, and usually identifiable, causes. The majority could probably have been prevented by a prior risk assessment to identify – and then remove or mitigate – the potential causes. A risk assessment that could save the pain and cost of injury, the expense of downtime and ultimately the increase in insurance premiums.

There are probably four major causes of factory accidents:


Poor health & safety compliance

It is often difficult to keep up with the ever-changing complexity of health & safety legislation, particularly for smaller firms. The legislation might appear irksome, but it is there for a reason – to keep the workforce safe. Do your staff wear the correct protective clothing for the job – simple things like work boots with steel toe caps? Do they always practice safe lifting procedures – back injuries are one of the most common workplace accidents? Can you be sure when working at height that they follow the rules? Are they overconfident, or fatigued, or stressed, or otherwise distracted on the job – all these can lead to accidents?


Badly designed operational and safety processes

Poor processes may unintentionally expose employees to a greater risk of accident. For example, the factory floor is a place where vehicles and pedestrians share the same space. It is noisy, there are often obstructed sight lines, there may not be designated safe walkways. It is vital that vehicles and pedestrians are kept as separate as possible, and as aware of each other as possible. If they aren’t the risk of accidents is raised.


Inadequately maintained buildings, machinery and equipment

If corners are cut on maintenance, malfunctions can result and accidents are more likely. An uneven or hollowed floor can be both a trip hazard for foot traffic or a problem for vehicles. How adequate is the lighting? If you can’t see the hazards, the more likely you are to fall victim to them. How good is your housekeeping? A messy workplace is inevitably a dangerous one. Slippery floors can cause trips, cluttered surfaces can conceal sharp objects, poorly contained chemicals can spill. Are machine safety guards in place and operating properly? Is equipment regularly serviced?


Insufficient staff training

Safety rules are only as good as the weakest link observing them. Are you certain that your employees are following their training and are not taking shortcuts on jobs that circumvent the safety rules. In injury claims, the question that is first asked is how adequate was the training? It is incumbent on the employer to demonstrate that had the training been followed, the accident would not have occurred. Again, knowing what training to give and producing the documentation to support this can be a real challenge for smaller companies.


Keith Marlow, Risk Management Division Manager comments:

“Centor offers risk management advice to help you reduce the chance of accidents in your business. Our aim is to make things as hassle-free as possible for you by identifying the key risks you face and helping you manage them with common-sense solutions, keeping you on the right side of the law, whilst protecting your company’s reputation.”

For more information, get in touch with:

Keith Marlow, Dip CII, TechIOSH, CBCI

020 7330 8756

Click here for more information.