Have you ever walked around a room looking for your keys or your phone, knowing you put them in the room only minutes before? The items are now frustratingly “invisible” until you can recreate where you left them. The same, unfortunately, is true for many safety issues in the workplace. We all need to learn how to “see” in order to improve our workplace safety.
Often, workers and supervisors only see the parts of their workstation or machine that they are responsible for. They are not familiar with looking at the total picture in order to “see” the potential hazards and what could happen on the factory floor. Developing this skill means that workers can be more proactive about their workspace before incidents happen.
For example, if manufacturers took a larger step back and looked at the floor as a whole, perhaps they may notice the way that certain machines endure more vibration and create more noise than other parts of the floor because of outdated mixing systems. Or maybe they would notice that certain mixing styles created a workflow stoppage when the pipelines and tanks were clogged periodically and had to be taken down for regular maintenance and cleaning.
The solutions to these problems rely on technological innovations that are cheaper to implement and save more than you might imagine. For example, switching to static mixing capabilities is proven to save both energy and chemical additives. Sampling consistency also dramatically increases, meaning less waste and more product for sale. Less vibration means longer machine life and safer worker conditions for everyone. Less or no cleaning and maintenance means fewer people exposed to the contents of the tank and pipeline less often.
If a picture is worth a thousand words, then developing a way to see safety issues is an important step in improving hazard communication – a leading cause of safety accidents.