Plant Safety

MRO Q&A: Building a Safety Program

MRO Q&A is a Food Processing series addressing maintenance, repair and operational issues in food plants.

Q. When building a safety program, what are the most recurring problems in industry today to watch out for?

A. Judging from the most recent OSHA violation report, items such as scaffolding, fall protection, respiratory protection, hazard communications and lockout/tagout controls continue to top the list. While these items are almost always topping the OSHA charts, you would be well served to also review your most common reportable OSHA injury listing for your specific operation to develop a more in depth understanding of the unique issues in your work flow.

Another issue to look at is the occurrence of willful violations. OSHA reports these items as a separate listing. Over the years, items such as personal protective equipment, machine guarding and confined space permit requirements seem to make the list. These occurrences speak to another element of developing a strong safety program. You need to involve the operational and maintenance people who are working in your facility as part of the team developing your program. These people are critical in developing a safety program that works effectively for your unique operation. While they should not be responsible for developing the program, they are the key to understanding how your safety program will interface with your work flow.

No one wants to be the victim of an industrial accident, and everyone wants to work in a safe and healthy environment. Taking the time to discuss how this result is to be achieved within your operation will help develop the type of safety program everyone can support and implement knowing that the program is focused on them as employees of a company that wants a safe, productive and healthy operation.