Safety in a Factory

There is evidence of great technological revolution in every field with seriously amazing discoveries. It has been found that engineering can prevent accidents. It has also been found that workers could be reached through educational techniques and brought to a greater awareness of the problems and methods of combating accidents. Through trial and error, it has also been discovered that safety rules could be established and enforced. In this discovery of what is called the four “Es” of safety – Engineering in design, Enforcement of the factory inspectorate, Education and Enthusiasm – the industry has found the means to make a drastic improvement in the prevention of accidents.

An attempt is made in the following write up to formulate some typical characteristics of organized safety, and on the basis of these 4 characteristics to build up a picture of how safety could best be promoted in the various types of operations encountered in different types of industrial units in our country.

The twentieth century has been characterized as the age of the common man. There has been an increasing appreciation of the importance of human needs, a widespread recognition to improve the working and living conditions of the workers engaged in the productive process.

I want to give a few examples of safety in engineering and process industries. Guards, wire meshes, fencing, vents and clear demarcation of machinery whether rotating or not are some of the examples. In the process industry there is lot of automation nowadays and therefore workers need not have to be present very close to the machinery. Therefore the chances of accidents in the process industry is less. However, process industries handling hazardous gases and poisonous gases require a lot of care. The same is the case with a petroleum refinery. But in all process industries just outside the plant  there are several safe places for workers, staff, executives, to gather in the event of an abnormal situation. Safety rules are laid out and displayed near each machine with bold letters and the workers and the staff are required to follow them.

Irrespective of the type of activities, one finds a common pattern of approach continually increases safety in all respects and at all levels. In a condensed form, this could be expressed as:

  1. Make safety a way of life for everyone working in the unit
  2. Organize the safety effort because it does not happen by itself
  3. Exchange findings and experience for mutual benefit

Today, every industry, in order to exist, has to be concerned with the value of its services. The value of a particular activity in any industry may be indicated in a variety of ways but the most effective, usually is increased sales or decreased costs.

Safety, in relation to cost, stands in a peculiar position because for every industrial operation, some element of safety is essential. If this is lacking, operations do not remain under control and schedules and unit costs can’t be counted upon. Breakdowns involving costs and sometimes substantial costs, become frequent. Compensation amounts go up, supplies of skilled people with the right attitude and motivation becomes difficult, labor relations become strained and efficiency and productivity stand impaired. Management must seek efficient operations if it is to manage at all and create enough enthusiasm with regard to safety.

The main driving force behind the industrial safety movement is the fact that accidents are expensive. Substantial savings are possible by preventing them.

Workers’ attitudes in industrial safety are dependent upon a whole array of factors ranging from the social and environmental background to their own circumstances and character. A good safety organization therefore, constantly helps the workers in promoting safety education in various forms which will pay good dividends in preventing accidents.

Knowing what makes people tick will uncover many accident causes. The safest factor deals with the influencing of an employee’s mind, resulting in a proper attitude that governs his behavior at work. If we can understand human behavior and through effective leadership get across the main ideas of safety among the workers, not only will the morale improve but correspondingly it will be reflected in smoother working of the industrial organizations.

The key to a successful safety program in any plant, large or small, is leadership by the management and its guidance and help to the supervisors to do the same for their men. They should adopt and practice safe habits and ensure proper safety and security of those with whom the work is constantly maintained.