Industrial safety management is how you create and maintain a work environment that is both safe and efficient. You use it to minimize risks, keeping both the assets and people in the facility safe. Without good safety management, you run risks of unscheduled downtime and accidents.
But what is industrial safety management specifically, and how can you implement the current best practices?
What is industrial safety management?
Industrial safety management helps you maintain the safety of everyone and everything at your facility. Safety management helps you avoid unscheduled downtime and legal liabilities, both of which cost you time and money.
The Occupational Safety and Health Association (OSHA) is the main regulatory body that maintains and enforces the standard procedures and requirements for ensuring industrial safety in the United States. Generally, if there is a question about safety, OSHA is part of the answer.
What are the benefits of industrial safety management?
No matter your industry, the objective of all industrial safety management is to keep your work environment accident free.
And being safe pays in more ways than one.
First, you avoid the costs connected to onsite accidents, including insurance, litigation and damage to reputation. An accident can end a career because organizations need employees that generate value, not ones that cost their money.
Second, safety helps you avoid unscheduled downtime. Remember, as soon as there’s an accident, everything stops. In a production setting, it can be your entire line. In a warehouse, it can be the whole loading dock.
Third, the right safety program can promote better overall performance. When people in your facility can see that the organization running it cares about them, it boosts morale. People want to feel their company cares about them, and everything from having properly displayed signage to a fully stocked supply closet of personal protective equipment shows that the company cares.
What are some examples of industrial safety equipment?
Type of industrial safety equipment varies by industry. But there is often a lot of overlap. For example, most industries use personal protective equipment (PPE).
- Safety glasses protect the eyes when welding or using specific tools. Because dust and debris can cause injuries, make sure they fit and protect the eyes from the sides.
- Hearing protection using muffs or earplugs prevents hearing damage or loss when exposed to extreme noise.
- Safety gloves are critical when working with chemicals, sharp objects, or extremely hot or cold temperatures. Make sure the gloves fit to avoid burns or lacerations.
- Face shields like safety glasses, employees should wear face shields to avoid flying debris while using equipment.
- Safety shoes close-toed, non-slip shoes made from a thick material help prevent slips, trips, and falls. They also protect against burns and lacerations.
In many industries, including for example oil and gas, many injuries are from falling objects. Safety helmets protect the brain from falling tools and equipment. Because head injuries are so often life changing or even fatal, people onsite need to wear head protection even when just quickly passing through certain high-risk areas.
These are just some common examples, and each industry likely has a subset of industry-specific gear and associated best practices. For example, the PPE at a nuclear reactor is different from the PPE at a car manufacturing plant.
What are types of industrial safety management?
What industrial safety management looks like varies by industry, but all of it is there to help you keep assets and resources as safe as possible. Common types of industrial safety management include:
- Occupational and workplace
- Fire suppression
Although there are different categories, most facilities require programs that include a combination of approaches.
Occupational and workplace safety
Here, you should identify existing risks and outline ways to implement changes, processes, and policies to mitigate them as much as possible.
No matter the industry, workplace safety should always include PPE specific to the task. On top of wearing the right gear, people need to use equipment, tools, materials, and machines in the right ways to avoid both injury and damage to the asset. When equipment is not working properly, it is much more likely to cause an injury. Think of the brakes on your car. If they’re not in good working order, your car is not going to stop right when you need it.
A lot of this sort of safety management, though, are just large collections of small things.
Keep work areas clean, and use non-slip surfaces to avoid slips, trips, and falls. Ensure everyone knows the small but critical ways they can work safely, including lifting with their legs, not their backs, and taking scheduled breaks to avoid making mistakes while tired.
You must have a fire plan in place for the entire facility, outlining a method for monitoring and reviewing all required standards. Your fire safety plans should include key personnel, assignments, and evacuation routes.
And it’s not enough to have it. You also need to maintain it by ensuring everyone knows how to recognize the hazards and what to do if there’s a fire. Conduct fire drills regularly and always keep all your documentation both accessible and up to date.
With a material safety management plan, you’re implementing protocols that dictate how employees store, work with, and dispose of hazardous materials, including:
- Silica dust
The U.S Department of Labor requires that employees have the information and training needed to do their jobs safely. They also need the right tools, including respiratory protective equipment, safety gloves, and safety glasses.
But like with all equipment, just having it is never enough. You also have to ensure everything fits properly and that people know how to use it. If a hard hat is the wrong size, it offers a lot less protection. And if it’s sitting on a workbench instead of on top of someone’s head, it offers no protection at all.
Although not as common as other types, electrical injuries are often the deadliest, which is why OSHA recognizes them as “a long-time serious workplace hazard.”
To protect employees from electric shock, electrocution, fires, and explosions, you need rules about using the right tools, keeping equipment away from energy sources, and only working on electrical equipment when it is de-energized.
Failure to wear the right protective gear can cause severe injury and even death. But the harm is not limited to just people. Production interruptions, lengthy investigations, and civil and criminal litigation can end careers.
Examples of environmental hazards include sewage, blood, bodily fluids, and toxic chemicals like airborne viruses and bacteria. It can also include natural hazards, like noise and radiation.
Here, you need to identify the dangers in the workplace and implement protocols to minimize risk. Employees need to be aware of all protocols and wear proper PPE.
Managers should continually assess risks by collecting and analyzing sample materials. Using this data, managers can create guidelines, procedures, and policies to increase workplace safety.
Construction can be a high-hazard industry, so a construction safety management plan has to include all safety regulations and procedures for any activity at the worksite, with a separate plan for each project.
On the average construction site, there are health and safety risks at every turn, including dangerous equipment, dangerous heights, water and electricity, and hazardous silica dust. When working with older structures, there is often the added risk of asbestos.
You can minimize these dangers by providing the correct PPE like masks, gloves, and hard hats. Additionally, supply non-slip surfaces inside and outside to reduce slips and install guard rails to prevent falls. Finally, ensure regular inspections of all protective equipment.
How can you implement industrial safety management?
The first thing you need to do to have good safety management is to ensure everyone is on the same page and have a thorough understanding of the safety regulations. Adding bilingual instructions and training can help ensure you’re communicating everything effectively.
Specifically for the maintenance team, they need to know how to identify which equipment is required for each work order and know how to use it correctly.
How does a CMMS make industrial safety management easier?
Modern computerized maintenance management software helps you capture data, keep it safe, and make it accessible across the organization in real time. Because everything is inside one central database that lives in the cloud, you can easily review, add, update, and share data with the team.
And being able to share and access data helps you make your facility safer.
Prioritize immediate concerns
Once you have data you can trust, you can more easily decide which types of training you need to prioritize by pulling and analyzing safety-related work orders straight from the cloud instead of digging around to find a specific paper document or spreadsheet file. For example, if you can see that the maintenance team has been dealing with failures related to objects falling into assets and equipment, you can look into setting up better guardrails.
Share critical processes
For the more common inspections and tasks, you can use the CMMS to create and store templates packed with lists of required PPE, explanations of safety hazards, checklists, and detailed step-by-step instructions. Techs get everything they need to work both efficiently and safely.
Once you’ve built the template, you can add it to new on-demand and preventive work orders in just a few clicks. Later, if you need to update a standard operating procedure, you have to make changes to only one spot. Once you’ve redone the template, every new work order you generate has the new instructions, steps, or checklist.
Prevent potential accidents
A big part of improving safety is finding and removing risks before accidents happen. It could be as simple as making sure the guardrails are secure to as involved as bringing in a third-party vendor to test your fire suppression systems. In all cases, it helps to have a robust schedule of inspections and tasks. But with traditional maintenance management tracking, where you’re using paper or spreadsheets, it’s easy for things to fall through the cracks.
CMMS scheduling helps you set up safety-related PMs that autogenerate, so you never forget. And once it’s on the schedule, you can manually or automatically assign it to the right tech.
Hippo’s here to help you get the solution that works best for you, including answering your questions about maintenance management software, helping you book a live software demo, or even setting you up with a free trial.
CMMS software solutions help automate industrial safety management processes and safely store your records and data. They are always easily accessible and are updated across the board when changes are made. CMMS also helps management provide better access to the proper training for employees, keep critical assets online for less money by streamlining processes, capture and leverage reliable data, and track KPIs. All your information is stored in the cloud, is accessible to anyone who has access, and inspection reports are delivered immediately, right to your email.
CMMS software minimizes planned and unplanned downtime of random equipment breakdowns because your workers always have access to checklists created to maintain safety regulations for all equipment. This keeps resources and assets safe from injury, health problems, and overall failure, saving time and money. Management can make better decisions for the organization’s future by using stored data from audits and assessments of hazardous work environments, improving the organization’s safety, and protecting assets and resources.