Quality control and workplace safety intersect in the manufacturing ecosystem, forming a foundation of operational excellence — where the pursuit of product perfection converges with the commitment to safeguarding human lives.
But did you know that in 2021 there were 137,000 work-related injuries in the manufacturing industry alone? And that 383 people lost their lives due to a lack of workplace safety that same year?
Behind every number lies a story of a worker, a family, and a community affected by the consequences of insufficient safety measures.
These statistics emphasize the importance of workplace safety in the manufacturing industry. So, what can we do about it? And how does quality control play a role in sustaining safety at work?
In this article, we’ll discuss the challenges manufacturers face today and the intersection of quality control and workplace safety. Then we’ll delve into the benefits that quality control solutions can offer to enhance safety at work.
Finally, we’ll provide a 10-step strategy to help you shape the future of safety management at your manufacturing plant through quality control, including incorporating our FAT FINGER Quality Control Software into your framework.
9 Workplace Safety Challenges Facing Manufacturers
As a manufacturer, you operate in a dynamic landscape where many complex and ever-evolving challenges impact workplace safety. These challenges often require proactive measures to ensure the well-being of your employees and the efficiency of your operations. But it’s not always easy to manage challenges unless we truly understand them. So, here’s a list of the 9 most pressing challenges in the manufacturing industry:
- Complex Machinery and Equipment: Complex and powerful equipment requires skilled operators. So, any lapse in training or attention can lead to accidents or injuries.
- High-Speed Operations: Many manufacturing processes involve high-speed equipment and conveyors, which can increase the risk of accidents.
- Hazardous Materials Handling: Mishandling or inadequate storage of chemicals, flammable substances, and heavy metals can lead to toxic exposure, fires, explosions, or contamination.
- Shift Work and Fatigue: Many manufacturers operate around the clock with shift work schedules. Irregular work hours can, therefore, lead to fatigue, decreased alertness, and an increased likelihood of accidents.
- Lack of Employee Training: A well-trained workforce is the cornerstone of workplace safety. Insufficient training, especially for new employees, can lead to mistakes and accidents.
- Compliance with Regulations: Manufacturing is subject to numerous safety regulations, and compliance can be challenging due to the evolving nature of these rules.
- Technology Integration: As manufacturing becomes more automated and technology-driven, safely integrating new technologies can be challenging.
- Emergency Preparedness: You need a comprehensive emergency response plan to address accidents, fires, chemical spills, and other critical incidents. Because without one, these events can affect your employee safety and operational continuity.
- Aging Infrastructure: Some manufacturing facilities operate in aging buildings or infrastructures. This poses structural risks and also limits the implementation of modern safety features.
A Holistic Approach to Safety Management
Gone are the days when everything worked in silos. In the manufacturing industry specifically, no element functions independently, from your people to your assets, processes, and technologies.
To achieve operational efficiency and workplace safety, you must focus on the well-being of your people, the upkeep of your assets, the continuity of your processes, and the interoperability of your technologies.
Managing this can be difficult without software that helps you connect your operations, automate your workflows, and manage your processes.
And when it comes to safety management, identifying, assessing, mitigating, and managing risks and hazards requires an even more comprehensive solution.
This is where you need to start searching for an out-of-the-box solution. One often overlooked place is quality control.
Quality Control Solutions for Workplace Safety
Achieving a 100% safe workplace is no easy feat, but a robust quality control solution can offer checklists that help you enhance workplace safety by:
- Mitigating Risk: Quality control checklists can help identify and rectify potential hazards in the manufacturing process before they escalate into significant safety issues.
- Providing Consistent Procedures: Standardized processes ensure that every manufacturing step meets established safety guidelines. This can minimize the chances of human errors that jeopardize quality and safety.
- Empowering Employees: A culture of quality control promotes employee involvement and ownership in safety management. When workers are encouraged to identify and report anomalies, potential safety threats are spotted earlier.
- Safeguarding Reputation and Compliance: Manufacturers known for using quality control standards usually produce safe and high-quality products. This ensures that they comply with industry standards and leads to a positive reputation in the market.
How Using the FAT FINGER Quality Control Checklist Can Help Enhance Workplace Safety
Manufacturers already use our FAT FINGER Quality Control Checklist to streamline manufacturing processes.
Creating your quality control checklist with the app is a simple drag-and-drop process that results in digital workflows and easy-to-follow review questions.
There are many other use cases where you can use our software to enhance workplace safety when it comes to:
Equipment and Machinery: Use our quality control checklists to ensure your machinery functions smoothly. It’s important to note that regular inspections and maintenance checks prevent unexpected malfunctions that could jeopardize employee safety.
Raw Materials Inspection: You can use the FAT FINGER Quality Control Checklists to help inspect incoming raw materials for potential contaminants or defects – because that could compromise product quality and employee safety.
Process Optimization: Our Quality Control Checklists can help you identify bottlenecks and inefficiencies that might lead to accidents by meticulously monitoring production processes. Fine-tuning these processes can not only minimize the scope for human error but also reduce the likelihood of mishaps.
Employee Training: You can customize a FAT FINGER Quality Control Checklist to ensure your employees are:
- Well-trained to be more productive,
- Safety conscious, and
- Equipped to recognize deviations and address them before they escalate.
Check out our video on how FAT FINGER works and see how easy it is to use. Moreover, you’ll discover how our quality management software provides the tools you need to create checklists that enhance workplace safety at your manufacturing plant.
10 Strategies to Shape the Future of Safety Management at Your Workplace
Creating a workplace culture that values the well-being of individuals while producing high-quality products that meet customer expectations ― in a healthy work environment ― is the utmost goal of any manufacturer.
You must follow an integrated approach that weaves quality control into your safety management strategies to achieve that. Here are some actionable steps to take your workplace safety to the next level:
Step 1: Integrate Quality Control and Safety with Business Goals
Start by aligning your quality control and safety objectives with your business goals. Recognize that delivering consistent product quality and maintaining a safe work environment contribute to your overall operational efficiency and brand reputation.
Step 2: Set Clear Objectives and KPIs
Create goals and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to provide direction and focus and offer measurable benchmarks to track progress and assess the effectiveness of your strategy. This will also give you a roadmap to keep you on track.
Step 3: Adopt an Integrated Approach
Merge quality control and safety management efforts to create a holistic approach towards achieving your objective. Having cross-functional teams collaborate to address challenges from different perspectives not only fosters a positive environment, but it also encourages employees to take ownership.
Step 4: Lead by Example
Demonstrate the significance of quality control and safety by integrating them into your leadership approach. A commitment to product excellence and employee well-being is essential for long-term success.
Step 5: Embrace Technology
Leverage advanced technologies and no-code applications to digitize your workflows and enhance overall quality control and safety. Implement data analytics, AI, and machine learning to identify potential risks and hazards, improve processes, and maintain consistent quality.
Step 6: Try the FAT FINGER Quality Control Checklist for Free
Use the FAT FINGER Quality Control Checklist (a free, customizable digital checklist) to conduct safety-related audits and inspections.
You can also check out the FAT FINGER Public Library for other quality-related forms and checklists relevant to your industry.
Step 7: Invest in Training and Development
One strategy you can adopt is training modules that encompass quality control measures and safety practices. That’s because a well-trained workforce ensures consistent product quality and a safe workplace.
As an added value, the FAT FINGER app offers real-time coaching to employees with suggestions on the standard operating procedures (SOPs) to follow.
Step 8: Prioritize Employee Engagement
Engage employees in both quality control and safety initiatives. Encourage them to contribute insights for process improvement, defect prevention, and safety measures. This will foster a culture of collective responsibility.
Step 9: Promote Mental Health and Well-Being
Acknowledge that quality control and workplace safety encompass mental well-being. Implement programs that support your employees’ holistic health, enhancing their focus on delivering quality products in a safe environment.
Step 10: Regularly Review and Adapt
Regularly review incident data, defect rates, and employee feedback to identify areas for improvement and adapt strategies accordingly. The FAT FINGER Quality Control Dashboard offers actionable insights and real-time analytics that you can use to assess the effectiveness of your quality control and safety initiatives.
FAT FINGER And Quality Control in Your Workplace
Quality control is the link between producing high-quality goods and ensuring a safe work environment. As professionals and decision-makers in the manufacturing industry, we’re responsible for guaranteeing quality control and enhancing workplace safety.
But our job is not just about creating impeccable products; it’s about preserving lives, fostering trust, and shaping a manufacturing landscape that thrives on safety, one controlled quality check at a time.
We hope the strategy outlined in this article guides you towards a safer, more efficient future. Equipped with tools like our FAT FINGER Quality Control Software, you can significantly improve workplace safety, streamline processes, and promote continuous improvement.
So, if you’re ready to use quality control to enhance workplace safety at your manufacturing plant, contact us today to learn more about how we can do that together.
About FAT FINGER
Ensure frontline teams do their work correctly every time. Drag & drop digital procedures that unlock operational excellence.
In seconds anyone can build and deploy enterprise-grade mobile applications using an easy drag-and-drop no-code builder.
FAT FINGER uses machine learning to coach app users in real-time to make safer and improved decisions.
Try building your digital procedure on FAT FINGER for free @ www.fatfinger.io.
FAT FINGER is trusted by companies all around the world. Its client list includes:
- Exxon Mobil
- Par Pacific