A Guide for Manufacturing Workers to Stay Safe & Tips to Report Unsafe Conditions

Workplace safety is a crucial consideration in the manufacturing industry. Although federal law entitles you to a safe working environment, and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) enforces many rules and regulations to help ensure your health and safety, the best way to stay safe on the job is to make safety your personal priority.  

Rules exist to protect you, but you must also take responsibility for your well-being. Remaining alert and actively working to identify hazards that might cause accidents can create a safer workplace for all. 

Tips from a Job Search Recruitment agency for Staying Safe in Manufacturing Jobs


Avoid Risks by being Proactive

As the famous saying goes, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Most manufacturing companies strive to protect their employees from harm, but accidents happen even with the best of intentions. Stay alert to any potential hazards in your work area and be proactive about reporting them. Is debris blocking an emergency exit? Is dust or liquid causing a slippery spot on the floor? Is a machine missing a safety guard? Reporting or removing hazards as soon as you notice them can prevent accidents. 

Remember—there is no such thing as being too safe in a manufacturing facility. Take the initiative to protect yourself and your co-workers from avoidable mishaps and injuries. 

Keep a Checklist of Safety Measures Handy

Many manufacturing employers provide a checklist to keep safety top-of-mind with all employees. This checklist should cover all machinery employees will be exposed to or need to operate, any hazardous chemicals in the workplace, all electrical hazards, and anything out of place, broken or damaged. Going through the checklist at the beginning of each shift to identify potential hazards and report them immediately will prevent later mishaps. 

Keep an eye out for common manufacturing workplace hazards, such as: 

  • Malfunctioning equipment 
  • Sharp edges 
  • Leaks and spills 
  • Blocked walkways 
  • Improperly installed or broken machine guarding 
  • Open electrical panels 
  • Exposed wiring 
  • Unlabeled chemicals 
  • Unsecured cords 
  • Faulty PPE 

Following a routine that prioritizes safety will create a consistently safer work environment, remove friction from the process, improve communication, and keep everyone engaged in staying safe. 

Be Alert and Vigilant During Training

Make the most of your workplace safety training by paying attention during training. Even if you’ve had previous safety training, it’s essential to learn the specific hazards and safety policies of your current manufacturing job. The goal of training is to minimize accidents, maximize awareness, and help you do your job well. Mastering training can keep you safe and help you be more efficient and productive in the workplace. 

During busy times, it’s especially helpful to be able to call on your training to help you get the job done quickly and safely. As well as keeping you safe on the job, training allows you to master new skills and learn to operate the latest equipment, setting you up for success in your current role or future advancement opportunities. 

Always Wear your Safety Gear

Accidents happen, but there’s no excuse for not wearing your personal protective equipment (PPE) when operating heavy equipment, using toxic chemicals, and working in tight spaces. The last thing you want is to suffer an injury caused by your own negligence. Using safety gear and wearing protective clothing can significantly decrease the number of injuries in the workplace. 

Commonly provided PPE in the manufacturing industry includes: 

  • Eye protection. Sawdust, sparks, metal shards, chemicals, and other hazards are common in a manufacturing workplace. Protective eyewear such as safety glasses, goggles, or face shields can prevent eye injury or blindness. 
  • Earmuffs/earplugs. Over time, a loud manufacturing environment can cause hearing damage. Be sure to wear noise-canceling headphones or earplugs to prevent hearing loss. 
  • Gloves. Many manufacturing workers handle hot, sharp, or rough items and corrosive chemicals. Always protect your skin and hands when handling harmful materials. 
  • Foot protection. Steel-toe boots or industry-specific safety shoes are an easy way to protect your feet and toes from getting crushed by heavy machinery. 

If your employer doesn’t provide PPE, it is within your rights to ask for it. Safety gear plays a vital role in your day-to-day safety and should never be ignored or forgotten. 

Use the Equipment and Machinery as Advised

One of the most common manufacturing injuries is the misuse of tools and machines. Your employer is responsible for training you to use equipment properly, but it’s up to you to put that training to good use. Make sure you understand how to use each piece of machinery in the correct and intended way—and that you are using the right tool for the job. You should only use and operate tools according to the manufacturer’s instructions and seek help if you are uncertain how to operate a machine properly. 

Regular equipment inspection and preventative maintenance are other critical components of workplace safety. Be sure to follow your organization’s policy for auditing equipment, performing corrective actions, and creating a safer workplace for all employees. 

How to Report Unsafe Conditions?

Good communication is essential in a busy manufacturing environment. Hazards occur in even the most well-regulated workplaces. Employees need clear communication channels to alert supervisors to potential threats, and supervisors need well-defined safety procedures to take immediate action. 

You can speak up about potentially unsafe or unhealthy work conditions without fear of retaliation. If you notice a workplace hazard, you should immediately report it to your supervisor. If you feel your employer is not responsive to the hazard, you may file a confidential complaint requesting an inspection from OSHA.  

When an inspection occurs, you have the right to speak to the inspector and see the results of tests taken to identify workplace hazards. You may contact OSHA toll-free by telephone, email, or through your nearest OSHA office. 

Connect with Temporary Employment Agencies in the Pacific Northwest for Manufacturing Jobs  

Looking for a better manufacturing job? Our temporary employment agencies in OR, AK, and WA connect hardworking manufacturing talent like you with top employers. As the leading job search recruitment agency in the Pacific Northwest, Opti Staffing can help you find flexible, temporary positions or rewarding full-time opportunities in your industry.  

Our expert recruiters will get to know your skills, interests, and goals and match you with the right job. Whether you’re looking to earn extra income, want to chance to learn new skills, or are looking for a shift to fit your schedule, count on our manufacturing staffing services to deliver the best opportunities in the Pacific Northwest. 

Search Jobs in AK, WA, OR, and Apply today!