Oct 23, 2014

Top 10 ways to develop a world-class manufacturing safety strategy

Manufacturing Safety
Health and Safety
5 min
Health and safety first.
Manufacturing executives shouldn’t overlook health and safety management. Failure to develop and maintain an effective strategy could result in...

Manufacturing executives shouldn’t overlook health and safety management. Failure to develop and maintain an effective strategy could result in poor financial results, negative branding or in the worst-case scenario serious injury or death.

Large accidents relating to safety can incur painfully high penalties, set back production and cause insurance premiums to skyrocket.

How can manufacturing executives develop a health and safety system that protects its people, products and bottom line?

10. Have a handle on first aid.

In the event of an emergency easy access to medical equipment is crucial. The manufacturing facility should be well stocked with essential and job-specific first aid equipment, and each item should be well identified. All employees should have at least minimal training when it comes to using first aid equipment. In many cases, it is necessary to have staff members who are specially trained in first aid, CPR or confined-space rescue.

9. Know where you stand from a legal standpoint.

Make sure everyone is well aware of his or her accountability and responsibilities. Many countries and/or jurisdictions have differing level of liabilities, including personal level liabilities. All stakeholders within the company should be well aware of those liabilities and processes. Documentation should be prepared in accordance with the stakeholders to ensure everyone is protected and practices a safe work environment in their management style and behavior.

8. Restrict access to dangerous areas on site.

Work sites should only be open to the people trained and paid to be there. Friends, family members and employees from other departments should not be granted access to areas where work is being done. Identify restricted areas with signs and tape. In many cases, it is necessary to limit access with locked gates and doors. Let your workers know to report any unauthorized people in your facility and if employees grant unauthorized people access, know they will face stern repercussions.

7. Be aware of permanent risks and hazards and plan accordingly.

Many machines in manufacturing are dangerous regardless of whether they are working exactly as they are intended to. Take chemicals, for example, you can't simply remove the risk of a dangerous chemical by doing a quick check, but you can make sure all chemicals are properly labeled and that employees are equipped to handle them properly. Many machines heat up quickly and pose a fire hazard, even when operating correctly. It's your responsibility to know the limits of your equipment and communicate them to all workers.

Confined spaces are another permanent hazard that can be difficult to address. As confined spaces exist in most manufacturing settings, it is important for your employees to understand the risks of becoming entrapped or finding themselves in an oxygen-depleted area. Address that risk with training, exhaust blowers and confined space rescue equipment, and always make sure employees in such conditions work in pairs.

6. Ensure machinery is properly and regularly maintained.

Machinery and equipment that isn't properly maintained can be very dangerous. Even equipment with fail-safes can malfunction if you do not perform regular maintenance checks. To minimize the risk, have your equipment inspected on a regular basis by a professional, whether in-house or contracted. And don't rely solely on those spaced out inspections; make sure that your employees know how to perform a quick inspection before and after using each piece of machinery. The people who come in regular contact with your equipment should know what a machine looks like, how it smells and how it sounds when operating properly. If a machine is deemed potentially unsafe, it should be shut down immediately for repairs. Onsite workers should not attempt to repair malfunctioning equipment on their own without first alerting a supervisor.

5. Develop a manufacturing safety committee.

Encourage employees to get on board with outlining and maintaining a health and safety strategy by developing a manufacturing safety committee. Each division should elect a number of representatives, who will join a meeting each month or quarter to discuss changes to the safety guidelines of the plant. Each meeting should be an open forum, where all employees at the plant are welcome to join the discussion or bring a concern to the table. During these meetings milestones should be developed, and achievement of milestones should be celebrated, such as no lost time for each month, quarter, and year. Bringing your employees into the debate from the beginning and giving them a voice will motivate them to implement new strategies.

4. Examine processes for fatigue factor, breaks and rotation.

Repetitive actions and activities cause most long ranging issues with employee well being. Fatigue increases as the day goes on. Repetitive actions require synchronization with man, machine and environment, which begin to slow as the day goes by. These can be overcome with effective and frequent rotations, thus bench strength becomes a key to success. Breaks must be designed with these factors in mind and may be allowed differently for different type of jobs considering these load factors.

3. Promote manufacturing safety in groups.

Consider the safety of the group and rally the workforce towards a common goal. This automatically activates accountability to persuade others to act in a certain way, which mirrors the goal of focusing on safety. This is especially effective in more volatile and variable operations where volume surges result in frequent workforce reduction and expansion. Try a buddy system to ensure safety of the individual and that of the group. This team focused system makes it relatively easy to spot and prevent unsafe behavior and practices.

2. Make safety a priority from day one.

Safety standards and expectations need to be highlighted from day one. To build an effective safety program its implementation will need to be part of the company culture. Having an SOP is not enough, it needs to be explained, taught and critically, maintained by management. Floor managers need to watch out for employees cutting corners or ignoring protocols and discipline those employees when necessary.

1. Develop a training program.

A manufacturing facility is only as safe as the people working in it. Detailed training needs to be given to every employee entering the workplace and periodic refreshment courses are essential. Employees should have regular training on equipment, personal safety and first aid – they should be able to recognise if a machine is not working, know who to contact in a medical emergency and how to evacuate the facility. At the end of each training course, those in attendance should sign a form stating they understand the health and safety requirements discussed and that they’ll adhere to them. This information should be saved as part of the employee’s file. 

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Mar 14, 2019

Top 10 Fast-Moving Consumer Goods companies

Catherine Sturman
5 min
FMCG companies
10. L’Oréal

10. L’Oréal

Founded in 1919 in France, L’Oréal has grown into a multinational brand with over 82,000 employees, becoming one of the most internationally recognised FMCG companies worldwide.

Registering 498 patents in 2017, the business is focused on innovation and developing strong relationships with suppliers and partners. 100% of its strategically important suppliers will also take part in its sustainable development programme in 2020.

9. Phillip Morris

Despite various campaigns, over a billion people are set to smoke in 2025. Multinational FMCG company, Philip Morris remains a leading tobacco company, expanding its footprint into more than 180 key markets.

With 81,000 employees covering 80 languages in total, the company houses a comprehensive, agricultural supply chain; sourcing 400,000 metric tonnes of tobacco each year in partnership with 350,000+ tobacco farmers. The company has also sought to embrace the manufacture of electronic devices for heated tobacco products and ecigarettes.

8. JBS

Launched in the 1950s, global Brazilian food industry leader JBS is now home to 300 production facilities with over 10 billion-dollar brands under its umbrella., such as Seara, Swift, Friboi, Doriana, Moy Park, Pilgrim’s, Primo and more.

Serving more than 300,000 customers, it is the world’s largest company in the beef sector, with over 235,000 employees. Its Legal Supplier Programme has enabled beef suppliers to adapt to Brazil’s environmental legislation, whilst the Green Light Pact initiative has seen cattle breeding centres in Mato Grosso do Sul, Brazil improve their production practices.

7.  Coca Cola

Coca-Cola’s wide-ranging distribution network, strong portfolio and exceptional marketing capabilities have made it one of the most iconic FMCG companies in the world.

Available in over 200 countries, its products are supplied through one of the world’s largest beverage distribution networks, where suppliers must adhere to its Sustainable Agriculture Guiding Principles (SAGP) and Supplier Engagement Program.

Adopting SmartLabel technology across its manufacturing operations, the business is also leading the way in the identification, implementation and sharing of best practices. Each product now houses a QR code, providing complete transparency. The company is also looking to reduce the emissions from its production processes, where 42% of energy used at its sites is sourced from renewable energy sources.

6. AB InBev

Originally established by combining three big companies: Interbrew, Ambev and Anheuser-Busch, Belgian-Brazilian beverage company AB InBev is officially the world’s largest beverage business.

Selling over 500 beer brands, such as Budweiser, Corona, Leffe and Quilmes in more than 100 countries, the company is acutely aware of its need to frequently adapt and enhance its distribution network.


Partnering with nearly 50,000 farmers, the business is committed to sustainable sourcing, where its flagship platform, SmartBarley has utilised data analytics to support more than 5,000 enrolled farmers improve their productivity and environmental performance. AI and blockchain will also support its manufacturing capabilities.

5. Unilever

Housing some of the most recognisable everyday brands, Unilever’s aggressive acquisition strategy and strong brand presence has seen it become a household name across 190 countries worldwide. Its R&D centres have sought to fully bolster its manufacturing operations and vast distribution network, where the business has maintained its zero non-hazardous waste-to- landfill agenda since 2017.

Additionally, a number of its initiatives have provided employment opportunities to those in rural areas. Unilever’s Sustainable Living Plan (USLP) has enabled half of the company’s agricultural raw materials, such as palm oil to become sustainably sourced. Not only that, 26 sustainable living brands are now situated under the company’s umbrella.

4. PepsiCo

The main rival to Coca-Cola, PepsiCo’s beverages, as well as its food products continue to grow in popularity and demand.

Harnessing significant brand awareness, the Fortune 500 company is one of the most admired companies in the world. Its six global divisions form part of its aim to transform its products which are delivered through its extensive distribution network to meet the ever-evolving needs of customers.

3. Procter & Gamble

Following from its acquisition of personal care company Gillette in 2005, Procter & Gamble has become one the largest FMCG companies, with operations in up to 70 countries.

Providing a range of personal and consumer health products to five billion customers, the company’s recent plans to acquire the consumer health division of Merck Group, as well as implementing a new simplified management structure will form part of its 2020 vision.

2. Johnson & Johnson

A firm family favourite, Johnson & Johnson remains one of the most influential FMCG companies. With products in three categories, Consumer Healthcare, Medical Devices and Pharmaceuticals, the business has grown at a considerate pace, with up to 250 subsidiaries under its umbrella.

The company’s complex, global distribution network and diverse supplier base has seen the business embrace new technologies across its network, as it continues to thrive in its role in delivering quality products and services at affordable prices for consumers.

1. Nestle AG

Undertaking a number of corporate acquisitions, Swiss food and beverage company, Nestle has become the largest in the world, with more than 2000 brands available in 189 countries.

Home to the world’s largest private food and nutrition research organisation, the company invested US$1.7bn in its research capabilities in 2017 alone, supporting its 30 R&D facilities worldwide. Its recent partnership with Starbucks will see the business bolster its complex distribution network.

Additionally, in alignment with UN Sustainable Development Goals, Nestle is striving for zero environmental impact across its operations. Providing clear labels across its manufacturing lines, the company provides nutritional knowledge as well as supporting local farmers who provide high quality ingredients within its sustainable sourcing efforts.

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