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Chemical Plants: How to Improve Plant Safety for Your Workers

 In Industrial

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, dozens of workers have lost their lives in 2017 after a single inhalation of harmful chemicals. Chemical plants are filled with danger at every turn. Thus, it’s important to improve worker safety to the best of your ability, and make your workplace comfortable for employees—which makes your life easier, too. 

Continue on to learn some ways you can improve plant safety for everyone at your facility. A better situation can enhance trust, increase profits, and offer many other benefits. 


Assess Your Current Plant Safety

Technology is always evolving. Your plant safety protocols should evolve with it.

First, consider incorporating robotic tank cleaning to get rid of confined-space entry. Robots can access spaces that would otherwise pose risks to your (slightly larger) human workers. You can imagine why it’s much better to give a simple repair job to a bot than have a worker sent to the hospital over something avoidable. Machines bring a benefit to efficiency as well.

Consider getting an outside perspective from someone with experience in your industry. You may think your current team has everything figured out, but the truth is, even the keenest eyes become fatigued after repeating the same processes, day in and day out. It might sound a bit backwards or ironic, but things are easily missed when they’re looked at over and over again.

Even better—review past accidents. Try to find common causes, then create a plan to remove those hazards. Assessing past mistakes is one of the best ways to get perspective, even from the inside. In any industry, reviewing what works (and what could be better) is the only way to grow.


Focus on Prevention and Put an Emphasis on Safety Training

To further protect your workers and improve chemical plant safety, you should incorporate new tools, machines, and procedures that can help. Robotic tank cleaning, for instance, is on the cutting edge of safer work environments.

After incorporating new technology, make sure all team members are properly trained on the tools and procedures. To avoid wasting your efforts, everyone should be brought up to speed on proper implementation. Teams work best when they’re on the same page.

Remind everyone how dangerous this type of working environment can naturally be. As they get used to the workflow, employees can easily become lax and careless—a recipe for disaster at a chemical plant. Emphasize the importance of being attentive and cautious at all times. It only takes a second for an accident to happen that could take years to reverse—if ever—when it comes to human lives. 

Practice safety drills in case something goes wrong, since it’s better to be safe than sorry. Fires, fumes, spills, and other evacuation drills are a great way to ensure everyone is familiar with the procedures in an emergency. This is crucial to chemical plant safety. Your workers should know where emergency exits are located throughout the building(s), and know the locations of all fire extinguishers—along with knowing how to use them properly. You should determine which machines will need to be powered down, and which can keep running during an evacuation.

worker safety at chemical plant

Embrace a Safety Culture

It is critical you get full employee buy-in on your way to a safer plant. If one employee isn’t all-in on a safer culture, and doesn’t believe it needs to be taken seriously, they could rub off on other employees. Some people have a tendency to push back against change—you may need to speak to these individuals one-on-one.

Don’t be afraid to let them go if they won’t comply. Your job is ensuring the safety of the entire facility. With full buy-in, you’ll be able to complete the shift in culture necessary to protect the group at large, rather than let one or two people hold you back from positive growth.

Consider adding a counter that tracks—and visually displays—the number of days since the last accident. It’ll give your employees something to look forward to, rally around, and be proud of. Provide incentives for specific milestones to keep employees engaged and excited about working at your plant.

It’s important to listen to your employees in the trenches. Genuinely keep your eyes and ears open—see if they have any valuable feedback, concerns, or ideas on how to improve chemical plant safety. No one knows the nitty-gritty issues better than floor-level workers. They deal with these processes every day; you might be surprised by how much they have to say..

Besides, building a culture that is receptive to suggestions will let your workers know you care, and create an environment where leadership has earned their trust. Morale can skyrocket from this simple focus, so make positive adjustments where you can.


Routine Checks and Cleanings

Keeping a clean, tidy plant will keep it safer.. Schedule downtime to have your plant cleaned—it will lead to less downtime in the future, since you’re being preventative and proactive in your comprehensive plant safety strategy. The safest (and fastest) way to do this is with robotic tank cleaning; you won’t have to worry about a robot becoming overworked, injured, or sick. 

Routinely check your machines, tools, and technology. This is the best way to avoid potential malfunctions that would put your workers in harm’s way. Taking advantage of the technologies available today will prove more efficient, and save you money, time, and resources. It’ll reduce frustration for you and your workers alike. By taking this advice, you can make your plant a top place to work in your industry!

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