Is there really a way to assure safe and healthy work environment for people working in pharmaceutical and chemical manufacturing?
The importance of safe lifting and handling
Just like manufacturers in any industry, pharmaceutical or chemical manufacturers and their employees can face real and serious health and safety issues, not only related to hazardous material or substances.
These issues reach beyond the components as there are still facilities relying on manual labour for filling, weighing, processing or lifting ingredients and chemicals. There are multiple risk areas within the chemical and pharmaceutical industry, and the main causes of accidents are due to human error, inadequate training, and improper maintenance.
- Human error
The majority of industrial accidents occur every year due to a straightforward reason – us being humans. Many of these accidents are a result of the worker failing to follow safety procedures put in place by the facility and company owners. When proper equipment is not used or workers take shortcuts, accidents can happen. Accidents or faulty handling can lead to contamination of substances, or chemicals being leaked into the environment – both in the factory and outside. This can have considerable consequences for the operation, from production downtime and illness among staff to the loss of brand trust or more.
- Inadequate training
Shortcuts and workarounds are often result of inadequate safety training or faulty processes. When personnel are not trained adequately to use specific tools or equipment, industrial accidents are more likely to occur.
- Improper maintenance
A common reason for industrial accidents in the pharmaceutical and chemical sector is the improper maintenance of equipment. Regular and correct maintenance following manufacturer recommendations is important to ensure equipment is running smoothly and most of all, safely. Malfunction and failure to meet the high standards in the production line where accuracy and correctness is of greatest priority can have serious effects on the health and safety of workers.
Health and safety – the most crucial component for workforce sustainability within pharmaceutical and chemical handling
Health and safety is crucial for workforce sustainability and to ensure optimal productivity, as they go hand in hand. In the pharmaceutical and chemical context, one central element is about safe material handling. Items must be moved or handled with caution, while keeping the pace and correct process. Identifying new and more effective, safe workflows is always a challenge but there is no need to compromise on either efficiency, health or ergonomics. Another important factor to consider is of course the need for ATEX compliance and stainless-steel products to comply with sanitary regulations.
Basic lab and manufacturing safety
There are extensive guidelines to follow regarding basic lab safety, but a problem can be to continuously keep it on top of mind for employees and to ensure it is on the top of the priority list. Regularly repeated training in specific areas is key to keep the routines up to date.
Training is not only crucial for staying up-to date with procedures or processes – companies that invest in worker development and education will notice that a culture of learning creates employees who take pride in their work, and tend to take responsibility for underlying processes of tasks. Annual training should be planned to keep certain skills top-of-mind, while periodic training in machine maintenance, for example, keeps processes running smoothly. Having equipment which is easy not only to use, but to clean and maintain, is also a good way of ensuring your employees are doing their job in a safe and accurate way from the start.
Regular risk assessments and evaluate the equipment
In some industries it might seem excessive but when processing chemicals, pharmaceuticals or hazardous components, it is of greatest importance. Ensuring equipment is in line with both sanitation and safety is extremely important and can sometimes be hard, but it is not an impossible task. Neither is it impossible to find solutions for demanding ATEX areas.
Minimize manual labor
Sometimes, the most important factor is to remove or at least minimize the manual handling of material and components. This is a tricky task as it is sometimes impossible to fully automate a previously manual task. There are however ways of working around this without interfering with existing process lines or impacting the productivity. By installing or implementing lifting aids, manual handling can be nearly eliminated – while maintaining the productivity, safety, and accuracy, with a bonus of improved ergonomics.
Implement lifting solutions to ease the manual handling
One of the most important steps in choosing the right lifting equipment to solve challenges and minimize manual handling, is ensuring that the equipment is well suited for what needs to be lifted or moved. For example, lifting systems are normally selected and customized for lifting a specific load, such as bags or cans of chemicals – all of which require different tools and components. There is also an occurring issue where equipment needs to be handled with delicacy and care – but also with safety gloves, making the procedure a lot more complicated. Having equipment allowing and complying with gloves or other types of safety gears is crucial.
Safety for people and product
The TAWI solutions can serve as the cornerstone of a highly safe and accurate process line. A vacuum lifter can reduce the risk of work-related injuries and damage to your product – with minimal effort and risk of contamination.
Customizable solutions for demanding environments
TAWI has been providing safe and ergonomic handling equipment to pharmaceutical and chemical industry clients for decades. We commonly customize solutions for very specific processes, to make sure every client is equipped with their best tools to optimize their processes and performance – without compromising their rigid safety requirements.
Our TAWI specialist are happy to help with a specific solution to meet your needs – whatever your environment require.
Contact us to schedule a consultation.
Pharma manufacturing is complex and sometimes hazardous industry. The manufacturing process demands precise, safe and hygienic lifting at the weighing, processing and packaging stages. Our customized lifting solutions can address the main challenges in the industry like improving productivity plus large health and safety benefits.
This is the story of how TAWI helped Qualiphar create a healthier and safer workplace for their employees. (As it turns out, we ended up improving productivity as well.) Continue reading to learn all about this exciting journey.
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