Yamato Scale Dataweigh UK, a leading manufacturer of quality industrial weighing machines, has published a white paper which puts the spotlight on the relationship between safety and productivity in processing and packaging lines.
According to academic research, production plant managers find that a noisy environment, a lack of resources and unsafe facilities are the most common primary factors affecting worker productivity.
Worker complaints of fatigue, back pain, upper-body pain, hand and wrist pain and headaches are commonplace. These complaints can lead to longer-term health problems that can significantly affect productivity and profitability of food manufacturers, processors and fresh produce suppliers.
Can a focus on machine safety mitigate these problems and increase productivity? The paper sets out to answer the question by highlighting the benefits of safety in processing. It examines how this is achieved by paying attention to standards and compliance and implementing sound training practices.
Yamato commercial operations manager Andrea Spencer said: “Managers in food production need to improve their knowledge of ergonomics as it relates to productivity. There are still many companies which do not carry out ergonomic assessments. Industry research has found a significant correlation between productivity indicators and health and organisational attributes.
“A lack of training is believed to be a contributing factor to the poor ergonomic conditions and consequent loss of worker productivity and reduced health and safety in manufacturing industries including food processing. A focus on safety in machinery design and appropriate training can help.”
Training staff in the safe operation of machinery including automatic weighing machines enhances health and safety and reduces the risk of injury or machine downtime. Productivity is therefore assured. Training should include the principles of safe operation, manual and automatic operation of multihead weighing machines and controlling product flow.
There is a wealth of evidence to suggest a clear link between health and safety and productivity in manufacturing, not least in food production. Adopting good health and safety practices leads to increased innovation, improved quality and an enhanced corporate reputation. The resultant high-quality working environment can help to create good levels of co-operation between management and employees. This leads to a work organisation that gives employees challenges, responsibilities and job autonomy.
Andrea Spencer said: “Developing new working methods and equipment to improve working postures and decrease the strain of physical work also helps in allowing creative solutions for specific safety and health problems that minimise staff absence and so increase productivity.”