The manufacturing industry is an important part of the economy in Illinois. However, handling chemicals or dangerous equipment can place workers at risk. It is essential that employers provide sufficient training and the latest safety gear to minimize the possibility of a serious or fatal workplace accident.

Early in 2017, The Herald-News reported that one such fatal accident occurred at a Crest Hill manufacturing facility. The subcontractor involved fell nearly 40 feet from a refrigerator unit, sustaining multiple injuries. This company had previously been investigated by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration following a similar accident in 2016.

Even with proper safety precautions and adequate machinery upkeep, the manufacturing industry has plenty of risks. According to Plant Engineering, there are several important factors that influence workplace risk levels in the industry. One of the most important is employee training. Workers should be highly trained in regard to the to the machines they are operating and be aware of any equipment updates. They also should learn how to perform routine inspections and recognize signs of problems in the equipment, such as unusual sounds and burning smells.

It is important that employees receive periodic training on workplace safety standards and emergency response. This may include proper evacuation protocols and learning to recognize symptoms of exposure to chemicals or gas and respond to injuries, such as burns. Furthermore, employers should ensure that first aid supplies are available and easily accessible in the event of an accident.

Even when employers implement and follow safety standards closely, hazards are unavoidable in some scenarios. For example, cramped spaces may pose a risk of oxygen depletion despite adequate ventilation. Likewise, handling chemicals can be very dangerous regardless of precautions. Thus, it is essential that all employees have adequate safety equipment and know how to use it.