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Improving Industrial Safety and Productivity: A Look at Practices and Products

In the realm of industrial safety, adherence to strict standards is paramount, with equipment serving as a crucial factor in maintaining workplace safety and productivity. ErectAStep's prefabricated modular systems offer durable, OSHA-compliant solutions that enhance efficiency and adaptability while minimizing costs and maintenance hassles, making safety a smart investment for any business.

Improving Industrial Safety and Productivity: A Look at Practices and Products

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By Mark Reed
Jun 07, 2016
Estimated 9 minute read

The occupational safety standards found throughout America’s various industrial and manufacturing sectors tend to be quite comprehensive — and not at all lenient. These standards need to remain strict in order to allow workers to go about their day-to-day tasks in a safe manner.

A central component of these modern standards is the safety equipment used throughout various sectors. These pieces of equipment are designed specifically to increase workplace safety while also promoting efficiency and productivity. However, many accidents tend to occur precisely because the equipment on hand was either outdated or simply inadequate for workplace needs.

Here we’ll go over some key safety concerns in the workplace, and then focus on a couple of pieces of equipment — namely, modular steps and work platforms — that are highly instrumental in improving the quality of any working environment.

Occupational Safety

For businesses, the biggest name in safety tends to be the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, better known by the acronym OSHA. OSHA’s main function is to set and maintain safety standards throughout sectors of industry and business.

For industrial and manufacturing facilities, as well as those in the energy sector, safety regulations tend to be far more comprehensive and detailed than in other areas of business — say, retail. This has a lot to do with the fact that in industrial facilities you’re always going to see major equipment and machinery — and, in many cases, some hazardous material as well.

Many businesses will try to use equipment and heavy machinery long past the date when it’s no longer safe to operate. The reason for this is usually an attempt to save money. In reality, however, the result is quite different.

Businesses that fail to update their equipment and machinery run the risk of higher incursions of debt, as well as legal action, due to workplace accidents. Even in the event that equipment failure doesn’t cause harm to workers, sudden equipment failures can cause a major ripple effect of damage that in turn can demand an entire facility overhaul.

In addition to failing to update old equipment and machinery, many businesses also miss out on opportunities to increase safety and productivity through the use of new industrial safety products. These new products are designed specifically to reflect a sense of innovation, propel an industry forward and aid in the improvement of industrial and manufacturing techniques.

From a business standpoint, implementing key safety procedures, as well as installing various forms of industrial safety equipment, helps to show a business’s dedication to worker safety. This shows not only workers but also investors and consumers that your business is trustworthy and reliable.

To investors and consumers both, a business that doesn’t represent industrial safety is one to be suspicious of. Companies like these seem like the ones that would cut corners, not only putting their workers in danger, but also delivering an inferior product or service — which means they’re posing dangers to customers too.

Workplace management also becomes far more streamlined when effective safety strategies are in place. This makes it a great deal easier for appropriate and inappropriate behavior to be outlined and dealt with accordingly. Thus, company management can pinpoint workers who pose a risk to others on the job or those who demonstrate qualities highlighting underperformance. At the same time management can identify the workers who follow regulations to the point and who help to increase worker effectiveness overall.

Industrial Safety Equipment

Before we get into the details of certain products, let’s take a moment to address the overall benefits that safety equipment brings to businesses. Obviously, they make a work environment safer and less stressful. Fewer accidents mean fewer injuries, delays and costs.

However, safety equipment can bring a lot of industrial practicality to the table as well. Products like modular stairs and platforms make various tasks a lot easier to carry out, not only helping to improve accuracy, but also efficiency. The old saying, “Time is money”, is definitely something that businesses apply to their practices, and the simple truth of the matter is that safety equipment helps to save time.

Take modular crossover stairs and work platforms, for example. These products allow workers to get over obstructions or access hard-to-reach places on the work floor. They come prefabricated and are capable of being added to one another to create a customized system of equipment. Because of their ability to be repurposed and their flexibility, they allow for easier access to machinery, equipment and various system components found in any area of industry.

In addition to providing easier access to key facility areas, these products also offer practical work zones. Rather than having to maneuver around large pipes used for cooling or fuel, stair platforms can be erected to safely bypass equipment and lead workers directly to the areas they need to get to.

Tools and other equipment can be placed on the platform in a more organized manner and in a way that makes it easier for workers to access. This helps speed up tasks and reduces the chances for personal injury or system damage.

These modular units can be set up in virtually any work environment, indoors or outdoors. They’re also great for warehouses, loading stations, and rooftops where various lines of ductwork need to be navigated. Energy plants use these products often, as they effectively create walkways and passages in and around factory components, whereas previously, workers would be hard-pressed to find safe passage.

Large modular stair and platform systems can also be erected to enable vehicles or railcars to pass beneath them and stop for loading/unloading or for various inspections. These systems reduce the need for ladders or elaborate structures, as they can easily be assembled, dissasembled and then reassembled in any configuration you need and in any space you need to work in.

Manufacturer Spotlight

Understanding the benefits and various applications of certain products is really only half the battle. Once you figure out that a product is a smart option for your business, you then have to find a reliable company that’s known for top-quality fabrication of these products.

One such company that deserves some attention is ErectAStep. A key manufacturer of industrial stairs and platforms, this company has a few particular distinctions that set it apart in the market. For one, their products are extremely durable yet predominately made with aluminum — a material that’s not only easier to handle but also more lightweight than steel and other materials on the market. Plus, they’re prefabricated systems.

So what’s so special about prefabricated modular systems? A lot of companies, as well as people in general, tend to get swept up by the concept of custom fabrication. Sure, there are instances where some customization is either completely necessary or would be highly beneficial, but total custom fabrication isn’t always the best route to go.

Firstly, custom work is always going to be more expensive than modular, prefabricated units. Once you start talking major industrial components, a large customized project can run up an exorbitant bill. This is what’s beneficial about ErectAStep. They produce a product that, while it can be customizable, is predominantly prefabricated in such a way that it can be set up and used universally. This saves a great deal of time, labor and materials — which means a lot of money saved for your business.

In addition, something that many people don’t always take into consideration, in terms of highly customized products, is the cost of maintenance and replacement. If you have a facility with multiple pieces of customized equipment and various structural/safety components, you’ll be looking at a much higher maintenance bill over time as well.

When parts or components of a customized system need to be replaced, reconfiguration needs to take place so as to mesh properly with the larger unit — which means more work. With the types of products ErectAStep offers, you don’t have to worry about this. When it’s time for a unit to be replaced — or even just a single component of a unit — it can be easily swapped out without the hassle and cost of trying to get something new to align with the original system.

But what about instances where a business or facility really needs something specific to be used in a very particular space or application? Again, ErectAStep stair and platform units are extremely versatile, able to be configured in multiple ways for an extremely wide range of applications.

To demonstrate this versatility, the company has even added a configuration tool to their website that enables prospective buyers to figure out the sort of configuration they need for their specific space and application. It’s the best of both worlds; as you get the lower cost and easy assembly of a modular unit paired with the versatility and detail-oriented nature of a customized product.

In regards to safety standards, all of the units are manufactured with OSHA regulations in mind. And not upholding these standards means risking heavy fines and penalties or even having your business get shut down. The five system components in the stair and platform systems are each designed to increase safety, which includes the industrial handrails, universal work platforms, aluminum stairs, tower platform supports and platform ladders. As a business expands, it can easily remain up to code by having additional units of these components ordered and installed, expanding the systems already present.

Good for People, Good for Business

Keeping people safe in the workplace is an important value to uphold, and providing adequate and suitable safety equipment is a critical piece of this mission.

It’s important that we dispel the myth that an emphasis on safety inevitably damages productivity, as the complete opposite is true. If you’re going to get anywhere in American industries, whether from a profit or innovation standpoint, you’re far more likely to get there when safety measures are taken seriously.

It also makes good business sense to uphold safety. If you’re looking to uphold a market demand and make a profit with your business, then you’ll want to do everything you to ensure stability and minimize risk. And this type outcome is far more likely through the application of safety products that are compliant, flexible, customizable and will stand the test of time.

Since joining ErectaStep as National Account Manager in 2022, Mark Reed has leveraged his extensive sales leadership experience across diverse industries to drive our stair and access solutions forward. A strategic thinker and proven leader, Mark excels in navigating market challenges and seizing opportunities, ensuring that our solutions not only meet but exceed OSHA compliance and safety standards. His ability to forge strong, value-based relationships makes him a trusted partner to our clients, consistently enhancing their operational safety and efficiency.