Factory Safety: What Could Go Wrong Inside a Garment Export House

Factory safety in garment industry

The apparel manufacturing industry has been around for more than a century. But it is still considered one of the most unorganized manufacturing sectors. As a result of this, the chances of a fatal accident or hazard always remains at its peak. It has recorded that about 1.4 million injuries in the fashion industry workplace every year which can be equivalent to an injury rate of about 5.6 per 100 workers.

With this in mind, it becomes a necessity to be aware of all the possible risks that can happen so that precautions can be taken beforehand and work cautiously to avoid them as much as possible. Apparel manufacturing consists of the simultaneous working of a handful number of departments. Every department runs on different types of machinery and processes that consist of different types of risks at different levels. 

The following are the lists of accidents that are most likely to happen in specific departments.

1. Cutting Department

Possible accidents in the cutting room may include - 
  • Fatal injury while improper handling of cutting equipment like in straight knife, round knife or band knife.
  • Breathing problem like suffocation in the department due to flying lint.
  • Improper handling of fabric roll can lead to muscular injury.

2. Warehouse

  • Possible accidents in the fabric warehouse may include - 
  • Accidental fall while loading and unloading heavy fabric roll, accessories cartons, etc.
  • accidental falling of fabric rolls, flat rolls due to rolling or slipping of them from racks.
  • Accidental rolling of fabric rolls from ramps often during inhouse transport.

Fabric warehouse

Fabric and trims store

3. Maintenance store

Possible accidents in the maintenance store may include - 
    • Accidental falling of tools and equipment.
    • Injury from mishandling of tools and equipment.
    • Injury from handling heavy machinery like a strain on muscles etc

    4. Generator area

    Possible accidents in the Diesel generator area may include - 
      • This area is more prone to fire due to the presence of fuels.
      • Health risks of the persons working mostly from fuels and smoke.
      • Heat strokes

      5. Boiler area

      Possible accidents in the steam generator room (boiler area) may include - 
      • Accidents due to the mishandling of equipment and machinery.
      • Heat strokes.
      • Health risks of the persons working mostly from fuels and smoke.
      • Burns due to sudden steam leakage and accidental boiler touch.
      • Bursting of the boiler due to faulty or improper usage.

      6. Chemical room/ Spotting room

      Possible accidents in the chemical room may include - 
      • Continuous exposure to chemicals can cause health risks. It can occur with direct contact or inhaling of fumes.

      7. Production Floor/ Stitching dept

      Possible accidents in the stitching floor may include - 
      • Personal injury due to needle while needle breakage, machine usage, needle changing, etc.
      • Personal injury due to scissors, trimmers, or any sharp object on the production floor.
      • Inhaling of lint during stitching on machines like overlock, SNLS with a trimmer. It can also happen on an SNLS on the specific type of fabric like velvet etc.
      • The electrical shock on a faulty machine.
      • Damage to eye on needle breakage.

      8. Washing Department

      Possible accidents in the washing department may include - 
      • Risks due to exposure to chemicals used in the washing department.
      • Slipping due to the wet floor.
      • The electrical shock on wet contact with electrical equipment.

      9. Finishing Department

      Possible accidents in the garment finishing department may include - 
      • Injury due to steam leakage or burns on pressing.
      • Personal injury with mishandling of scissors, trimmers, etc.

      10. Packaging Department

      • Mishandling of cartons during transportation can cause muscle strain or any other injury.

      Above are the departmental accidents that are more specific to departments only. But a risk of accidents such as fire, short circuits, breathing problems, etc is common for the whole factory. Places such as boiler area, generator room are more prone to these types of hazardous accidents.

      Related post: Safety and Hazardous Atmosphere in Textile Industries

      In the stitching floor also, a small needle can cause a serious accident when the broken tip of the needle gets into an operator’s eye. Long working hours also affects both the physical as well as the mental condition of the people working there.

      With so many places for accidents to happen, factories must study the severity of these risks and take precautions accordingly. Also, they should be responsible for keeping a count of all the accidents and always aim to minimize it as much as possible. Preventive measures may include the creation of risk analysis charts that can be displayed throughout the departments and make all the employees aware. The training procedures of the employees should include awareness of all the possible accidents and procedures to counter them in the event it happens. Checking and maintenance of all the machines should be done at frequent intervals and records can be kept for verifications. Routine compliance check also helps a lot check listing the entire surrounding of a factory and help in evaluations.

      Even with all the precautions taken no one can predict what can happen and when so, it becomes the responsibility of every individual inside a factory to be aware of the surroundings and be responsible for their safety.

      Reference: Commonobjective.com  

      Soumyadeep Saha

      Soumyadeep Saha holds a Master's Degree in Fashion Technology from NIFT, New Delhi. He is also a graduate in apparel production. His area of interest includes Quality Assurance and technology implementations in Apparel Production.

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