Buying American: Safety – Testing & Compliance
Ensuring the safety of the United States workforce
Safety and compliance are paramount in the American workplace. The manufacturing industry involves a great deal of potentially dangerous work; therefore, safety procedures and testing are vital to ensure the well being of the dedicated operatives who work tirelessly to produce first rate products. Part of the American dream is having US made products created by hard working individuals who are paid well and are protected by high safety standards.
Manufacturing is an integral cog of the United States economy – Our homegrown manufacturing businesses employ huge amounts of staff and contribute to the growth of US industry. Furthermore, the products that these businesses produce are of a high standard and provide something of intrinsic value to the American public.
Due to the above factors, it is important for us to support the workers of these manufacturing companies and ensure that they work in a safe environment, have the proper training and tools to carry out their work to the highest of standards. What makes American made products safer for the people who produce them? What safety measures are in place? What legislation is there to protect our workforce? The below are some ways in which the manufacturing environment is made safer for its employees.
The OSHA Act
This act was passed by Congress in 1970 and stands for “Occupational Health and Safety Act”. The main aim of this act is to encourage employers to reduce the number of hazards in the workplace, provide safe and healthy working conditions and ensure machinery has the correct safety guards etc. Areas of workplace safety covered include machinery, PPE (Personal Protective Equipment), electrical hazards and the control of hazardous materials. This Act provides a fantastic guideline for manufacturing businesses to comply to and ensures that employees are working in a safe environment.
The ANSI Organization
This is a non-profit organization, which stands for The American National Standards Institute and was created in 1918. The ANSI is responsible for the creation and overseeing of a myriad of safety standards for manufacturing businesses. Formed from various government agencies and companies, the institute is responsible for the interests of approximately 125,000 companies composed of 3.5 million professionals. Some of the ANSI standards include ANSI/NFPA 79 (Electrical standards for Industrial Machinery) and ASNI B11.0 (Safety of Machinery – General Requirements and Risk Assessment).
EPA Inspections and Evaluations
The EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) arrange visits to manufacturing companies to inspect their facilities and working procedures to ensure standards are being adhered too. Inspections can include the interviewing of staff members, viewing training records, collecting samples and performing observations on the workforce. These site visits perform an important role in ensuring US manufacturing businesses are complying with standards and that their workforce understands their role and has the proper tools for the job.
Fair Labor Standards Act
This federal statute was created in 1938 and was introduced to address several key issues in the workplace. Included was the introduction of a 40 hour week, a national minimum wage, the guarantee of additional overtime pay in certain industries, and also the prohibition of child Labor. This act applies to employees engaged in interstate commerce or the production of goods. The FLSA is considered an important breakthrough for worker rights and also for the prevention of oppressive child labor.
Good Manufacturing Practice
These are a set of practices that should be conformed to in certain manufacturing industries including the food, drug and active pharmaceutical industries. The guidelines ensure that proper testing and quality assurance measures are taken to provide an end product that is fit for use. Furthermore, the guidelines outline safe working conditions and procedures for the employees creating these products to ensure they do not come to any harm. GMP’s are enforced by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) in the United States and unannounced inspections may be carried out to check on the operations of manufacturing businesses.
As you can see, US manufacturing is heavily monitored and regulated – The amount of legislation created, and the number of regulatory bodies and organizations involved works to keep the manufacturing environment safe and ensures that the products we buy are made in environments that are safe and healthy for its workers and the community surrounding the factories.
This means that our important manufacturing companies comply to strict standards, and their employees are cared for deeply and can work in a safe environment that does not put them in potential danger.
When you see the stamp “Made in the USA” or you see the American Made Matters logo, you can be proud, knowing that the individuals, who made this product, did so in a safe environment and were paid a decent wage for their hard work. This is part of what makes American-made products so durable and high quality – The fantastic working conditions of the employees who create them.