How Manufacturers Can Use Critical Communications to Maximize Employee Safety

When people use machinery to create tangible objects, a safe workplace (or the lack thereof) produces real and immediate consequences. In the manufacturing industry, a high score for employee safety is paramount.

In addition to the inherent risk of manufacturing operations, outside threats in the form of critical events are a significant factor. From 2020 to 2021, reports of event types related to severe weather, fire, crime/violence and supply chain issues all doubled and in some cases tripled, according to the Global Risk Impact Report.

When it comes to both internal and external risks, how secure do your people feel while working? We’ve prepared some guidelines to help manufacturing facilities earn the highest possible grades on your employee safety scorecard.

Start by Digesting the Data

Workers from the manufacturing industry say they’re most worried about severe weather and fires, in an employee safety survey conducted by OnSolve.1 They’re worried slightly more about assault than gun violence, and least concerned about floods and earthquakes.

While the survey polled respondents across a range of industries, this data is specific to manufacturing employees from a broad mix of small and large firms, with a majority working primarily in company warehouses, distribution centers and branch or corporate offices. Almost half were individual contributors, approximately 25 percent were team leaders and roughly 20 percent were managers.

Given these findings, are your manufacturing facilities prepared to combat the threats and allay your employees’ fears? Some workforce projections indicate there could be as many as 2.1 million unfilled manufacturing jobs by 2030. In addition, 76 percent of manufacturing employers cited attracting and retaining a quality workforce as one of their top concerns in a recent Manufacturers’ Outlook Survey. From anxiety and poor mental health to increased turnover and decreased productivity, workplace worries have tangible effects on your people and your business continuity.

Address Concerns to Improve Confidence

To keep retention and performance high, employees need to feel secure on typical workdays and in emergencies. Yet this is often not the case, as the survey revealed. The manufacturing industry barely met the bar for minimal employee confidence. Their workers report only 70 percent confidence in their employers’ ability to keep them safe during critical events and only 62 percent confidence when traveling for work.

Across all industries:

  • Employees of organizations with a staff of 10,000 or greater report lower confidence in leadership’s ability to keep them safe while traveling.
  • Employees at the individual contributor and team leader levels reported overall lower confidence in their employer’s ability to ensure their safety. Employees of a higher rank (from middle management up to the C-suite) reported higher confidence.

While there are many potential reasons for all of these findings, it’s clear manufacturing employers have to strengthen employee safety and confidence across all levels of the organization.

Focus on the Three Ts

To determine employee perceptions of on-the-job safety conditions and how to make everyone feel safer, manufacturing employers should be asking themselves questions related to the three Ts.

  1. Trust: Are your employees confident their safety is your highest priority? Ensure all company messaging and actions address safety first and foremost.
  2. Training: Do you conduct regular safety briefings and rehearsals? All personnel should know what to do during an emergency and have ample opportunity to practice.
  3. Technology: Is your critical communications system dependable and user-friendly? It has to deliver the right information to the right people at the right time, so everyone can stay connected.

By focusing on the three Ts, you can create a safer working environment in your manufacturing facilities and improve confidence and trust among employees.

Select a Well-Suited System

A reliable system for critical communications is an essential part of workplace safety in every manufacturing company. To be prepared for routine emergencies and critical events, your organization needs the ability to reach all your people at once, from any device, at a moment’s notice.

For example, if there is a chemical spill, gas leak or equipment malfunction, your security team can send a message to the personnel working out of that plant, telling them to avoid the area if it’s unsafe or directing the team to fix the issue and mitigate damage.

Your organization also needs a way to alert staff to stay home in the event of extreme weather or seek shelter if they’re already on the premises. An effective critical communications system can do this automatically, ensuring no one is forgotten and your people are kept safe. Make sure it comes with built-in redundancies and can reach stakeholders on a variety of devices, so you can maintain contact even if the power lines go down or you temporarily lose internet connection.

Here are some of the essential features you’ll want to make sure the system you select offers:

  • One unified mobile app to keep on-the-go employees engaged and informed
  • An intuitive interface to reduce the stress of sending communications during an emergency
  • A dashboard display so you can review relevant security information and reports for better decision-making
  • Automatic translation capabilities that deliver messages in the recipient’s native language
  • Geo-targeted alerting to ensure only those in the impact zone receive notice
  • Multi-modal functionality so you can send alerts via phone, email, SMS, desktop alerts, mobile app push notifications, voice and more

By improving communications, manufacturers can enhance confidence throughout all levels of the organization. When everyone knows they’re safe and secure, they can feel and perform their best. That’s an A+ on everyone’s scorecard.

Check out our employee safety brochure to learn how critical communications technology can help protect your workers and boost your employee safety score.

¹Data is from an employee safety survey OnSolve initiated of more than 600 U.S. employees across several industries.


OnSolve® proactively mitigates physical threats, allowing organizations to remain agile when a crisis strikes. Using trusted expertise and reliable AI-powered risk intelligence, critical communications and incident management technology, the OnSolve Platform allows organizations to detect, anticipate and mitigate physical threats that impact their people and operations.