Safety was top of mind when John Deere Des Moines Works constructed a new building on their site last year to manufacture self-propelled sprayers.
In designing the new building, the company incorporated several safety concepts developed at the plant, originally built as a munitions factory in the early 1940s.
The layout of the new building takes into consideration potential impediments between employees and equipment — with special aisles to separate forklifts and pedestrians.
Visual obstacles in the new facility were kept to a minimum. Restrooms, offices, and mechanical, electrical, and plumbing equipment are located in the four corners of the building. This makes it possible to see from one end of the building to the other, and minimizes the need for employees to cross the factory floor.
The new building was also designed with the break area and locker rooms near the main entrance, so there is no reason for anyone to enter the shop floor without proper safety gear.
What's more, the new facility has an auto-guided vehicle system to move sprayers along the assembly line, eliminating the need for workers to use forklifts to push or pull equipment through production.
To ensure work in the new building would be not just efficient, but also safe, Deere machine operators shared their experience and expertise with factory master planners, engineers, and external contractors.
Employees at the factory are repeatedly reminded of the importance of wearing personal protective equipment. They're equipped with safety glasses, gloves, hearing protection, shoes, and other job-specific safety gear, and receive training on how to use the gear properly. Welders are provided with masks that have special ventilation devices.
The factory also brings in outside speakers to discuss the importance of safety, scheduling them around factory production so all employees can hear the messages.