Tips to Avoid on-the-Job Injury
The manufacturing industry does have a better safety record than the construction industry. However, there are many dangers in manufacturing that employers and employees must be aware of. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) records show a total of 328 deaths in the industry in 2012. Statistics also show that 4.3 workers out of every 100 are subject to job-related injury or illness.
Manufacturing covers a wide range of industries including clothing and footwear, battery and chemical, fireworks, metal, plastic, paper, semiconductor and more. Injuries tend to fall into a few specific groups. Manufacturers of chemicals and explosives face a considerable number of additional safety issues; however, employers and employees in all industries should be aware of these safety tips.
Contact with machinery
Workers must be alert at all times when operating machinery or in proximity to machinery. In any facility, all employees must know where emergency shut-offs are located. All workers need complete training on any equipment they will be operating. Contact injuries can include entrapment or amputation.
Cut-resistant gloves are recommended for any employees working around sharp objects, and the gloves must fit well to reduce the chance of a glove becoming caught in the machinery. Employees must be aware that while these gloves are protective, they are not cut-proof and caution must be used. In addition:
• Machinery guards cannot be removed while the equipment is operating.
• Employees working on equipment must ensure that the equipment is disconnected before work is performed. Lockout tag-out devices should be employed.
Workers need to be aware of any potential for electrical contact as well. Electrical wires and connections must be protected to prevent damage, and frayed or broken wires require immediate replacement.
Machinery comes in many sizes and shapes, and it can present many different types of hazards. Each year thousands of employees across the country are injured by the machines they are most familiar with… and which they believe are safe. The risk of accidents from powered machinery is so great OSHA estimates that lack of machine guarding is the second most frequent safety violation in industry today.
Our training products on “Machine Guard Safety” are designed to help employees understand the dangers of working with machinery… and how those risks can be minimized by proper installation and use of safety guards and devices. Topics covered in these products include:
Basic machine operations.
Adjustable and self-adjusting guards.
Drive train and perimeter guards.
“Drop probe” devices.
Restrain and pullback devices.
Adjustment, inspection and maintenance of safety guards. and more.
Slip and trip falls
Maintaining a clean facility is one of the best ways to reduce slip or trip injuries. If spills occur, a marker should be placed and the spill cleaned as quickly as possible. Objects must be kept out of any walkways. Electrical cables or wires should not be run across walk areas. Appropriate slip-resistant footwear is also recommended to reduce the potential for falls.
Most employees don’t give much thought to the prospect of slipping, tripping or even falling on the job. Yet these types of accidents account for more workplace injuries annually than any other accident category. Many of these injuries can be disabling… or even fatal.
Our training products on “Slips, Trips and Falls” show employees the situations that can lead to slips, trips and falls, and what they can do to avoid or prevent these accidents. Topics covered in these products include:
Why slips, trips and falls occur.
Common causes of accidents.
Potential health effects of resulting injuries.
Techniques used to avoid injury.
The importance of safety shoes.
How to fall safely.
Strain or repetitive motion
Training should include proper lifting techniques to avoid back strain or injury. Employees that perform frequent lifting tasks can make use of back belts or braces to reduce the chance of strain. It is important to note that braces alone do not prevent injury.
Repetitive motion injuries may be reduced by rotating job duties whenever possible. If workers are able to rotate in groups for processes that are repetitive, there will be less chance for this type of injury. While additional training would be required, the employer also benefits from a more diverse workforce.
Skin contact or inhalation of toxic chemicals is also on the list for common injuries in the manufacturing industry. Employees need to use the appropriate protective equipment to reduce the chances of chemical burns. This equipment may include elbow-length gloves and full aprons to protect against splashes.
In manufacturing facilities that produce fumes during operation, adequate ventilation systems must be employed. Respiratory devices must be required and workers should be trained in the correct use. Protective eyewear should also be considered. The steel or metal industries present additional risks to workers from exposure to heat. Proper training is required to ensure that employees recognize the signs of heat exhaustion.
The right protective equipment and employee training make a major difference in avoiding injuries in the manufacturing industry. The costs of adequate training and quality protective devices are much less than the costs of any on-the-job injury.