Every year, over 800 people are killed by heavy machinery in the US alone.
Even in a modern workplace, heavy machinery can be very dangerous if people aren’t careful. Unless you want to be one of the 18.000 people seriously injured each year, you need to be aware of your machine safety procedures.
Don’t worry, we have you covered. Read on for our 7 machine safety tips that can help keep your workplace injury free.
1. Use Machine Guards
It is always important to have proper machine guarding in place that meets OSHA standards. Machine guards protect workers from potential dangers like flying chips and rotating parts.
Guards you can use range from barrier guards, two-handed operating devices to light curtains. All the above will act to protect your employees from heavy machinery dangers.
By having adequate, government standard guarding in place, you can help prevent injuries including:
Without this in place, many of these injuries will severe. Some can be life-changing and some can even be fatal.
2. Never Remove Machine Guards
The only time it is safe to remove barriers and machine guarding is when you are taking the machine out of service for maintenance. Any other time and your employees will be at risk.
Only authorized staff who are well trained should remove them. It is also a must that workers report any damage they notice to guard systems. The machinery should not continue in use until the guard is looked at or replaced.
Accidents can happen when workers think something will only take a second and go around the guard system. Or when they reach around a guard to fix a jam. It is important to provide full health and safety training to avoid incidents like these.
3. Use Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
When required, workers must use personal protective equipment (PPE). The types of common safety equipment include:
- Safety glasses
- Closed-toe shoes
It’s recommended that workers use full wrap goggles as this gives the best protection. Debris cannot get through the side as it could with normal glasses.
You want gloves to fit well but not be too tight. You can’t have loose gloves as they pose a risk of getting caught in machinery.
For workers who use cutting equipment or sharp edges, cut-resistant gloves are a must. While they do no completely prevent injury, they can reduce the chance.
Proper footwear protects feet from dropped or falling objects. Proper soles with slip-resistance make accidents on wet or slippery floors less likely.
4. Awareness of Surroundings
It is important for all employees to know what other equipment or machinery is nearby. Even if they’re not using it.
Workers also shouldn’t operate machinery under the influence of alcohol. Nor should they operate if they are on any medication that impairs reactions and clarity.
While heavy machinery is in use, workers should not interfere with the machine or the operator. Distracting an operator can lead to an accident in no time.
If the workplace is using forklifts, clear markings must be visible for workers. A lift operator may not see a worker so it is important to avoid those marked paths.
The use of headphones while walking and working should also pose a risk. They can block the ability for the person to hear any equipment warnings.
5. Follow Maintenance Schedules
A workplace will have maintenance schedules for a reason. It ensures equipment and machinery keep operating at peak performance.
If machinery is not maintained on time, it can break down and become a risk. It could overheat due to not enough lubrication. Or it could jam up because of a broken drive gear or belt.
If filtration equipment is in use, you must inspect change the filters on a regular basis. If left, the filters will not perform as they should. This could then lead to potential exposure for workers and the environment.
It is also important to make sure any sharp blades on cutting machinery are sharp. If a blade dulls over time and is not addressed, it is more like to snag and chip.
You don’t need to go as far as becoming a health and safety engineer, but training is very important.
You should never operate machinery that you have not had training on. Each machine will have its own procedures and method of working it. You should receive a tutorial from someone who is already trained in the machinery. The trainer should assess the trainee’s skills. If there is a way to make operations safer and easier, they should recommend this.
If you try to operate a machine without training, you will be putting yourself at risk. You will also be endangering those around you. This can cause workplace injuries and fatalities.
As we have covered above, heavy machinery can cause a lot of damage. You need to know what you are doing and all the safety procedures before you can begin operating one.
It is important to track and reinforce safety measures. Use staff meetings, supervision, and educational refresher courses. Reward systems for workers who abide by the safety standards are useful too.
It’s important to not take shortcuts. Accidents occur when a worker skips a step to get the job done faster. Make sure all instructions and procedures are clear and well organized. This will help prevent any undue accidents.
Make sure the workplace is neat and tidy. A messy workplace can be a health and safety nightmare. Make sure the layout has adequate markings and is free of obstructions. To address spills fast, ensure there are adequate cleaning stations.
Proper Machine Safety
If you follow our machine safety tips, then your factory machinery will be a much safer place.
Heavy factory machinery will always be dangerous. But by receiving proper training and treating it with the right amount of respect, your workplace should stay accident-free.
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