Workplace safety is good for employers and their crews; practicing safety around the warehouse, shop, and plant prevents injuries, the loss of time, workers’ compensation claims, and increased insurance costs. Employers have a legal and moral obligation to provide a safe workplace, protect employees from injury, and keep the community safe from business-related hazards. Fortunately, there are many resources available to help you maintain safety in your workplace even when your employees are handling potentially hazardous materials and machinery.
Safety must never be compromised, so paying attention to the basic safety guidelines when handling electricity is crucial. Proper workplace safety begins with the top administrators and doesn’t end until individual workers practice safety at all times:
- Stay away from any amount of water when working with electricity. Hands, equipment, wiring, and surfaces must be dry.
- Repair frayed cords, broken outlets and plugs, and damaged electrical insulation immediately.
- Turn off the main power source before handling electrical wiring or appliances. Put up a sign near the service panel, so other workers don’t turn the switch on until it’s safe.
- Train employees to recognize and understand warning signs on equipment, so they are compliant with local and federal electrical and wire codes.
- Use insulated tools, rubber gloves, goggles, and other appropriate personal protective equipment.
There are many potential risks when working with electricity. Train your employees to abide by safety protocols and make sure that safety signage is current and accurate.
Hot work operations include the use of an open flame or equipment that generates sparks. Some examples of hot work include cutting, soldering, welding, grinding, and brazing. This type of work can be dangerous, especially when the work is done around combustible materials. Some tips for maintaining safety including setting up designated spaces with fire-safe and hot work safety protocols. In some communities, permits are required, and in some situations, businesses must abide by a Hot Work Permit Program.
There are many safety rules regarding the handling of chemicals and other hazardous materials. These begin with making sure that employees adhere to the protocols you’ve established. Your workers must use the appropriate PPE and be cautious around the materials. Other rules for safety include
- Maintaining proper labeling and replacing damaged containers or labels immediately.
- Only using materials, containers, and labels for their appropriate purposes.
- Keeping food, drink, and cosmetics away from all materials.
- Avoid touching glasses, contact lenses, and anything else on the face.
- Keep the work area clean and re-clean areas at least once during a shift.
The Department of Transportation has authority over these materials while they are transported and has established nine categories that are based on chemical and physical properties. Your employees must be aware of the regulations regarding packaging, labeling, and marking of products before they are shipped.
When professionals handle explosives and participate in blasting projects, there’s a potential for hard to those workers involved, people in and around the area, any property in the vicinity, and the environment. There are, of course, several steps involved in maintaining safety during these activities:
- Ongoing training for employees
- The use of appropriate PPE
- Enhanced site security
- Strict supervision and oversight of employees, equipment, keys, and explosives
- Clear communication between all related parties
- The use of prominent warning signs, barricades, and guards
- Procedures in place for reporting suspicious behavior
Much of the danger when using explosives comes from the theft of materials by employees, vendors, customers, and others. On-site dangers may increase when employees aren’t cautious or get distracted when handling explosives. It is also vital that signs are clear, prominent, and up to date.
Overall Safety Procedures
Proper training should be consistent when employees use or work in and around hazardous situations. Classes should include information about emergency procedures, such as evacuation, first aid, and emergency reporting. Additionally, regulatory signs and labels are required for compliance with OSHA and DOT requirements. Your employees must understand how to read, understand, use, and replace those signs. This task is easier when working with a sign and label manufacturer that understands the requirements for workplace safety and offers helpful services, such as the EZMAKE Sign System.
When it comes to the safety of your workers, your workplace, and the surrounding community, there are no shortcuts. The right protocols, signage, training, and attitudes toward safety can prevent injuries, property damage, and worst-case scenarios. Are there corrective steps you should take at your workplace?