Metal fabricators create products with the use of tools that cut, bend, weld, finish, and assemble metal and minerals, Often, the process involves intense heat, sharp cutting tools, and harsh chemicals. Naturally, metal fabrication shops have to incorporate safety into the workflow in order to prevent accidents and protect workers.
How To Improve Workplace Safety For Metal Shops
These are some of the primary areas to concentrate on in order to comply with safety guidelines and drastically reduce the risk of injuries:
Machine Safety Guards
One of the most common violations that OSHA finds is the lack of machine guards and other preventative equipment. Without these, workers can suffer from severe injuries. Common injuries include crushed hands, burns, blindness, and amputations. With proper safety equipment, many of these injuries are entirely preventable. The lack of these safety measures was the most common reason that OSHA penalized machine shops in the last year.
Machine fabrication equipment draws a lot of power. Besides safety guards, electrical hazards ranked second as a commonly found safety violation. In the US, a worker dies every day because of electrocution, and many more suffer from burns. Common electrical hazards include using extension cords in an unsafe way, improper grounding, and poor wiring design. Any employees who use electric tools or machines are at risk.
Metal fabrication involves moving heavy and sometimes dangerous materials around. All employees who are responsible for transport should have proper training in the safest way to move materials and in using the vehicles they transport these materials in. Poor materials handling accounted for many OSHA safety violations in previous years.
Personal Protective Gear
In some shops, employees furnish their own safety gear. In other shops, the employer provides everything. Either way, it is the employer’s responsibility to ensure that each employee has and uses adequate protective equipment for the tasks that they are doing. In some cases, employees may require training in the proper use of their gear. Common protective gear includes eye protection, respiratory protection, gloves, boots, and helmets.
Metal fabrication involves the use of many harsh and dangerous chemicals. They can cause illnesses or injuries if they are spilled or inhaled. Workers need training about the safe use and disposal of these substances.
Other Safety Hazards In Metal Shops
The list above includes the most common reasons that OSHA has penalized metal fabricators. Other safety risks include fire hazards, unsafe working surfaces, and hazard communication.
Why Metal Fabricators Focus on Workplace Safety?
In just the previous year, companies spent millions because they violated OSHA safety regulations and had to pay penalties. This cost is in addition to the expense of compensation and lost productivity for injured workers. Of course, no company wants to pay penalties. Even more, they don’t want to have their employees injured. Companies that focus upon worker safety can save money, reduce turnover, and of course, enjoy a good reputation as a safe employer that cares about employee safety.