Hazards that can result in a slip, trip, or fall are numerous. A spill, leaking machinery, or even housekeeping can result in serious slips and falls in the workplace. OSHA recommends (change hyperlink) that manufacturing facilities use signage to point out wet floors or common wet floor areas, and permanent aisles and passageways. Waterproof footwear with good traction and drainage matting or false floors can also prevent workers from slipping on wet floors. Anti-slip coatings and waxes can also be used on surfaces where the risk of falling is greater. Provide sufficient lighting, handrails where necessary, and repair uneven surfaces for added safety. Reducing floor clutter is crucial to preventing workplace falls. Aisles and any other work areas should be kept clean and clear for safely moving around.
According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), thousands of burn injuries are reported each year and they're not always caused by an open flame. Nearly 9 in 10 burn injuries occur without an active flame. In manufacturing, the causes can be from coming into contact with a hot object or being scalded by hot liquids, steam, or vapors. Radiation burns such as sunburns, flash burns, or bright light injuries associated with welding are also a risk in manufacturing settings. To protect workers, provide the right personal protection equipment. Fire-retardant and fire-resistant clothing, gloves, and head and face protection can significantly reduce the risk of a burn. Safety eyewear can prevent vision damage related to burns and bright lights.
In manufacturing, fatigue can be hazardous. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), millions of Americans have irregular work schedules, putting them at a higher risk for safety and health issues. That includes people working long shifts or unusually late and or early hours. NIOSH recommends understanding the risks and signs of fatigue in the workplace. The agency lists guidelines designed to help employers and workers reduce the risks of fatigue while maintaining productivity.
Manufacturing tasks are largely about routine. Over time, the repetitiveness can result in muscle, tendon, and nerve injuries to workers. OSHA says that repetitive motion is a risk factor for musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs). Disorders can include tendinitis, shoulder or back injuries, carpal tunnel syndrome, and muscle strains. These disorders, cause pain, discomfort, and disability that can lead to lost time from work. OSHA recommends starting a protective ergonomic program and involving workers in the creation and implementation process.
Knowledge is key for preventable workplace injuries. Both employees and managers should be familiar with the risks and know how to access the right resources to lower risks before they become problems. With the right precautions, you can protect your employees' safety, reduce costs, and maintain productivity.
About the Author
Stefan Trask is a Web Content Editor at Northern Safety. Stefan earned his bachelors degree in graphic design with a minor in journalism from RIT.
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