This might seem like a broad question, but it’s one that companies often have to answer under pressure. It makes sense to ask these questions before something bad happens, not after, and to take proactive measures to make sure workers are safe. Here are some of the things that you can ask in everyday or “business as usual” situation to make sure that everyone stays safe on the job.
Is Equipment Serviceable?
One area of machine or equipment danger happens when machines get worn down or start to malfunction. Look at whether or not mechanical, hydraulic or pneumatic aspects of the machine are controlled and reserved to a particular range of motion, and whether guards and other protective settings are in place and working well. Without this kind of observation, machines and equipment can get to the place where they start to operate outside of their regular range of motion. Or, guards and fasteners come loose. Some of these types of wear can be incredibly dangerous. Companies need specific skilled and knowledgable people to inspect machines, equipment and systems on a regular basis.
Is There a Lockout/Tagout Plan?
A process called lockout/tagout protects workers by providing a consistent plan for maintaining and servicing equipment, or for marking equipment that should not be used. Applying lockout/tagout labels and using lockout/tagout training greatly reduces the chances of work injury, and it’s a vital part of machine and equipment safety for any company. It’s also part of U.S. OSHA regulations as that office looks at how companies take responsibility for the safety of their workers.
Do Workers Have Appropriate Training?
Workers need training to understand companies lockout/tagout system. They also need training on the rules and regulations for use of equipment, for example, rules of use for minors, or rules of use for special situations. They need to be able to understand how to follow workplace precautions and to use personal protective equipment correctly. In general, companies have to look at not only specific training, but a worker’s general understanding of rules, and of the English language or other languages used to communicate safeguards and precautions or machinery instructions. Just posting a notice somewhere is not enough – companies should do specific research to understand whether individual equipment operators are up to the job.
Is There Unusual Pressure?
A “hurry up and finish” attitude in the workplace can result in tragic injuries or fatalities. It’s important for companies to recognize they need to prevent workers from cutting corners due to excessive pressure on the job. This, again, requires comprehensive and strategic planning for any kind of physical operations.
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