Staying Safe: What Metal Fabrication Shops Must Do To Keep Workers From Injury
You not only want to work with a metal fabricator who does good work at a good value, but you want to make sure that the workers at the company you choose are well protected from the dangers in the metal fabrication industry.
Most Dangerous Issues on the Shop Floor
There are three main areas where most injuries happen on the shop floor. Safety-conscious shops take steps to inspect and correct any problems in these areas:
- Machine guarding. Because many machines in the industry have moving parts that could hurt workers, it's important for all moving or cutting parts to have safeguards in place to protect against burning, cutting or crushing. All workers should be trained before using any machine.
- Material handling. Workers sometimes manage large items and have to move them safely. Training in how to use forklifts, trucks and cranes -- if they are in the workplace -- is essential. It's also important that workers know how to safely manage any chemicals or fluids used in the shop.
- Electrical hazards. Because so much of the equipment used runs on electricity, an incorrect hookup or improperly grounded wire can have deadly consequences. It's important for employees to be trained on how to prevent injuries and for professionally trained electricians to inspect all machines and setups on a regular basis.
Outfitting Employees With Protective Gear
Some of the most prevalent accidents in the metal fabricating industry can have a lesser impact if employees are wearing and using the correct safety equipment. Even when employees wear or use their own equipment, the shop is responsible for checking to make sure it is adequate for the job at hand. Here are some types of safety equipment in use:
- Respirators. Welders may need protection from fumes produced during the welding process; other employees may encounter dust from cutting and sandblasting metal.
- Eye protection. Because there is always a risk of small metal particles flying through the air, eye and even whole-face protection is a must. Some chemicals in use in a metal shop also require the use of eye and face protection.
- Hand protection. Temperatures can reach extremely high levels in the shop, and there are several types of gloves in use in the average metal shop. Welders need special gloves, and workers who handle hot pieces of metal and metal surfaces also wear heat-resistant gloves.
- Head protection. Workers who are moving and working with heavy pieces of metal need to have helmets or hard hats that will withstand a blow to the head.
- Foot protection. Feet need to be sheltered from heavy and sharp materials and should be able to protect against an electrical shock.
Plans for how to handle various types of emergencies as well as training for all employees in management of common hazards can increase safety for all.
In addition, all shops must have material safety data sheets for each chemical in use. These outline how to treat exposure to the chemical.
For more information about metal fabrication, contact Sheridan Metal Products Ltd steel welding or a similar company.