All workplaces, irrespective of the industry or nature of the business, use machinery. Heavy machinery is a boon at the workplace. It helps to complete complicated tasks promptly and reduces dependence on manual labour.
With that said, heavy machinery is indeed dangerous, when not handled properly. Improper use or lack of training could lead to great harm, especially when you don’t know how to use it properly. It could lead to injuries, accidents and even fatal accidents like death.
Here, in this week’s post, we give you some machine safety tips to reduce injuries and accidents at the workplace while operating heavy machinery.
Don’t Remove Machine Guards
Machine guards are available in different types. Simply put, these are devices that help to protect the machinery operator from accidents. Machine guards prevent sparks and other debris flying out from the equipment. The barriers also protect a worker from coming in contact with sharp edges, cutting tools or moving parts.
Ensure that machinery operators never remove machine guards while the machine is in operation. The only times when the guards can be removed are while the machinery is shut down for repairs or maintenance.
Remember that machinery service must be done only by authorized personnel. If workers notice any faults or repairs in the machines or the guards, they must bring it to the notice of their supervisors immediately. Machinery should not be operated until the guards are replaced or repaired.
Very often, accidents occur when a worker bypasses the guards and barriers of the machine. Another fatal mistake workers make is bypassing the guards and try to dislodge a jam in the machinery. Provide strict instructions to all employees not to bypass machine guards at any cost.
Wear Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) at all Times
Even if machines come with guards, workers have to use personal safety equipment while operating heavy machinery. Some of the common PPE includes closed-toe shoes, safety goggles, hard hats, gloves, overalls and more.
Full wrap goggles are a must while operating machinery as it prevents debris from reaching the eyes. When choosing gloves look for ones that fit well – without being too loose or too tight. Loose gloves run the risk of getting caught in equipment.
Workers who work with sharp tools and pointed edges must opt for cut-resistant gloves. However, remember that cut-resistant gloves just reduce the chances of injury, but don’t prevent it completely.
Additionally, workers must wear proper footwear while operating machinery. Proper footwear is essential to protect feet of workers from accidentally dropped or falling objects. Slip-resistant soles help to prevent slips and falls, in wet or slippery conditions.
Apart from this, face shields, breathing masks must be used wherever needed. While choosing PPE for workers, ensure that the PPE you choose is job specific and is customized based on the nature of the job.
Provide Adequate Training to Machinery Operators
This cannot be emphasized enough. All workers must be provided with adequate training before they start operating heavy machinery. Different machinery has varying safety techniques and features. Only by providing employees with the right training, they get equipped to handle machinery the right way.
Ensure that no employee operates machinery without receiving the right training. At the end of the training period, the person conducting the training must assess the worker’s skills and make the right recommendations based on the skills of the worker.
Train Machinery Operators to be Aware of their Surroundings
A crucial aspect of safety is to be aware of one’s surroundings. Workers must be trained to be aware of their immediate surroundings while operating heavy machinery. Additionally, workers must be instructed not to operate heavy machinery while taking prescription drugs, alcohol or other substances, as these cause delays in reaction times and interfere with clarity, leading to fatal accidents.
Employees must be trained not to get distracted while operating heavy machinery. Talking to other employees, answering the phone, eating or playing pranks are a big No-No while operating heavy machinery.
Here are a few points to help Employees be Aware of their Surroundings while using Heavy Machinery:
- Forklift paths must be marked with bright tape and workers must get into the habit of avoiding these paths while walking through the factory floor.
- Avoid using headphones in the workplace as it interferes with the ability to hear warning signs while operating heavy machinery.
- Horseplay, fun, and pranks are a big no in the workplace.
Follow Maintenance Schedules
Machinery at the workplace has maintenance schedules for a reason. Ensure that you follow the maintenance schedule and don’t skip routine maintenance (even if nothing seems wrong), to keep machinery running at its optimal levels.
Skipping servicing can cause various problems like – broken gears, overheating due to lack of lubrication, sudden belt jams and more.
Stay Clear of Loading and Unloading Zones
Machines are highly unpredictable. Even if it feels like everything is under control, all it takes is just a few seconds, for machinery to go berserk. The best practice is to stay clear of machine loading and unloading zones. Instruct employees on foot to stay clear of the path of forklifts and other heavy machinery.
Who knows the machine could malfunction and drop something heavy, and you could get injured if you happen to be in the machine’s path.
Finally, Never Interfere with Moving Machinery
This is one instruction that needs to be repeated again and again. Ensure that your employees stay clear of heavy machinery, while it’s in operation. Operating heavy machinery requires focus and precision. This means other employees should not enter the zone so that they don’t distract the person operating it.
Instruct all employees to stay clear of moving parts. Touching a moving part is one of the main reasons for injuries and accidents in the workplace. It’s easy to get a limb caught, leading to serious injuries or even fatalities.
Interested in knowing more about preventing common workplace injuries? Call us at +91-0124-266-3021 to speak with a Totalika Safety Expert today or check out our blog posts on workplace safety.