Promote a Safe Working Environment
Workplace safety should be on top of every employer’s priority list. Especially if you are a machine shop dealing with metal fabrication and machined parts. In order to maintain a healthy workplace standard, Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has put forth a set of safety standards, which every organization needs to comply. Failing to do so, the shop can be accountable to a lot of papers and a heavy fine of course!
Just a bit of precaution (and regular inspection) can save your company from losing a significant amount of cash, reputation, and a valuable resource as well. In fact, companies have reported that conducting such inspections and training sessions have actually helped improve production operations, substantially increase efficiency and effectiveness of the resources.
For improved workplace safety, give attention to smaller things. Things that are often ignored, but they can lead to disasters. Like emergency exists.
Machining design need not give vocal directions every day, like flight attendants announcing the emergency exits every time. But make sure every new member who joins the team should be well aware of the number of emergency exits and where they are located. Putting up neon signs should help too. This small practice would eventually help in case of emergencies.
Focus on Employee Training
Machining industry is on a rise and this has lead to cut-throat competition amongst all the shops and metal service providers. Everyone is giving the best to stay at the top of the food chain. But, in order to get the fullest out of their hired resources, employers are now neglecting the most important step that actually helps heaps- Training.
Every employee should receive proper training and certification, before actively becoming a part of the metal fabrication process. This step need not be super-long, a crash-course of three to six months is enough for an apprentice level, but it is enough to make sure that your employee is knowledgeable enough to perform quality work without getting injured in the process.
There is another safety training process which should be positively included in a workplace- fire response training. Only, this should not be a singular practice. Every 2-3 months conduct basic fire emergency drills for all your employees. Such drills can be sudden, which will help ensure that your employees are ready for any fire emergencies. Also, make sure ALL your fire extinguishers are in a working condition.
Regular Facility Inspection to Ensure Operational Unit Safety
A regular and systematic facility inspection is the best way to get the most out every resource- human or machine. A ‘checklist-proper’ inspection involves meticulously going through the work process, warehousing conditions, tools and machinery, material handling, and storage, and ‘debugging’ every faulty area - tool, equipment or machinery. This also helps us know which operational areas are still lagging in following procedural and safety measures, and which ones require urgent maintenance.
Apart from tools and machines, the regular inspection should also include areas such as suspension bridges, swing, lift, girders, stairs, trusses, overhead signs, cantilever and regular use structures like that.
Tool testing should be made a common practice before starting out with any project. The faulty, malfunctioning and ineffective tools should be replaced with sharper, better ones as quickly as possible. This regular checking and replacement are pretty much crucial for metal fabricators, who use hand-operated tools excessively, like a welder, or simple shears.
Medical and First Aid - OSHA Standards
Now, not every machine shop can afford on-the-clock medical experts. But every single of them can afford first-aid boxes that are set up using OSHA standards.
Being equipped with A-class first-aid supplies and personnel who are trained in using them professionally comes in pretty handy in case of any medical emergency. Have the required numbers placed at previously informed places and keep them updated.
This is a very well written and much needed article. I hope everyone will heed it's importance!