While working on-site at a OSB mill last week, I thought about the inherent challenges of working in a busy industrial environment. There are potentially lethal hazards, production that you might be obstructing, or pedestrians that you may pose a hazard to during repairs. High traffic areas and high risk environments demand a high level of awareness if we plan on going home to our families at night.
Most companies are implementing some safety policies, with varying results. While many are thought out properly and work well, a large number of companies seem to be just interested in “ticking the box” to keep safety regulators off their backs. True safety starts when it is ingrained in the company culture, and common sense is valued above mere regulations.
The real truth however, is that we are responsible for ourselves. We can’t blame a company policy for an injury if we are not using our heads at work. For example, most workplaces require safety glasses while doing certain kinds of work. I often see this ignored, and be honest, who likes to wear them? But last week when a hose lost pressure via a loose fitting and gave me an oil bath, I was glad to be wearing them! By the way, there are some good options now, ranging from simple and comfortable to glasses for the Alpha Male.
So how do you keep up productivity, meet deadlines and expectations, and still stay out of the first aid room?
There are a few considerations that a technician needs to make when in these environments.
- Assessment. Eyes open! This alone would eliminate most workplace injuries. The tragic truth is that most accidents are completely avoidable, and awareness is the difference-maker. When you get to the site, take 1 minute to look around for risks. You’ll be amazed at what you didn’t notice before!
- The “No” word. Yeah, I know, its not allowed in our society anymore. But “no” is the right answer when somebody wants you to work in an unsafe place or manner.You may get pushback, and there is no need to be rude about it, but find a safer way to meet the need.
- When working in a busy/high traffic area, make sure you are VERY VISIBLE. I use safety cones around the work area. Yes it may seem geeky sometimes, but so is laying in a coffin. Your choice.
- If there is pedestrian traffic, keep them safe as well. Be mindful of where you set up. Use cones if the mast is raised.
- ALWAYS lock out if you could be injured by accidental operation.
Essential Safety Gear for Service Vehicles:
- Safety Glasses
- Hard Hat
- Safety Cones and Tape
- First Aid Kit
- Task-Specific Items (face shield and apron for battery work, fall protection, welding mask, etc)
Join the conversation. What hazards do you face on your jobsite? How does your company handle risks? What type of safety equipment would you add to the Safety Gear Checklist? Tell us in the comment box below.
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