Machinery in the workplace can be of massive benefit when used both correctly and safely. Heavy machinery can easily complete several different tasks in a timely and efficient manner, but it can also be capable of causing significant harm and injury if used incorrectly or by somebody who isn’t qualified or trained to do so.
Every year, the misuse of heavy machinery in the workplace leads to a number of accidents that could have been prevented with the right safety and hazard management strategies. We’ve listed some important workplace safety tips to keep in mind when ensuring machine safety.
1. Use Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
Often, the use of personal protective equipment can be the difference between a minor and a major injury when working with machinery in the workplace. As a priority, ensure that all employees who are required to operate machinery as part of their job are issued with the correct PPE for the task. This could be protective gear such as hard hats, steel toe-capped boots, protective gloves and ear or eye protectors, or something as simple as hi-visibility gear to ensure that they are visible in an environment where potentially dangerous machinery is being operated or driven.
2. Use Proper Guarding on Machines
Machine guarding is extremely essential for workplace safety since it protects employees from main hazards such as rotating parts, sparks, and flying chips. Guards such as light curtains, barrier guards, and two-hand operating devices all protect your employees against injury and harm when working with heavy machinery.
Investing in the right machine safety equipment is essential before allowing any work to take place and may even be a requirement on your employer’s liability insurance coverage.
3. Never Operate Machinery that You are Not Trained to Use
It should be a key rule in your workplace that nobody is to ever operate machinery that they have not been previously trained and signed off to use. When you employ new hires, it’s essential to first make sure that they have completed all relevant training materials before you can allow them to work with the machinery that your company uses.
Operating machinery that they have not been trained for can be very unsafe and risky for employees, leading to mistakes and ‘guesswork’ decisions that would have been prevented had the right information been provided beforehand. It’s always better to invest in employee training first, no matter the cost.
4. Don’t Interfere with Operating or Moving Machinery
Another strict workplace rule is that one should never interfere with machinery that is moving or being operated. It’s crucial to avoid interfering with the machine, or the person operating it, whilst heavy machinery is on and operating.
Talking to or distracting workers who are using heavy machinery should be banned since working with this type of machine requires a certain amount of focus. It’s also important to bear in mind that machines can also be unpredictable and may not do exactly what you expect them to. So, stay well clear of machinery that is in use, particularly in loading and unloading zones.
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