Steel Advice - The Fabricator's Resource
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Shop Talk with Steve
Having a safety program in the shop goes beyond having the worker wear hard hats, steel toed boots, safety glasses, and ear plugs. Creating a safety environment may be difficult at first, but once you get one started you will find that the topics regarding safety are numerous and far reaching.
A safety environment is built into written procedures for handling materials and equipment. Preventing accidents is achieved by creating a safe process for work flow, and teaching the workers to watch out for each other. Keeping people from getting hurt on the job should be first and foremost in the daily work activities.
Watch your people over the course of 30 days and take notes on the process by which they do their work. Is the forklift driver cautious about people on the ground who are busy with other tasks? Does the person running the overhead crane know where other workers are with respect to the target path for those materials being moved? Do these material handlers know the capacity of the equipment they are using? Is the material being handled adequately with regard to the size, weight and length of the parts? Are workers mindful of one another in their workspace? Is the equipment the workers are using being handled properly?
Watch for things like bad extension cords, equipment in poor condition, dull blades, messy work areas and poorly staged materials. Keep all walk areas clear. Keep all work areas tidy. Don't let garbage or waste material pile up. Arrange for CPR training if there is not a program in your shop for this already. Annual hearing tests are suggested as well. Check the laws with Labor and Industries in your area for these requirements to make sure your company is in compliance.
An accident at work, once happened cannot be undone. All incidents have to be reported to Labor and Industries, and stays on the company record for three years. Every person within the company will feel the impact. Lost time for the worker, readjustment of crew, lost time in the production schedule, extra paperwork for the office and increased insurance rates are among the after affects. However incidental the accident, one of your own is injured, and on your watch! Do what you can to keep your people safe and train others to do the same!
Safety meetings should be scheduled at a minimum of once a month. Keep a binder of the meeting topics, including the date and the signature of each employee present. Should there ever be an accident, this record will show the historical participation of your safety program.
When discussing safety infractions, be sure not to mention names. The last thing you want to do is to intimidate others.
Select individuals on a rotating basis to choose topics at random for these meetings. This will help to keep the information both fresh and personal.
Schedule outside vendors to come in and discuss safety equipment use, forklift safety or crane safety - many vendors do this service for their customers at no charge.
Create a reward based system for safety goals. Some examples of safety incentive goals are the following:
30 days with no injuries and the company provides the workers with a free gift or tool. 90 days with no injuries, and the company will buy lunch. The best safety slogan of the month or quarter gets an employee the day off.
Knowledge is understanding that a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting them in a fruit salad.....
You can never make the same mistake twice. The second time, it is not a mistake, it is a choice.