There are many potential dangers to workers in an industrial environment, this is why it is vital that employers and staff do all they can to ensure workplace safety. Managers' health and safety duties will often include activities such as training employees in health and safety procedures, carrying out regular safety inspections and identifying hazards and eliminating them.
When injuries do occur, they are frequently connected to issues such as ergonomics or improper lifting. The most common areas of the body injured in industrial accidents are the spine, hands, head, lungs, eyes, skeleton and skin. Here are five of the most common dangers of working in an industrial environment.
Ergonomics is the science of designing equipment and workplace layouts to fit the worker and prevent unnecessary injuries. It is intended to improve both health and productivity and is an important requirement in the design of manually operated equipment and machinery. Inadequate ergonomic planning can lead to a number of work-related musculoskeletal diseases such as repetitive strain injuries and cumulative trauma disorders, and these can lead to permanent disabilities if not properly addressed. Identifying potential risks and implementing health and safety procedures relating to ergonomic issues are therefore important steps for employers to take.
Lifting heavy objects in the wrong way is a very common reason for industrial injuries to the back. However, there are some simple techniques which will drastically reduce the likelihood of being injured while lifting, and employees need to be trained in these. For example, bending the knees instead of the back, and moving as close as possible to the object before lifting, are both important measures to take to prevent back injury. While lifting, the back should then stay straight and the legs and arms should do all the work. Picking up objects slowly and carefully, and avoiding twisting while lifting, are also important safety measures which should be included in training.
Faulty equipment is a common cause of injury, so all equipment must be tested regularly by employers or managers to ensure everything is working correctly. If an injury occurs because of faulty equipment, the employer is considered negligent, even though the fault may have been in the equipment at purchase. Regular safety checks on machinery and other tools are vital.
Other hazards such as any chemicals used in a factory or any other dangerous substances can cause injury and employees must be trained in using these safely. For example, employees working in an industrial setting where lead is used may be in danger of lead poisoning if proper safety procedures are not in place.
5. Clothes or Hair Tangled in Machinery
It is a horrifying thought, but in fact it is fairly common for industrial injuries to occur as a result of stray items of clothing, jewellery or hair becoming tangled up in machinery. Safety procedures and training must therefore be in place so that employees are aware of the risks and maintain a strictly monitored dress code appropriate for their working environment.