All workplaces, no matter what industry or business, use machinery. You can find heavy machinery in many workplaces because it helps complete complicated tasks quickly and reduces the need for manual labor. Heavy machinery can be dangerous when it is not appropriately handled. Improper use or lack of training can lead to injuries, accidents, and in worst-case scenarios, death. This blog will provide 7 machine safety tips to prevent workplace injuries while operating heavy machinery.
1. Don’t Remove Machine Guards
Machine guards are devices that help protect the machinery operator from accidents. Machine guards prevent sparks and debris from flying out of the equipment. The barriers are also there to protect workers from sharp edges, cutting tools, and moving parts. Never remove machine guards while the machine is being used. You should only remove the guards when the machine is shut down for repairs or maintenance. Accidents often occur when workers bypass the guards and barriers to try and dislodge a jam. Provide strict instructions to all employees not to bypass machine guards at any cost.
2. Wear Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) At All Times
Common PPE includes but is not limited to closed-toe shoes, safety goggles, hard hats, gloves, and overalls. Goggles are necessary while operating machinery to prevent debris from reaching the eyes. When choosing gloves, choose ones that fit well – not too loose or tight. If your employees work with sharp tools and pointed edges, they need cut-resistant gloves.
Additionally, workers must wear proper footwear while operating machinery. Slip-resistant soles help to prevent slips and falls in wet or slippery conditions. Face shields and breathing masks should be used wherever needed. When choosing PPE for workers, ensure that the PPE you choose is job specific and customized to the nature of the job.
3. Provide Adequate Training to Machinery Operators
All workers must be given adequate training before they start operating heavy machinery. Only by providing employees with the right training can they get equipped to handle the machinery correctly because each piece has its own safety techniques and features. At the end of the training, the person conducting the training must assess the worker’s skills and make the right recommendations based on how they handle operating the machinery.
4. Always Be Aware of Your Surroundings
A crucial aspect of safety is being aware of one’s surroundings. Training should include becoming aware of your immediate surroundings while operating heavy machinery. Workers should not operate heavy machinery while taking prescription drugs, alcohol, or other substances, because they cause delays in reaction times and interfere with clarity. Provide workers with the practices to avoid getting distracted while operating heavy machinery. Talking to other employees, answering the phone, or eating, should not be done while operating heavy machinery.
Here are a few pointers to help employees be aware of their surroundings while using heavy machinery:
- Forklift paths must be marked with bright tape, and other workers should avoid walking through these paths.
- Avoid using headphones in the workplace as it interferes with hearing warning signs and your fellow workers while operating heavy machinery.
- Horseplay, fun, and pranks are a big no in the workplace.
5. Follow Maintenance Schedules
Routine maintenance for machinery at the workplace needs to have a set schedule. Once you’ve established a schedule, make sure to follow it. Never skip routine maintenance (even if nothing seems wrong) to keep the machinery running at its best. Skipping servicing can cause problems like broken gears, overheating, sudden belt jams, and many more.
6. Avoid Loading and Unloading Zones
Machines can be highly unpredictable. A machine could malfunction and drop something heavy, and you could get injured if you are in the machine’s path. Even if everything seems under control, it takes just a few seconds for machinery to trip up. The best practice is to steer clear of machine loading and unloading zones. Instruct employees on foot to avoid the paths of forklifts and other heavy machinery.
7. Never Interfere with Moving Machinery
This is probably the most important tip on this list, and it needs to be repeated to your employees often. All employees should steer clear of heavy machinery while it is being used. Heavy machinery requires focus and precision, and other employees should not enter the zone to avoid distracting the person operating it. Stay clear of all moving parts. Touching a moving part is one of the leading causes of injuries and accidents in the workplace.
If you are interested in knowing more about preventing common workplace injuries, Extreme Safety is here to assist. Call us at (310) 856-0166 or visit our website to speak with our safety experts today! We provide high-quality safety equipment and resources to ensure your workplace is safe for you and your employees.