Trends in ... plant safety
‘Attention to detail’
Plant safety encompasses a wide variety of hazards, from slips, trips and falls and excessive noise to heavy machinery traffic and loading dock concerns. Here, safety experts discuss how plant workers can best stay safe.
A lot of progress has been made in plant safety in general, said Cameron Gilmore, a safety coordinator at Baton Rouge, LA-based Roco Rescue Inc., noting that advancements in fall protection technology have resulted in stronger, lighter and easy-to-use equipment.
Gilmore went on to discuss confined space issues. “In confined spaces, more technologically advanced atmospheric monitors now allow operators and entry supervisors to monitor hazards remotely and for multiple locations at the same time,” he said. “This enables operators and entry supervisors to check the conditions of confined spaces in real time without relying solely on hole watches (attendants) to communicate these readings.”
Gilmore also noted that hazards are being engineered out of the workplace altogether. “For example, many light poles can now be reached without the use of scaffolding and ladders.”
Motivate the workforce
To effectively gain workers’ attention, employers need to use innovative safety identification solutions, said Mauriah Lamia, content and social media manager for Brooksville, FL-based Accuform. She noted that safety identification solutions are “critical” when engaging and motivating employees to work safer. “For instance, when working in a plant using heavy equipment or machinery, the need to continually display and measure noise level in the workplace is essential,” she said. “With the advancement of signage, you can now digitally alert workers when to wear the [personal protective equipment] when the noise level is too high.”
Lamia added that tracking days without a lost-time incident on an electronic scoreboard is a highly effective way to motivate your workforce.
‘First line of defense’
Going home safely at the end of the work day needs to be everyone’s top priority, Gilmore said. “When it comes to ensuring personal safety, ‘attention to detail’ is a worker’s first line of defense,” he said, adding that it’s critical that workers don’t take shortcuts when someone’s life is on the line. “Something as seemingly small and insignificant as a bolt lying on grating at heights, if overlooked, can be kicked off and lead to an injury. As we like to stress, complacency kills!”
Compiled with the assistance of the International Safety Equipment Association
Coming next month:
- Cold protection
- Protective clothing