Facility Safety

Trends in ... facility safety

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What do employers and workers need to know about facility safety? For Michael Riccio, global marketing manager for IRISS, a manufacturer of electrical maintenance safety devices and reliability technologies, “Both sides of the equation need to better understand that safety is everyone’s responsibility.

“Talking with each side has yielded the feedback that each thinks the other should be more responsible for safety, but both know they have some role to play.”

He added: “If the equipment and processes were set up to make it harder for hazardous behaviors to occur, then safe behaviors become the only option. Additionally, a clear designation of responsibilities for workers and employers should be clearly stated in the facility’s safety plan. Once that is in place, you have a de facto full-facility safety team.”

He believes technology plays a role.

“There are numerous remote monitoring and visual/thermographic/ultrasound inspection products on the market that allow a single person to inspect equipment running under full load in a closed and guarded state. Not only do they protect the workers and the equipment, but they also expedite the inspection process time/frequency to lower overall operational costs.”

Doan Pendleton, president of industrial vacuum systems manufacturer Vac-U-Max, had this to add about technology: “Sometimes it’s not necessarily innovation in technology so much as it is the innovation of how facilities use these systems to protect workers. One such example of this is the growing use of industrial vacuum cleaners to eliminate the need for workers to enter confined spaces, such as elevators pits, to clean them. The caveat is that technology designed to protect workers must be easy to use and not present any new safety hazards while mitigating others. For workers, understanding that equipment designed to eliminate manual tasks is not to work them out of a job, but to preserve their health and quality of life.”

On the employer side, Riccio said that “when workers see the employers investing in safety devices, they are more trusting and engaged as a whole-facility safety team. Additionally, the workers then accept responsibility on their part to manage the use of these devices during their daily tasks and the safety program becomes operator driven.”

Compiled with the assistance of the International Safety Equipment Association

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