If you spend your days working in a fabrication or assembly plant, you put your safety on the line during every shift you work. Employers do not always recognize that employee safety plays a crucial role in maintaining maximum production levels. The failure to prioritize worker safety in manufacturing operations will impact the bottom line in many ways.
During your work shifts, you will likely operate production machines, carry out quality control inspections, pull products and move them to the loading dock for shipping elsewhere. Every one of those tasks will pose injury risks, which makes participation in safety training sessions essential.
Typical hazards in the production industry
If you end up in a hospital, chances are you fell victim to one of the following dangers:
- Hazardous materials: In a production facility, dangerous materials could include oxidizers, corrosives, flammable chemicals, carcinogens and chemicals that cause damage to the skin, mucous membranes, lungs and eyes. It can enter your body by the inhalation of fumes, splashing into your eye or onto your skin, or ingestion if you touch your mouth with contaminated hands.
- Machine hazards: Without established safety protocols, you can suffer cuts, lacerations and puncture wounds, and crush injuries or severed limbs if you make contact with working machine parts. Gears and sprockets without safeguards can cause amputation injuries or even death if you should trip and fall over hoses or cables on the floor.
- Electrical hazards: Instead of doing electrical jobs if you are not a qualified electrician, report faulty wiring, loose connections, overloaded circuits and other safety hazards. Potential electrical accidents include shock, burn injuries, cardiac arrest and even death.
- Manual material handling: If you do not use proper lifting techniques, moving, lifting, carrying and placing objects can cause low back pain and other musculoskeletal disorders that could have long-term health consequences.
- Mechanical material handling: If you work on or near forklifts or cranes, you can suffer head injuries, crush injuries, fractured bones and other accidents. The hazards include dropped cargo or the vehicles tipping over, and you can also fall from the machine if you are the operator.
- Fire risks: Production facilities have areas where equipment and tools produce flames and heat that increase fire risks. Sprinkler systems, smoke detectors, fire extinguishers, easy access to fire exits, adequate safety training, and frequent testing of safety systems and procedures are crucial.
- Vision hazards: You will risk damage to your eyes whenever you work with chemicals or in areas where machines produce wood chips, sawdust, metal fragments, or other dust or airborne particles. Always wear protective glasses or goggles for protection against eye injuries caused by foreign objects.
- Hearing Safety: Excessive noise exposure is par for the course in manufacturing plants, and wearing earmuffs or earplugs is crucial. You might not realize that you are suffering a gradual hearing loss that can put your life on the line if you cannot hear instruction, warnings or approaching dangers.
- Repetitive stress injuries: If you work on an assembly line, your job might have you performing the same repetitive motions for hours on end. If you do not take frequent breaks, you could develop repetitive stress injuries like carpal tunnel syndrome, trigger finger or bursitis.
While not all these hazards are life-threatening, they can cause temporary disabilities that might affect your ability to care for your family. Fortunately, the Pennsylvania workers’ compensation system has your back. An attorney who has experience in helping injured workers to obtain the benefits to which they are entitled under applicable laws can provide the necessary support and guidance.