Written by Brenda Lovitz, Safety Manager | Park Industries®
SAFETY First. SAFETY Always.
As an owner of a stone or metal fabrication business, what is one of the most dreaded phone calls to get from the shop? Someone got hurt. Injuries can be costly, they can affect employee morale and contribute to downtime. While it may be impossible to prevent every single injury, you can lower your chances of a serious injury and improve safety by taking time to think about your environment, and instill some best practices.
As an employer, it’s your responsibility to protect your employees and provide a safe workplace. Use these nine tips to get started, and partner with Park Industries® to help make your workplace safe, successful and productive. Also check out specific safety tips directly from fabricators or submit your own below!
1. Offer training
Just like we were taught how to drive a car safely, your employees require training to run the equipment in your Shop safely. Share your expectations for safety early and often and check out the safety training required by the Occupational Safety and Health act at: www.osha.gov
2. Issue personal protective equipment (PPE)
Personal Protective Equipment or PPE reduces the risk of injury or harm to your employees. Safety eyewear offers protection from splashes and dust and safety shoes and steel toe boots offers protection from falling objects. Walk through your shop and find the areas where Personal Protective Equipment will make a difference. Use hard hats when operating cranes, gloves because stone and metal can be sharp or hot.
3. Encourage cleanliness
Cleanliness in your shop keeps the workplace organized, uncluttered, and hazard- free. Clearly identifying and labeling the different areas of the shop is an excellent practice. Walkways and areas to avoid should be easily visible and understood, even to a visitor. Good housekeeping not only improves employee safety, but also their health and productivity. Improvements in employee health and productivity, in turn, lead to lower operating costs thereby benefiting you and the people working for you.
4. Broadcast the safety message
Post signs around the Shop that remind employees of the risks inherent to the workplace and what they should be doing to comply with safety regulations. Catch their attention and post in well traveled areas like break rooms and washrooms.
5. Walk the talk
If you are talking about safety and sharing expectations for your employees to work safe, make sure you are working safe. When you are visiting the shop to talk about a new project, or upcoming work, make sure to include a safety message. Something like, “I know we’re really busy out there, but nothing is more important than your safety.”
6. Identify hazards before an accident
This one is an easy one. If you see cords in walkways and other materials that can trip people, pick them up. If you see something that can fall or cause issues, take action or tell your shop manager.
7. Handle materials safely
Lifting heavy items is one of the leading causes of injury in the workplace. Use mechanical lifting devices and encourage your employees to team lift heavy awkward loads.
8. Use the right tools and inspect equipment
The right tools and equipment create a better product and a safer work environment. It’s also important that all equipment is cleaned, serviced, and inspected regularly. Stone and metal fabrication machinery is serious, industrial equipment that should be operated with a safety first mindset. Make sure to follow machine manuals for best safety practices and contact your equipment manufacturer should you ever have a question or concern.
9. Have regular meetings on workplace safety
Pull your Team together to talk about safety. Hold regular meetings to review safety policies and encourage sharing best practice safety ideas.
TIPS Directly from Stone Fabricators
Safety tips provided directly by Park Industries® customers and fabricators.
If you are unloading crate bundles of slabs from a container, always rig them completely around before you open the top up.
Be extremely careful moving material in inclement weather – rain can cause suction and windy days are dangerous. Know to be at least a full arms length away when using a boom and always watch fingers and toes!
Always communicate with the people who are helping you move pieces or slabs. Be loud and clear and always make sure that everyone is on the same page.
Use that horn
Follow all the rules they teach you about the forklift safety. The horn should be your best friend, especially when going in and out of the shop!
Let it go
If the material falls NEVER try to catch it. The material, no matter how expensive can be replaced, unlike you.
Submit a sAFETY TIP!
Have a great tip for shop safety that we missed? Let us know below and we will add it to the article.