You can readily prevent these hazards by applying these safety rules and procedures to your own work area.
Potential hazards include:
- Tripping and falling hazards are anything on the floor that doesn’t belong there: machines, tools, cords, air hoses, scraps, boxes, etc. You can protect yourself and others from tripping and falling hazards by not keeping anything – even temporarily – on the floor.
- Impact and contact hazards – that is, objects that can hit you or that you can bump into – are common problems. Open drawers and tools left perched precariously on a table are typical examples. Contact hazards can be prevented by putting things away properly and where they belong.
- Puncture and splinter hazards exist when sharp-edged or pointed tools are left exposed. Don’t leave sharp or pointed objects lying around where someone could be injured by them. If you risk touching a rough edge with splinters, either cover it or sand it off.
- Electrical hazards include extension cords, cords left near heat or water, overloaded circuits – anything that could cause a fire or shock. To avoid these hazards, don’t overload circuits, be sure you are using the right plug in the right outlet, make sure wiring insulation is intact, don’t use extension cords if possible, and never leave a cord near heat or water.
- Be alert to open containers of flammable liquids, scrap or flammable liquids near ignition sources, dust or lint on machinery, and materials that block access to fire exits or equipment.
You accomplish another part of fire safety when you eliminate tripping and falling hazards. If there is a fire, the aisles and passageways must be clear so workers can get out and firefighters can get in. Also keep in mind when you stack materials, don’t pile them so high they interfere with the sprinklers.
The following are some housekeeping tips to keep in mind:
- Don’t let grease or dirt build up; they’re not only fire hazards, but are also bad for the equipment.
- Keep food, drinks, and cigarettes out of the work area. They can be contaminated by chemicals, attract bugs, and add to the clutter.
- Keep cords, wires, and ropes untangled. Getting knotted up is bad for them and can be difficult to undo.
- Make sure all containers and materials are labeled. If you don’t know what something is, find out.
- Dust or wipe lights occasionally. Dirty light bulbs don’t give off much light (and waste energy). They can also build up heat and may even become a fire hazard.
- Report holes, loose boards, and other flooring problems so they can be fixed before someone trips and gets hurt.
- Throw away trash promptly and properly. Be sure that hazardous trash goes in proper containers, incompatible trash in its containers, etc. Trash should also be emptied frequently.
- Don’t pile up scraps of odds and ends that you think might come in handy someday. If you really can use them, choose and label a shelf or drawer and keep them there.
It’s not hard to keep your work area clean, uncluttered, and safe, and it makes for much more pleasant and productive working conditions.