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Metal fabrication shops can be hazardous environments, exposing employees to harmful particulate matter and requiring them to use dangerous machinery. But despite the threat to one’s well-being, there are ways to keep your metalworking shop safe and spare your workers from unnecessary injury or illness. Be aware of the tools and processes your shop uses so you can make the most effective changes to protect your staff.
Always Have PPE Ready
Before anyone gets to work in the shop, they need to wear the proper PPE to protect themselves from injury. These safety precautions come in several different forms for a variety of applications, whether to protect the hands, eyes, lungs, or skin. Some of the most important PPE includes:
- Face shields
- Safety goggles
- Welding gloves
Not every piece of safety equipment is ideal for every situation; your employees need to be aware of the equipment that will be most beneficial to them on any given job. Provide them with the necessary PPE when the time comes, and ensure they apply the protective wear appropriately.
Eliminate Particulate Matter
One of the biggest threats metalworkers encounter is airborne particles—small material that can infiltrate the lungs and cause long-term respiratory issues. The use of respirators can mitigate the inhalation of small particles, but you need to apply other methods to guarantee no employee becomes sick.
There are many reasons shops need fume extractors, but the most significant is that they provide a safe environment for staff. With the ability to vacuum out particulate matter and other debris, fume extractors are a necessary part of a metal shop to ensure the continued health of workers.
Implementing safety equipment and protocols won’t be effective unless you train staff members to utilize safety resources properly. Not everyone comes into the job with the same understanding or level of knowledge; never assume that people know safety procedures. You need to take the time to educate both new hires and experienced workers about their safety expectations.
Keep them updated with any changes to policy and clearly post up any new changes and expectations so they can quickly reference them. It’s not enough to provide safety equipment; you need to standardize training to ensure everyone knows how to protect themselves.
Foster a Safe Environment
All your efforts to implement ways to make your metal shop safer will improve the work environment. You’ll create a company culture of safety and accountability that will ensure workers look out for themselves and others. With the right tools and training, employees will know how to protect themselves and can aid in correcting unsafe behavior among other staff members.