When it comes to floor safety in the manufacturing world, the rules are quite simple. In a world where things are rarely black and white, safety for machining is one of those rare cases. It is black and white. There is a right way and a wrong way.
In this post, our experts here at Dake will provide you with 7 simple rules to follow on the shop floor to keep your workers safe and your operation running smoothly. Please keep in mind that all Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations and guidelines must be adhered to at all times.
1. Implement a Safety Plan and Training
While the OSHA regulations provide a solid jumping-off point for safety rules, you should always take the time to develop a customized safety plan for your particular shop. While most metalworking facilities follow a similar set of rules, every shop is different.
Perhaps your floor plan requires unique guidelines, or maybe your storage section has its own specific set of rules to follow. Whatever the case is, you should create a comprehensive safety plan and ensure that your entire team is aware of it.
We recommend creating safety checklists for your employees. This not only ensures that they have read the rules, but it also shows whether or not they are following those rules.
Safety training is essential to help prevent accidents on the floor. Machinery mishaps, fatigue, and even falls most often occur when employees have not been properly trained or are careless.
To ensure that everyone on your team is working safely, we recommend holding routine training programs that focus solely on the rules of the shop floor. Proper protocol pertaining to machine/material handling and job functions needs to be clear and concise.
The following safety training resources are some of our favorites:
- Instruction Manuals
2. Workplace Culture
Keeping your employees up-to-date on safety regulations is just the beginning. Cultivate the right workplace culture and mindset to keep everyone on track and motivated to follow the rules. Safety should be everyone’s top priority.
One way to do this would be to reward employees who follow the safety protocols the best. Another example would be to celebrate a safety milestone such as 30 days without an accident. Doing this will serve as motivation to the other workers to complete checklists and follow the shop floor safety rules.
3. Allow Frequent Breaks
We understand that metalworking is a business and that these parts won’t make themselves. However, fatigue is one of the leading causes of accidents on the shop floor. A simple lunch break is not enough to keep your employees fresh and attentive.
Metalworking can be quite tedious and monotonous. It can be easy to dose off while performing the same task for hours on end. Allow your employees to take small breaks throughout the day to break up the routine of the production process.
Another way to break the monotony is to implement a rotation schedule between various machines. This will allow your team members to switch up their daily tasks periodically instead of performing the same tasks all day long. Not only will workers be more engaged and active, but they will also be less likely to get injured or make mistakes.
4. Maintain Good Housekeeping
The risk of injury is greatly increased when the shop floor is a mess. Whether metalworking materials are out of place or the floor is wet, accidents can easily occur when good housekeeping is not kept up.
To maintain a clean and organized floor, do the following:
- Keep metal materials organized and stored in a separate area
- Keep the floor dry and clean at all times
- Install warning signs and mirrors where necessary
- Keep all fluids and flammable materials far away from any ignition sources
- Clearly mark fire exits and keep the paths to them clear
5. Maintain the Machines
Metalworking machines are built to last a very long time. However, they must be properly maintained to ensure that they are in good working order. For example, a poorly lubricated machine can lead to accidents and injuries.
To avoid any issues with your machines, always make sure that they are properly cleaned and oiled. If a part needs to be changed or repaired, mark the machine as out-of-service until the appropriate actions are taken.
6. Install Safeguards
While many metalworking machines have safeguards already installed, it’s important to make sure that every machine on your shop floor has the appropriate safeguards as well. Here’s a handy list of the most common safeguards for metalworking:
• Automatic guard – These move at a faster rate than the machine operation, and they are best suited for manually feeding materials into a machine.
• Fixed guard – Typically made of Plexiglass, this mechanical guard is permanently attached to the machine and prevents access to moving parts.
• Interlocking guard – Designed to prevent the machine from working if it is open, this guard can be electrical, mechanical, or pneumatic.
• Trip guard – This guard is typically a frame, curtain, or grid that stops the machine via a brake.
7. Safety Gear
The appropriate safety gear must always be worn on the shop floor. No exceptions. The following safety gear is recommended:
- A helmet with a face shield to protect from heat and debris.
- Non-slip work shoes/boots to prevent falls and protect the feet.
- Heavy-duty gloves to handle sharp or hot metal objects.
- An industrial jacket/coat to protect the skin from chemicals or heat.
- Headphones or earplugs to prevent damage to the ear.
- Anti-fog, scratch-resistant goggles to protect the eyes.
- A dust mask to prevent inhalation of dust particles due to drilling or grinding.
For more information on appropriate safety gear, please read our recent blog post on what to wear when working with metals.
Metalworking Machines at Dake
One way to keep your shop floor safe is to invest in the best metalworking machines to match your needs and budget. Here at Dake, we take great pride in our machines.
Many of them come with safeguards already in place, and all are designed to be stable, sturdy, and long-lasting. Get in touch with us today to learn more about our products.