No matter what you do for a living, every job comes with its own set of risks and hazards. However, some jobs can be significantly more dangerous than others and run the risk of serious injury or death on a daily basis.
When you’re working in an industrial or manufacturing environment, safety briefings and safety knowledge are not just something that sucks up your time in mandatory meetings but can be the thing that saves you from serious injury or even death. The most common injuries that happen in industrial work settings are often worker errors that could have been prevented with a bit more understanding of proper safety protocols.
Here are some of the most common risks and safety hazards we see time and again on industrial job sites and how you can protect yourself from them:
- Fall hazards
Sometimes, people assume that fall-related accidents on job sites only happen to new or inexperienced workers who don’t have any experience working at heights. In reality, many fall accidents happen to skilled workers who have plenty of experience working at heights and have become overconfident about not getting hurt. This is when corners start getting cut, and a preventable fall happens.
- Dangerous chemicals
Whether it’s construction, manufacturing, or some other industrial working environment, you’re likely to be exposed to hazardous chemicals like industrial solvents, gases or high-octane fuels, or other corrosive solutions that need to be carefully handled to minimize the risk of injury, fire, or explosion.
When working, you should feel confident that your workplace stores chemicals in a safe way and those new employees are given proper training on handling these chemicals, and experienced employees are regularly given refresher courses. Your workplace should also have protocols in place to deal with spills or leaks. Safety measures should be clearly posted throughout the workplace and spill containment equipment should be readily available, in good working condition, and regularly checked and replenished.
- Heavy machinery
Using heavy machinery or vehicles is commonplace in industrial workplaces, but like fall hazards, it’s not hard for these large, dangerous tools to become deadly when complacency gets in the way of safety standards. Both machinery operators and those working nearby should keep a close eye on the machine and those near it, for their own protection. Those operating the machines should be thoroughly trained and have refresher courses regularly to make sure that they stay up to date in the best way to safely work with these machines. Your workplace should have proper safety gear and equipment installed, and this equipment should be regularly checked for security and sturdiness.
Many industrial job sites make use of explosive or highly flammable gases or fuels or use welding or electrical gear. This means that every job site you work on should have fire minimization techniques in place and anti-fire equipment, such as fire extinguishers, smoke detectors, and industrial gas detection systems should be in place on the worksite.
If you work on a job site that allows non-employees on the floor, then this can prove a risk to your safety–as well as theirs. Non-employees aren’t trained in the same safety standards as you and your colleagues are and do not have the same experience being near heights or dangerous materials. To minimize the risk of these people, or you and your colleagues, getting hurt, try to limit non-employees access to job sites and make sure clear signage prevents visitors from wandering into dangerous areas.
- Narrow Spaces
Sometimes, industrial workplaces require you to work in tight spaces or confined areas, like tanks. The symptoms of suffocation aren’t always evident to the untrained eye, so anyone working in a confined space should have a partner to keep an eye on them for signs of suffocation and have a system in place to call for help and administer first aid.