Metal fabrication shops host large and complex machinery to assist manufacturers in cutting, bending, transporting, and assembling product materials. If operated or maintained poorly, this productive equipment can result in several workplace injuries and project setbacks.
Most fabrication facilities enforce employees to follow a slew of safety guidelines—wear protective gear, operate machines carefully, maintain a clean environment, etc. Note the common causes of metal fabrication injuries so you can equip your shop with optimal safety features.
Improper Material Handling
Most of the materials metal fabricators deal with daily are hefty, jagged, or otherwise awkward to carry. Cumbersome products are often difficult to transport by hand, causing scrapes and other wounds. They can also cause long-lasting musculoskeletal-related injuries.
Material-handling injuries tend to occur in the joints, ligaments, muscles, tendons, and nerves in the arms, legs, neck, back, and abs. They are the result of strenuous and improper carrying of materials. Some equipment can help relieve material-handling injuries in the workshop. One of the benefits of an incline conveyor is its ability to transport goods which alleviates risk and responsibility from employees.
Hazardous Power Tools
In addition to risky handling in a fabrication shop, there’s risky operating. As much as they boost productivity, fabrication machines can be detrimental to workers’ safety if operated improperly.
Carpel tunnel syndrome, tendonitis, and other chronic conditions of the hand, wrist, or forearm are commonly experienced by metal fabricators. These disorders may result from incorrect or excessive tool use, poor workstation structure, or inadequate tool maintenance.
Insufficient Machine Guards
Barriers are all around a fabrication shop to prevent employees’ clothes and limbs from getting snagged on machinery. Oversight of proper guarding puts fabricators at even more risk on the job. To ensure your facility’s guards are up to par, consider the preventive measures. They include:
- Permanently fixed barrier: placed onto machinery that requires minimal maintenance and cleaning of parts.
- Interlocked physical barrier: surrounds equipment but has one moveable section that’ll shut down the system to prevent injury if employees move it abruptly.
- Physical barrier: functions to safeguard employees from the most hazardous parts of equipment.
- Presence sensing system: recognizes workers proximity using photoelectric sensors and sets alarms off, or shuts down, to warn surrounding individuals.
Metalworking is no easy gig. Hazardous materials and equipment are the common causes of metal fabrication injuries when facilities don’t have adequate safety measures. To run your shop as safe and effectively as possible, you can enforce safety guidelines, machine operation training, and uniforms that include sufficient PPE.