While many professionals in the sheet metal fabrication business can agree on all of the following safety issues, there are times that “common sense ” is sometimes overlooked. Much of managing and implementing proper safety standards and procedures begins by brainstorming situations and estimating the effects of not having reasonable safety procedures in place. Working without a plan, in a new production environment or where characteristics of the environment change, exposes workers to the “trial and error” effects on injury. It doesn’t take a whole lot of planning to foresee, prevent, or at least reduce the possibility for injuries.
When safety is compromised, injuries can increase a company’s overhead cost, which ultimately increases part costs and/or reduces a company’s profits.
Gene Barsaleau, one of our cost estimating trainers, who also had been working in the sheet metal business for 30 years, has the following recommended Sheet Metal Safety Tips tips and real life experiences he shares here:
Top 10 Sheet Metal Safety Tips for Manufacturing that Affect Costs!
1.) Gloves– Select good ones and don’t just carry them – wear them. “They can be a hand saver, even when you or your co-workers may think the immediate job is “a quick move and carry.” Take the time to get your gloves on for protection. A simple cut not only can become a serious infection it can delay and/or affect your ability to remain employed. This costs you and your company money. Even if you are still able to work its likely you are operating less effectively.”
2.) Too big to handle – Recognize what is too big to handle. “Too many times I’ve seen workers, even family members, go at a job or task with the ‘I can do it attitude’ and that’s just when injury likes to lend a hand (no pun intended).”
3.) Don’t scrimp on hoisting equipment – “Material moving tools are expensive, but losing an employee is much worse. The good news is that an effective hoisting tool can greatly reduce the time to manufacturing parts by reducing the time to move parts and materials. The time savings converts to sheet metal fabrication cost savings. Pass this cost savings along to your customer, reap higher profits, or both. It can be a win-win for all.”
4.) Don’t try to stop Inertia – Inertia, (the resistance of any physical object to a change in its state of motion or rest, or the tendency of an object to resist any change in its motion), rules how easy it will be to stop “out of control” metal from causing harm to you or others – “get out of its way.”
5.) Know the limits of fork lift trucks – Just because you aren’t the driver doesn’t mean you should be ignorant to its limitations of gravity and strength. “I once dropped a 40″ plate of steel because the back wheels lost contact with the floor.”
6.) Safety Glasses/ Helmets – “While it’s easy to throw this on the list it’s not easy, or acceptable, to show graphically what can happen to the eyes or head when impaled with flying debris – wear them always.”
7.) Hearing Protection – “What did you say? Don’t be a hero…save your hearing!”
8.) Steel toe shoes – “These can make a difference between having toes and not having them!”
9.) No loose clothing – We hear this more and more. “Don’t become another statistic because you had strings attached.”
10.) Don’t work under the influence – While obvious… always read the labels. “Even over the counter medications can affect your ability to function safely.”