It’s a good bet that you’re going to be dead for a long time. Maybe as long as eternity! So why be dead longer then you have too be? What’s the rush? Dead isn’t going any where as dead will always be lurking around somewhere. What if I told you that you can reduce your time dead. Here are 10 ways, free of charge, that will reduce your time dead.
1 – As great as the temptation may be and even if you’ve operated similar equipment at another job, do not operate any machinery, equipment or powered industrial trucks until you’ve been trained and certified to operate. Each facility has their own “rules of the road” and you need to know them before using any piece of equipment. You also need to know where all the emergency stops are located on machinery and conveyors.
2 – Practice L.O.T.O. religiously. Make it your mantra. You wouldn’t stick a knife into a toaster that’s still plugged in, would you? Why stick any part of your body into a machine that could begin operating while you’re in it?! Use your own locks given to you by the company and keep the keys in your pocket. Why would you give up that finger, arm, leg or your life so a few more boxes of widgets can be made? The extra time you take to ensure your machine is properly L.O.T.O will not place your company in financial straits, but it will reduce your time dead.
3 – When you work on anything that is 6 feet or higher off the ground, scaffolding, building or tower, there should be railings in place to stop a fall or you should be given and use fall protection gear. You should also be given training before hand on how to wear it and properly anchor the tether. There is no point in wearing fall protection gear if you do not have it anchored properly as that is what stops you falling to your death. Falls are the #1 accident and it’s most often someone not wearing or correctly anchoring their gear.
4 – All machines, equipment, belts and conveyors that have moving parts are suppose to have those parts covered with guarding so you don’t have a body part ripped off or worse, are pulled into the moving parts. If a machine is worked on by maintenance personnel or technicians and they forget to put the guards back in place, DON’T operate the machine, have them replace the guards first. Some newer equipment won’t operate without the guards in place and if you see someone tamper with those shut-offs report them immediately as they just put your life in danger.
5 – When you are working with chemicals or other hazardous liquids make sure you have all the proper PPE such as respirators, gloves, face shields and access to a eyewash station and/or shower and that ventilation systems and containment dykes are inspected regularly and operational. Know what chemicals you are working with and their affects if contact is made or inhaled. You should be trained on what to do in an emergency, who to contact, what to and not to do as well as the evacuation route.
6 – Do not operate or continue to operate equipment, forklifts and other powered industrial equipment that is in need of repair or service. Red tag it, remove the key if possible and make sure it’s not used until properly repaired. Don’t use powered industrial equipment that has been modified until you receive additional training on the upgrade.
7 – Learn how to properly use a fire extinguisher and make sure to know when to leave due to the size of the fire. Make sure extinguishers are checked yearly and that all are clearly labeled so they can be found when needed.
8 – Know the evacuation signal whether an alarm, whistle, siren or PA announcement. Know the evacuation route and the nearest staging location. If evacuation is not possible do shelter and place. Always keep a kit in the office to tape windows, doorways and vents shut so fumes can’t penetrate the room.
9 – There’s an old expression that cleanliness is next to Godliness and as with most ancient scripture there is truth to it. Housekeeping is an important part of any good operation as the build up of trash, cardboard, plastic wrap and other debris can cause trips and falls, damage equipment, infestation of vermin not to mention a poor looking facility.
10 – Don’t let anyone and I mean anyone tell you it’s O.K. to perform an unsafe act. It’s NOT. No one can threaten your job or you to commit an unsafe act. It’s against the law and if your are constantly pressured to not do LOTO, or not wear fall protection gear, or to use a broken forklift or not given PPE Call OSHA. You can make an anonymous complaint at 1-800-321-OSHA (6742). Remember the life you save can be your own.