Like any other industry in the manufacturing sector, sheet metal fabrication comes with it’s own set of workplace hazards. Moving machinery, heavy sheet metal, lasers, hydraulics, shears and guillotines are just some of the health and safety risks which need to be managed within the sheet metal industry. This week, we take a look at four key ways employers can improve workplace conditions within the sheet metal fabrication industry.
Encourage lifting safety
Most people working in the industrial sector know how to lift without straining their back, but in the sheet metal sector, heavy and bulky pieces of sheet metal will inevitably cause physical stress. The best way to minimise straining injuries is by minimising the amount of times that workers have to physically lift sheet metal. This can be achieved through the introduction of lifting tools such as industrial lifting magnets as well as transportation devices such as trolleys or dollies.
Wearing protective gear
Protecting clothing is the first line of defence when it comes to protecting workers from the hazards of metal fabrication. Equipment such as face shields, steel capped boots, heavy sleeves, eye protection and of course gloves should be standard in any metal fabrication workplace, but the addition of things like magnetic hand lifters to avoid contact with sharp, dirty or hot metal can also help to minimise instances of injury. Workplace procedures such as filing down metal burrs as soon as the metal is cut should also be standardised as part of the fabrication process to minimise injury when workers do need to handle the metal.
Although it is not always possible to avoid accidents, the best way to prevent them, and minimise harm when they do occur, is through education. Employers need to ensure that all of their employees are educated in not only the operational requirements of their job, but also in the relevant safety and harm minimisation procedures. These should be uniform across the workplace to ensure that if an accident does happen, there is no ambiguity about how to proceed.
ACRA are proud suppliers of new and used sheet metal machinery to the fabrication industry. To learn more about our capabilities, please don’t hesitate to get in touch by calling 03 9794 6675.