Safety hazards are present in all workplaces, mainly due to the tools used in executing day-to-day tasks. Almost all jobs call for the use of one tool or another, making it necessary to ensure that you are fully protected when working.
Individuals who practice their trades in industrial workplaces, construction sites, and in warehouses tend to use hand tools more often, although office workers also get to use utility knives, box cutters, and scissors.
Regardless of where you work, be it in an office or construction site, there is a need to emphasize on the importance of safety: lack of awareness and complacency are the leading injury causes. Cutting tools tend to pose a greater risk of punctures, lacerations, and cuts. According to the National Safety Council, these are the most common types of injuries that are likely to force an employee to stay at home.
To guarantee that your employees will not spend much of their time at home due to work-related injuries, the best thing you can do is ensure that they are safe. The following are workplace tool safety tips provided by a professional personal injury law firm:
1. Set Aside a Specific Area Where Employees Can Use Hand Tools
Where possible, it is recommended that you designate a space where the personnel can use hazardous tools, e.g., cutting tools. The mere fact that the employees have to go to a certain section to use certain tools will force them to become more mindful of what they are doing. People visiting the office will also come to the realization that a certain section has been set aside for handling dangerous tools.
In short, this is an area where everyone walking by or using a certain tool will need to be vigilant about their safety. Setting aside a designated space is also a great way for you to remain organized. This is because everything that has to do with tool use — cutting mats, tools, and PPE — will be in a single place. Your personnel will also be able to find the tools they need with ease. It is a practice that is also likely to increase the possibilities of the workers using the company sanctioned tools.
2. Ensure that the Hand Tools, as Well as the PPE Gear, are in the Right Condition
The only way to guarantee safety when dealing with hand tools is to ensure that you stick to tools that are working as they should. For instance, when dealing with cutting tools, make sure that the blade is fully operational. A dull blade poses a lot of danger as it requires you to apply a lot of force when cutting an item. This in return increases the chances of the cutting tool slipping.
All cutting blades ought to be free of large chips, clean, and free of rust. For blades that needs replacement, e.g., ceramic and metal blades, caution should be taken to make sure that they are properly disposed of in a sharps container. The handy tool being used should not have any cracks or loose parts.
In addition, make certain that all the company tools are cleaned on a frequent basis. It is especially true for tools with handles. Handles are notorious for spreading germs and bacteria as they are touched by tens of people on any given day. This is actually one safety hazard that many people tend to overlook.
3. Provide the Right PPE
All PPE needs to be free of tears or holes. Another important factor is to make sure that the PPE fits as it should. One of the most common complaints, especially when it comes to gloves is that they do not allow for free movement and that they are at times very awkward. Keep in mind that PPE is not, and has never been a 1-size fit all offer.
Confirm that you have provided the personnel with the right gear as this is critical to ensuring that their hands remain safe when operating heavy machinery. In situations where workers are sharing the same PPE, ensure that it gets cleaned regularly.
4. Select The Safest Tools
Investing in quality tools will help ensure that they get to last longer — they are also safer. The well-being of your personnel is a worthy investment. You should, therefore, be on the lookout for workplace tools that have been well-designed. It helps in reducing fatigue, as well as the occurrence of repetitive stress injuries.
Additionally, you need to make certain that the handle surfaces can be gripped easily: it assists in reducing slippage. Another important feature to consider will be the weight of your tool. A properly-weighted tool is easier to control than one that it is disproportionate.
Whenever you have to choose a cutting tool, you need to consider how the person using that tool will be protected from its blade. Does the tool come with a safety cap? Is its handle retractable?
5. Train the Personnel On How to Handle the Tools
It is important to make sure that your personnel are conversant with all the tools that they will be using. For instance, if you take a look at the Canadian Center for Occupational Health and Safety lists, you will notice that they have listed training your employees to use company tools at the very top.
Wrong or improper use of a tool is the leading cause of work-related injuries. You need to place safety signs and posters in the area that you have set aside for use by your employees when handling tools. Ensure that the signs posted in this area depict how different tools should be handled.
Additionally, you could consider providing your employees with hands-on demos so that they can see as well as get to experience how different tools are handled and maintained. It is important that you be methodical with your training approach. Take the employees through the process of cleaning the tools, replacing worn-out parts, and storing them to guarantee their safety in future.
Workplace safety is not as complicated as many people take it to be: however, there is a need to make sure that it is taken seriously so as to prevent injuries.