Monthly Round Up of Important Ideas and Standards in
Industrial Hygiene and Safety
IN THIS ISSUE: Employee Safety Fixes
Necessity is the Mother of Invention. This proverb, often ascribed to Aesop or Plato, applies to workers. Employees often invent quick fixes to job problems that can affect their safety and health or can be indicators of health issues. It is important to be on the look out for them.
- Duct Tape: Employees use it to fix chairs and stools, add padding to table edges, or to cushion tool handles. Although an immediate fix, duct tape wears out and may not be a long term solution. Repair or replace equipment that is worn out, use tables with curved ends or add padding, purchase ergonomically designed tools with cushioned handles that protect against heat and vibration.
- Foot Rests: Employees may use plastic bins, books, buckets, or blocks of wood under their work table to support their feet and avoid pressure on the back. Where possible, install work benches that can be adjusted in height and supply proper footrests.
- Computer Monitors: Books piled under computer screens can indicate that the height is causing neck strain. The height and position of computer screens should be adjustable.
- Lighting: Extra task lighting, lights that are turned off, or cardboard screen blinders may indicate there is too much or too little lighting or problems with glare. Each work station should be evaluated to see that it meets lighting standards, and provides adequate lighting for the needs of each employee.
- Personal Protective Equipment: Wrist supports, back braces, or use of other PPE where not recommended, can indicate a medical problem, insufficient control of health and safety hazards, or additional employee stresses from work.
- Fans: Personal or workplace fans may indicate that the HVAC is not working properly. Check the systems and only use fans if they do not interfere with existing ventilation systems.
- Employee-Made Tools: Examples include lifting devices using bolts, rope, or hooks, cheater bars, altered or welded tools, or existing tools used for something other than intended use. Factory made tools are fabricated and made to specification. Self-made or altered tools may be made out of inadequate materials, have poor craftsmanship, not rated for the job, or not included in required tool inspection or certification.
Employees can be ingenious in getting work done. Be on the lookout for employee fixes that help them do their jobs. However original, they may be the best indicators of a safety and health problem.
OccuSafe Industrial Hygiene & Safety, Inc. provides skills and expertise to recognize, evaluate and control hazards and injuries in the areas of industrial hygiene, occupational safety and health. OccuSafe services companies of all sizes in a range of industries.
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