Working in an industrial environment with lots of heavy machinery or hazardous chemicals around is dangerous. No matter how careful you are, and how many precautions your employer takes, there’s still some risk of injury. However, the more you know about the risks of working with industrial, the better you can protect yourself. Some of the more common injuries include:
1. Eye Injuries
Using welding equipment without eye protection leaves you open to serious retina damage. It’s easy to get complacent and think that you’ll get away with a few seconds of working with or near welding equipment without protecting yourself, but this is a very bad idea. Always protect your eyes.
2. Back Injuries
Lifting heavy materials or equipment puts a lot of strain on your back. Whenever possible, make use of welding rotators, trolleys, and other lifting/moving aids to take some of the strain. If you must move something yourself, lift carefully, and use proper posture. Don’t try to “put your back into it” to move more than you comfortably can. Ask for help instead.
3. Repetitive Strain Injury
RSI comes in many forms. If you feel that you have a nagging injury, treat it early, and try to find ways to minimise the stress your joints are under. A few days rest now could prevent much more serious long term problems.
4. Trips and Falls
Busy workshops can get rather cluttered, and make them pretty hazardous. Always stow your equipment and tools, and sweep away any waste materials as soon as you’re finished working.
5. Trapped clothing or hair
You should avoid wearing loose or baggy clothing when working with moving machinery. If you have long hair, it’s a good idea to tie it back to make sure that it doesn’t get trapped.
Burns are a common form of injury – both for people that work with welding equipment and people that work with dangerous chemicals. Keeping your hands covered at all times can reduce the risk of burns.
7. Chemical Poisoning
Many industrial chemicals are dangerous if inhaled or ingested. People that work with such chemicals receive extensive training, but leaks and spillages can happen. This is why wearing safety equipment, and paying close attention to personal hygiene (e.g. scrubbing up before going for lunch) is vital.
8. Cuts and Severed Extremities
Getting your finger jammed in a welding rotator, or almost severed at the knuckle by a rotating saw is no joke. The people that suffer from these accidents are often experienced engineers that simply let their attention slip for a few seconds at the worst possible time.
9. Head Injuries
When you’re working in a hazardous environment – for example offshore, on a construction site, or in a mine, head injuries are a possibility. Hard hats offer a lot of protection from head trauma, but concussions should always be taken seriously.
10. Respiratory diseases
Smog, smoke, and toxic emissions from industrial plants can cause long term respiratory problems. While the risk is far lower than it was 50 years ago, industrial workers should always follow their company’s safety policies, and factories and plants are encouraged to monitor the quality of the air and their emissions levels.
This post was written by James Harper on behalf of Westermans International who supply all kinds of welding equipment including welding rotators.