A delivery truck pulls up to your shop and out pops the driver with a package. As soon as he leaves, you tear into the box and realize it is your new tool. Without a second thought you pull it out, put it together without looking at the instructions and start using it.
At this point, you probably didn’t realize you just put yourself at risk.
Each year thousands of people sustain injuries and even lose their lives while operating tools. Unfortunately, a relaxed attitude about proper safety procedures is often the cause.
Many people know safe operating procedures since they are often drilled on them regularly, but do they follow them every time? The truth is if everyone followed proper safety procedures, tool-related injuries would only happen from freak accidents and not improper use.
By religiously following safe operating procedures in at least these few areas, and demanding adherence from yourself and your coworkers, you can help ensure everyone is safe when the workday ends.
Personal Protective Gear
Whether your job requires protective eyewear, flame retardant clothing steel toe boots or a multitude of other protective gear, the requirements are in place to protect you from injury.
Granted, many of these items do not take climate or personal comfort into consideration. If they did, maybe more people wouldn’t avoid wearing them. However, safety trumps comfort or fashion in hazardous work areas. A shard in the eye is always more uncomfortable than wearing safety glasses.
Once avoidance is conquered, properly working gear is the next obstacle safe work needs to overcome. Broken gear can be just as dangerous as not wearing any protective gear at all. According to OSHA regulation 1910.132 (e), “Defective or damaged personal protective equipment shall not be used.”
It’s important to remember that no matter what anyone tells you, broken gear will not function the same as properly working gear. Being forced to work with broken protective gear is an OSHA violation. When life or limb is on the line, don’t settle for close enough. Demand working gear.
Just like the scenario at the top of this article, ignoring proper assembly is a mistake. Tool assembly may seem elementary to some, but sometimes, things are not always as they appear. Instinct does not replace assembly instructions since nearly all tools require exact assembly to function correctly.
Numerous injuries each year are chalked up to improper assembly. Damage to parts can occur by not reading the instructions first. In some cases, once the damage of improper assembly is done, it cannot be reversed without returning the tool to the manufacturer for repair.
Just by taking a few extra minutes to make sure your instincts align with a tool’s assembly instructions, you will not only have a properly working tool, but a better shot of not being harmed.
Ok, so you followed the assembly instructions and know the tool is put together properly. Now, it’s time to read the operating manual.
At this point, this is where many people throw caution to the wind. Have you seen the size of some of those operating manuals? They compete with high school history textbooks. Nonetheless, that’s no excuse for carelessness.
Don’t let impulsiveness get in the way of making sure you operate your new tool properly. Spending the time to read through the operating manual will always pay off in the end.
Improper tool operation regularly accounts for broken tools and worker’s compensation claims. When you weigh the time it takes to heal from an injury with the time it takes to read through an operating manual, the winner is clear. Spending time reading the operating manual may seem time consuming, but it ultimately makes this up with improved tool performance and added worker safety.
Every tool has operating parameters. Tools don’t like it when you go outside of them and may even decide to break or explode when they are pushed outside of their limits.
This may seem like common sense, but more times than not, people either don’t reference operating parameters before operating a tool or don’t care. This is a big mistake.
Each tool’s operating parameters are determined by its design engineers. These engineers run various calculations to ensure the tool operates the way they designed it. When these limits are ignored, there’s no telling what may happen since the engineer didn’t design the tool to do what you are asking it to do.
The next time you pull out a tool, like FASTORQ’s SpinTORQ, ask yourself if you know the tool’s capabilities. If you don’t, this is a sure sign you may be putting your safety at risk. No matter how good your tool is, it is only as good as the parameters within which it is meant to be operated.
After reviewing all of these basic principles, you realize you follow each and every one, congratulations! You are the epitome of a good example.
However, if you are someone that has allowed habit or a relaxed attitude to lower your safety standards, its time to start employing these basic safety steps again. By remembering safety is everyone’s responsibility you may not only save yourself from injury, but those around you.