Today we welcome Paul Thomas to the Think Tank, to talk about THE most important aspect of storage tank construction projects and any other construction work: safety. Paul is a passionate advocate for workplace safety, something that is vital to our work in the storage tank industry, and to all of our customers in the various industries they represent. Paul has spent the last several years working in construction management where, after witnessing several preventable workplace accidents, he gained a passion for the promotion of workplace safety. When not blogging about topics relating to workplace safety Paul spends his time split between his loyal dog Cheese and writing the occasional article for Emedco, a safety sign manufacturing company.
Keeping It Safe On The Job
Now that 2015 is in full swing it’s a good time to take another look at the state of safety in the workplace and make sure that we’re all doing our part to keep workplace accidents and injuries to a minimum. According to statistics gathered by OSHA, one in five worker deaths last year occurred in the construction industry. Those are some staggering numbers, and they remind us all that safety must always be top of mind. The workplace safety tips detailed here will keep a particular focus on safety on the construction site, however they can easily be applied to any workplace from office work to deep sea welding. With that in mind, here are the five most important tips for ensuring a safe workplace environment:
Post and Pay Attention To Appropriate Signage
One of the easiest ways to avoid almost any workplace accident is to remain vigilant when observing properly posted signage. From a wet floor to an occasional falling object, safety signs exist solely to make workers more aware of their surroundings, so PAY ATTENTION TO THEM! Countless workplace accidents could have been avoided by raising one’s eye level slightly above one’s twitter feed and simply paying attention. It is one of the most important duties of a responsible employer to ensure that appropriate signage is properly posted, but safety signage cannot be effective if we are not paying attention to it.
Image credit: http://www.emedco.com/
Report Unsafe Conditions
The first thing that any worker - from a temp to a supervisor - should do when entering a new workplace is to analyze his or her surroundings for any potential hazards or unsafe conditions. Anything from a missed spill to poorly constructed scaffolding can have the potential to cause serious harm to an unsuspecting or unobservant employee. Keeping in mind the potential for disaster, it is of the utmost importance that both employees AND employers remain vigilant in identifying and reporting unsafe working conditions through the proper channels in order to remedy the issue as soon as possible.
Use Machinery and Equipment Properly
Any piece of light or heavy machinery on a worksite has the potential to cause injury and, for many pieces of machinery, even death. From a hand truck to a forklift, using equipment as instructed can prevent a multitude of injuries from a strained back to losing a limb.
Take Regular Breaks
Extended period of strenuous work or intense concentration can compromise our ability to rationalize and stay focused on a given task. While many states have laws in place to govern rest and meal breaks, it is important for both employers and employees to recognize the dangers inherent in long periods of work, and be on the lookout for signs of physical and mental strain. While there are some state laws that govern rest and meal breaks, work crews need to be vigilant about watching one another and adhering to the safety standards for any given work situation. Even a five minute break here and there can make a difference in preventing workplace accidents.
Use Proper PPE
Personal Protection Equipment is provided by law to employees working in the appropriate conditions or surroundings. So for the love of everything holy USE IT! Disregarding PPE can result in preventable injury or death and incorrect use can have a similar result. So if using unfamiliar PPE, remember to be briefed on the proper outfitting and application of all provided Personal Protection Equipment. For a great overview of PPE, check out OSHA's PPE Fact Sheet.
For everyone at Fisher Tank Company, safety is the most important thing we do - in our fabrication shops, on our tank construction job sites, and in every aspect of the work we do in our facilities and in yours. Be safe.