Workplace Accidents: Methods to Prevent It
Workplace accidents can present several challenges for business owners and companies, outside of bodily harm.
Firstly, workplace accidents can lead to a big loss in productivity. If an employee is harmed in the workplace, they may have to take time off from work to recover. This results in the rest of the team having to pick up the slack, causing a loss in productivity when compared to having a fully staffed team.
Secondly, accidents can impact employees by making them feel unsafe in the workplace. This can lead to reduced morale, a loss of motivation, or lower confidence in equipment, which can negatively impact productivity.
Thirdly, any company’s negligence that resulted in an accident or bodily injury can lead to financial and legal implications. Employees’ compensation claims may arise, as well as possible litigation. A single lawsuit can potentially impede business growth
Workplace accident prevention and creating a culture of safety awareness are the best ways to ensure that these do not happen to your business. To achieve this, start with general awareness and understanding of the safety risks in your work environment. Let’s examine some recent statistics on workplace accidents.
In 2020, the Bureau of Labour Statistics reported a total of 1.1 million cases of injuries, of which, 69.75% are Traumatic injuries and disorders. With such a high number of cases, companies must understand the importance of workplace safety, the methods to prevent workplace accidents.
What are the methods to prevent workplace accidents?
Use proper equipment
While working in a hazardous environment, you should always ensure the use of properly certified explosion-proof equipment. Sparks that can cause an explosion within a non-certified enclosure can escape into the environment, causing a much larger explosion that will injure the personnel and damage costly industrial property.
Regular maintenance of equipment
Even properly certified explosion-proof equipment can fail, if improperly maintained. Regular inspection and servicing have to be done, to fix or replaced faulty machinery or equipment, to mitigate the risk while using the equipment.
Being aware of surroundings
An important factor in employees staying safe and preventing workplace accidents is to be alert and aware of their surroundings. Getting enough rest and sleep is critical in staying alert and ensuring the safety of oneself, and others. Encourage employees that are feeling tired to take a break, grab some coffee, or do some stretching, and to return to work once they are feeling better and re-energized.
Employee training is a big part of reducing workplace accidents. Employees need to know how to properly use explosion-proof equipment by the manufacturer’s instructions. This can be done either by conducting in-house training, or external workshops. Reminders and signage can be placed around the workplace as well to remind employees to take note of any dangers nearby.
Research safety vulnerabilities
Every business is unique and will not necessarily require the same safety concerns as other businesses. Perform your research for your business, to find out the common potential accidents, and develop effective accident prevention and wellness program, to keep these accidents from happening.
The case study below shows how workplace accidents can occur as a result of negligence or inappropriate equipment use.
In Singapore, a major accident occurred in a workshop at Tuas industrial building on Feb 24, 2021. The workshop produces fire clay, a component in the making of a fire insulation wrap.
During the installation of the mixer machine, the user guide was not read and followed, and that lead to improper installation. The temperature sensor that came with the machine was not properly installed as well. The company also did not make it a practice for their workers to measure the temperature in the oil jacket as they had assumed the temperature of the oil would not overheat.
The machine started to leak oil at the bottom. This lead the workers to weld the leak shut, however, it was poorly fixed with poor weld quality. Insufficient oil was also added to the oil jacket, causing the machine to overheat. This essentially turns the mixer machine into a pressure cooker, which causes hairline cracks to form along the welds in the oil jacket. The cracks were immediately welded close, but with no way of removing the pressure, the mixer machine finally gave in and exploded.
The explosion ignited the potato starch flour in the air that is used to make fire clay, as the company did not have a proper enclosure that prevented the flour from escaping the mixer into the air. This created a dust explosion that was great enough to throw two men working outside the workshop a distance of 2m.
As you can see, it is critical to follow the manufacturer’s installation and usage instructions. Even though a product is certified, it can still be damaged and potentially harmful if it is used incorrectly or maintained improperly.
We hope that you have a better understanding of the importance of workplace accidents prevention. You must keep your workers safe in the workplace, as no one wishes to get injured while working.
International Metal Engineering offers a wide range of Ex “d” explosion-proof products to cater to your hazardous area needs, to help prevent workplace accidents from happening. You can come to our Contact Page to send in an inquiry, or drop us a call at +65 6353 6506 to find out more about the multitude of explosion-proof products we have available.