As a result of hazards present in the workplace setting, metal fabrication can pose safety risks to employees who don't closely follow safety regulations. Several injuries can befall employees in a metal fabrication shop as a result of inattention or carelessness. Here are some of the common injuries that befall workers during metal fabrication processes.
Material handling injuries
Material handling is a fairly regular cause of injury at the fabrication workshop. Majority of handling injuries are mostly musculoskeletal-related, and may range from slight sprains to more severe conditions like intervertebral disc injury. Besides failure to adhere to appropriate lifting protocol, these impairments may also be caused by prolonged exposure to pulsations, extended awkward posture, or recurrent monotonous motions. Material handling injuries tend to affect the joints, muscles, ligaments, nerves and tendons of the neck, arms, legs, back, and abdomen.
Injuries caused by hand tool usage
Another source of injury when fabricating metal is a hand tool. The most common injuries due to hand tool usage include wrist tendonitis, carpal tunnel syndrome, repetitive strain syndrome as well as lasting disorders of the wrist, hand and forearm. Some of the causes behind these injuries comprise of poor tool selection, undue tool use, little or no tool maintenance, and unfitting workstation design.
Injuries due to poor guarding
Entry is restricted to several areas and machinery in a metal fabrication workshop. In these settings, guardrails among other barriers are often used to stop accidental injury. Some of the common safety barriers available in metal fabrication workshops include:
- Permanently-fixed barriers: They surround any machinery that needs the least maintenance or cleaning of components.
- Interlocked physical barriers: They often feature one portable segment, which when activated, automatically closes down the system to avert injury.
- Physical barriers: They enclose the risky components of a metal fabricating equipment.
Poorly maintained or missing guards account for majority of barrier-associated injuries. For instance, guarding mechanisms help prevent an employee's fingers from being caught in the metal catching area of a cutting guillotine. When these safety guards are poorly installed, an employee is likely to suffer finger loss or hand injury.
Reducing the likelihood of injuries in metal fabrication workshops
Employees should adhere to proper use of cranes or forklifts to unpack heavy raw materials. Additionally, they should use trolleys to ferry heavy materials between phases of the metal fabrication process. Workshop managers should provide personal protection kit such as safety goggles, ear guards, respirators, and gloves to their workers. Moreover, any potentially dangerous equipment ought to be regularly inspected to ascertain the relevant safety measures are adopted and operating properly.