How to Ensure Your Workers Stay Safe While Operating Machinery

More than 4,500 fatal injuries occur in the workplace per year. Prevention is key; know your employees are in the safest possible environment when it comes to preventing future machinery mishaps on the job. In this blog, we have compiled some ways to keep your workers safe, including being up-to-date with the lockout/tagout (LOTO) process, knowing what safety gear to have on hand, and understanding what extra precautions to take while operating machinery.

Revisit Your LOTO Procedure Frequently

In 2016, the lock out tag out procedure was specified as one of OSHA’s top 5 workplace hazards. Training workers the steps that are involved in the lockout/tagout procedure is crucial in order to ensure worker safety. To make sure employees both understand and follow the lockout/tagout program include:

  • Conducting weekly, annual, and random inspections. This keeps a routine in place and the constant reminder to keep using the lockout/tagout procedure.
  • Providing quick and easy access to LOTO kits. Lockout/tagout is a procedure that includes locks and tags to warn workers that there is something wrong with a machine or equipment; should not be used until the machine or equipment has been fixed and unlocked or untagged. Having quick and easy access to LOTO kits can make the procedure more efficient.
  • Providing colored tags in lock out tag out kit. Color-coding tags is not required by OSHA but it is a quick and easy way to differentiate warnings and dangers.
  • Encouraging communication between co-workers. It is best to have everyone on the same page; communication is one of the main components to keeping workers safe. Reassuring your workers to have conversations about safety daily can have a positive effect for your employees.

Have the Right Safety Gear on Hand

When it comes to machine safety, you never know what is going to happen on the job. Being prepared with the right safety gear is important regarding safety. Here is a list of essential personal protective equipment to ensure the best protection for your workers as they operate machinery.

  • Protective eyewear
  • Cut-and impact-resistant gloves
  • Steel-toed boots
  • Ear muffs or plugs

Take Extra Safety Precautions

When it comes to working in dangerous conditions, there is no such thing as being too prepared or safe; safety is key. Here are some ways to make sure your workers are getting the best protection:

  • Provide protective safety gear to all workers
  • Have a first aid kit available in case of minor injuries
  • Have machines thoroughly checked before restarting a machine/equipment
  • All employees should stay approximately 30ft away from the machine or equipment that is being worked on or restarted
  • Make sure everyone on site knows the company’s emergency plan

Awareness of potential hazards—from machine malfunctions to slips, trips and falls—helps reduce future injuries and accidents, which can help save lives. Here at US Standard Products, we have what you need to keep your workers safe and protected. Check out our product catalog for quality, affordable safety gear.

Stay Safe with this Checklist for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

To reduce workplace accidents and shield workers from potential hazards, it’s important to have a thorough plan for equipping workers with personal protective equipment (PPE).

Without protective equipment plan, employees are at risk of injury and employers could be subject to fines or penalties. OSHA stipulates that employers must pay for personal protective equipment for employees with the exception of prescription safety glasses, safety-toe protective footwear and other equipment or clothing that is personal or worn outside of the job.

To help determine which protective gear is necessary for the job, we’ve prepared a checklist of commonly required personal protective equipment below.

Eye Protection

When thinking about eye protection, it’s important to consider any occupational risk to the eyes or face. Common hazards include dust, liquid or chemical splashes, abrasive particles, sparks or molten metals, and it’s also important to consider comfort and the visibility requirements of the job.

In any situation that involves the hazards above, workers should, at a minimum, have a trustworthy pair of safety glasses, while some jobs may require full face shields or welding helmets. In many instances, certain types and colors of safety glasses can help improve visibility and job performance, so it’s important to consider that as well.

Head & Face Protection

In addition to the eyes, head and face protection is one of the most important areas to consider to prevent significant injuries at the workplace. Generally, a safety helmet is essential in environments where a worker could be struck on the head by a falling or fixed object, if a worker could potentially fall or if they could come into contact with an electrical hazard.

Hearing Protection

Each year, roughly 30 million workers in the U.S. are exposed to hazardous noise levels in the workplace. It’s estimated that about 125,000 workers suffer significant or permanent hearing loss each year while on the job. With these statistics in mind, employers are required to provide hearing protection to workers who are exposed to volume levels at or above 85 decibels for at least eight hours per day. However, even if workplace noises don’t reach 85 decibels, it’s still highly advise to provide hearing protection for workers.

Recommended hearing protection can vary by industry, though we previously outlined some of the best options for hearing protection in various work environments.

Hand Protection

In many professions, hand protection is absolutely essential when working with dangerous machinery or equipment or handling harmful substances or materials. However, there really is no one-size-fits-all glove for protecting the hands, so it’s important to identify the material and type of glove that works best for your industry.

Lucky for you, we’ve previously prepared guides on finding the right gloves for the job. You can find them listed below:

Foot Protection

Finding proper foot protection is essential, though between the protection offered, thickness of the material and the type of sole, it’s important to make the right choice based on your industry and work environment. All workers in laboratory, factory, workshop, construction or outdoor work environments should have enclosed footwear.

In workplaces with chemicals or harmful substances, all footwear should be resistant to hazardous substances. In workshops, construction sites or factory settings, boots with steel caps or increased protection are recommended. 

Skin Protection

Employers aren’t typically required to provide most methods of skin protection (long-sleeve shirts, pants, sunscreen, etc.), though it is still a very important area to consider. Especially in outdoor environments, workplaces with exposure to flames or electricity or environments with hazardous substances and chemicals, employees should have adequate skin protection to ensure they aren’t exposed to potential harm.

To protect your employees from common workplace injuries and accidents, consider all of the areas of protection above and verify that the equipment you are providing is adequate. If you’re in need of safety equipment to protect your team, check out the U.S. Standard Products catalog. We offer a wide range of cost-effective, protective safety gear to help minimize workplace accidents and injuries.

For the latest safety tips, stay tuned to the U.S. Standard Products blog, or follow us on social media:

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Tips for Working Across Generations

In many cases, a company’s employee base is its most valuable asset, especially in the skilled trade industries—and if organizations are going to thrive in the years to come, they’re going to need to learn how to attract and retain employees of future generations. As more and more of the baby boomer generation retire from the workforce, it’s time for companies to start accommodating the work preferences of Gen X and Millennial workers.

In this blog, we’ll identify the defining traits of employees from these two generations and explain how companies can best adapt to the changing workforce demographics.

Millennials

By 2025, it’s expected that Millennials, those employees roughly born between 1982 and 2004, will make up 75% of the workforce. As companies move forward, it’s critical to keep these employees’ work styles and preferences top of mind in order to retain skilled workers in this age range.

Defining Traits

  • Technologically-sophisticated
  • Dedicated
  • Confident
  • Tolerant
  • Impatient
  • Outspoken
  • Adaptable
  • Mission-driven

Tips for Working with Millennials

  • Convert paper-based training materials to a digital format
  • Consider implementing more flexible time-off policies (For example, offer comp time as an alternative to overtime.)
  • Offer opportunities for continuous self-improvement, skill building and growth
  • Facilitate an engaging, collaborative and fun work environment
  • Give employees a sense of purpose by emphasizing how your company is making a positive impact

Gen Xers

In the not-too-distant future, Generation X, those born between 1965 and 1984, will hold a majority of leadership roles in your company, if they don’t already. As this group of employees quickly moves into higher-level management and c-suite positions, companies can look at the generational characteristics to predict how the company will be run.

Defining Traits

  • Independent
  • Pragmatic
  • Tech-Savvy
  • Problem solvers
  • Entrepreneurial
  • Results-oriented
  • Hands-off managers

Tips for Working with Gen Xers

  • Give employees the autonomy and space to work independently if they choose
  • Facilitate a healthy work-life balance (For example, allow reasonable family and medical leave even if your company isn’t required to offer FMLA.)
  • Offer financial rewards (raises or bonuses) for a job well done
  • Give employees a sense of safety and security in both their role and work environment

Don’t Forget About Employee Safety!

No matter what generation you’re working with, employee safety should always be a top priority. Browse the U.S. Standard Products catalog for safety equipment to outfit your entire workforce. To stay up-to-date on the latest industrial workplace trends, follow U.S. Standard Products on social media.

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Resources

Future of Work

The Atlantic

USGS

The IRF

Five Ways to Amp Up Sidewalk Safety This Winter

Did you know that in most states across the country, the owner of the building is responsible for the safety of the people who use their parking lot AND sidewalks? It’s a potential legal and financial liability that’s important to address. Not to mention the productivity that’s lost if one of your key staff members suffers a slip and fall that takes them off duty for a few weeks (or months!)

Here are a few things you, as a property owner, should do to make sure you’re ready when the snow and ice start to fall.

Set Up Your Snow Patrol

Meet with your team and select some individuals to keep an eye on the snow and ice situation. Have a meeting and review what happened in the previous year, so you can properly plan for this year. Assign someone to mark areas that were hazardous last winter, so you can give them extra attention this year. Have someone else vet snow removal services, so you can select the one that has the best prices, strongest references and appropriate insurance coverage. Working as a team ensures that no one person has to handle it all and you don’t miss something that’s critical to the safety of your staff.

Get Your Services and Supplies Set Up Early

Winter can sneak up on you and if you don’t prepare ahead of time, you may find that the snow removal services have all filled their calendars or you can’t get the proper ice melt when you need it. Get everything set up now so you don’t run into an “out of stock” or “we’re booked solid” situation later in the season.

Watch the Weather

Paying attention to the weather conditions – by monitoring the weather channel or setting up weather alerts to come to your smart phone – can help you ensure that you and your maintenance team know far in advance when a storm is coming. Preparing your property early, by putting out ice melt products BEFORE the storm hits, is a good preemptive move.

Choose the Right Ice Melt and Use It Correctly

Ice melt comes in several formulas, typically including some blend of rock salt, calcium chloride, magnesium chloride, potassium chloride, acetates and other substances like urea and ammonium sulfate. These formulas vary in price, how well they work at different temperatures, toxicity and their impact on different surfaces like concrete or wood decking. Before purchasing, do your homework to ensure you’re getting a product that will work best for your unique business environment.

Don’t Forget the Details

Small things can make a big difference, like putting containers of ice melt in areas that frequently freeze up. Don’t forget the “Slippery Floor” signs and mats for internal areas that get wet when it snows. And even more importantly, ask your insurance agent to double check your coverage, to make sure you’re in the clear if someone does have a slip and fall on your property, in spite of your best intentions.

Don’t wait! Get started today. We can provide you with a wide range of ice melt product, for starters. Check out our catalog today!