Common Workplace Risks for Factory Workers

workplace risks

Workplaces that involve heavy machinery are always prone to accidents, and history is littered with cases where big companies were almost brought to their knees by a series of litigations brought against them by injured workers. It could be anything, a heavy load coming loose, a factory robot arm losing control, or a human getting caught in pressing machines.

Accidents or not, there’s a need to ensure that the people that work on the floor of any manufacturing plant are shielded from danger. To better illustrate how bad things can get, the following are some of the risks workers are exposed to every day.

Heavy Machinery

The machines used in factories are very heavy. From powered industrial trucks that move heavy items from one end to the next to pick and place robot arms that hover above the workers while holding heavy metal and loads, the risk of all that coming down on people in case of a mechanical failure is always high and real. A big chunk of the injuries suffered in the workplace involve heavy machinery that happens to fall on people as they work, resulting in amputations and even death.

A separate space should be created for loading and power trucks away from people to reduce these kinds of accidents. The working area should be shielded by a strong roof that can handle any kind of falling debris.

Electrical Hazards

workplace risks electrical
Image by alcangel144 from Pixabay

Death by electrical shock is not new in the workplace. Factories use a huge amount of electricity to run all the machines, and this means that the voltages passing through the electrical lines are very high, unlike the ones used in homes.

Touching a naked wire will result in instant death by electrocution. Considering the number of movements involved in such a space, the chances of electrical hazards like wires coming loose are very high, and regular maintenance should be conducted to repair any exposed wiring, unfastened panels, and improperly installed machinery.

Falls

Many manufacturing plants are big with a lot of headroom space to accommodate as many machines and structures as possible. This forces huge stairs and ladders to be placed everywhere, going as high as 30 feet up. This opens up the danger of a worker falling down from such a great height and injuring themselves badly or, worse, dying. When you consider the heavy loads involved in factories and the possible presence of toxic fumes that may induce dizziness, it is not surprising to hear cases of people tripping or slipping even on evenly flat surfaces.

This can be reduced by proper factory designs, provision of the appropriate work attire, and workers themselves being careful when they are on the manufacturing floor.

Forklifts

Factory workers have the habit of overestimated the carrying capacities of forklifts and underestimating their speeds, and this creates the perfect conditions for accidents to occur. Forklifts are a convenient way of moving around heavy loads from one end to the other without straining. However, they have a load limit, which, when surpassed, destabilizes the vehicle. Driving the forklift in that condition increases the risk of losing control and plowing into other factory workers leading to injuries.

The forklift vehicle is also fast, and cases of people losing control by overspeeding are very common. It could run into other machines causing untold suffering and property damages. The operation of the forklift should be left to authorized personnel only at all times.

Fire Hazards

workplace risks fire
Image by F. Muhammad from Pixabay

Fire is a common hazard in factories that deal with chemicals and, if left unchecked without any proper protocols in place, can lead to the destruction of the whole factory as well as massive losses of life. Chemical industries procure a lot of toxic substances which have to be stored in huge quantities in the warehouses for ftre use. As much as this is convenient, there’s always the risk of spillages that may come into contact with electricity, leading to fires and explosions.

The best way to deal with fire hazards of this nature would be to designate the storage of chemicals to another area that’s a bit far from the operational floor. There should also be fire extinguishers placed on all floors and on the walls for easy access, and finally, the workers have to be trained on how to respond to fires through regular drills.

Limited Spaces

A factory has no business being housed in a limited space, and this is due to a number of reasons. Confined spaces can get too stuffy for the people inside, and the dust that arises from all the activities that take place inside the working area can cause serious respiratory problems for people. Secondly, small spaces increase the chances of falls and accidents because people and machines will be running into each other more frequently. Lastly, if a fire was to break out in small spaces, containing the spread would be difficult.

Conclusion

Making the decision to set up a manufacturing plant comes with a lot of responsibilities that you have to keep in mind since all the blame will be laid on you if something goes wrong. It would be wise on your part as the owner to ensure that all the standards are met before an inspection is done. The safety of your workers should always be a priority at all times because the success of the whole enterprise depends on their well-being.

About Karen Brewer 10 Articles
Karen is a BS graduate in Architecture. Her love in home design brought her to write some blogs that help to give ideas in their dream house design. She also helps businessmen and entrepreneurs through writing on how business signs help in building their brand and company name.

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