One of the most common workplace injuries is cuts or lacerations. While these injuries aren’t usually life-threatening, they can have serious consequences and can happen in almost any industry. The biggest measure you can take to help prevent cuts and lacerations is simply being smart around sharp tools. There are, however, a few more steps you can take to ensure no one gets hurt.
In this blog, we go over seven easy steps to preventing cuts and lacerations in the workplace, especially in industrial environments.
1. Wear Protective Gear
Depending on the work being done, there is a variety of protective gear that can help prevent cuts and lacerations. This gear includes gloves, eye protection, and long sleeve shirts. Protective gloves need to be cut-resistant so that even an accident has less of a chance of causing injury.
It’s your responsibility as the employer to provide your employees with proper gloves and eye protection, and you should remind employees to wear them.
2. Use the Correct Tools
Each tool has its correct use, and each task has its correct tool. Never use the wrong tool for the wrong task. For example, don’t use a knife as a screwdriver. Take the time necessary to find a screwdriver. When you try to save time by using a knife instead, you risk the knife slipping in your grip and causing injury.
3. Use Proper Guards for Tools
Every tool with a sharp edge has a guard or sleeve where the tool should be stored while it’s not in use. If a guard breaks or falls off, replace it as quickly as possible. Sturdy and reliable guards can protect you and your employees from accidents and carelessness. Keep knives and other portable sharp tools in sleeves that are cut-resistant, especially if you need to carry the tool around with you.
4. Keep the Work Area Clean
When your work area is messy, drops and spills can happen more easily and items get lost. In many cases, lacerations occur due to a misstep near sharp equipment, so keep the area clear of cords, clutter, and slippery substances.
Sometimes, lost items are sharp, and while someone is looking around for something in the mess, he or she may get cut. Always clean up after every task. Have every employee end the day by picking the area up a little and putting tools back in their proper place.
5. Decrease the Amount of Force Needed
The more force used when cutting something, the higher the risk that the tool will slip. Train your employees to cut thicker materials with several passes, increasing the downward pressure with each pass. Also, make sure to check the sharpness of each cutting tool regularly and replace or sharpen them as soon as they get dull.
6. Use Tagout or Lockout Procedures
Before any repair, cleaning, or adjustment, cut off all power on a piece of machinery. This step means more than just simply turning the equipment off. You may also need to unplug the equipment or cover the power button to avoid accidental start-ups. Be sure to continue wearing all protective gear when repairing, cleaning, or adjusting equipment.
7. Train Employees
Above all, train your employees on proper practices to avoid cuts and lacerations. Train new employees thoroughly, and train employees who advance to positions that require more care. Only have employees you trust, who have experience, and who are professional do the tasks that require using sharp tools. Regularly hold trainings to remind employees of these procedures, to keep the policies fresh in their memories.
To learn more about the safety equipment Queen City Material Handling Equipment provides, go to our safety solutions page.