Safety In The Workshop
Workshops can be some of the most hazardous, high risk places to work. That is is why strong workshop safety management is so vital.
Key questions to ask about your workshop safety.
- Is your workshop safety manual up-to-date?
- When did you last conduct a workshop safety risk assessment?
- How up to date is your staff safety training?
- How do you ensure you keep informed about the latest safety legislation relevant for your working environment?
Contact Safety for Work today to request a FREE mini safety audit
Common Workshop Safety Issues
Slips, Trips and Falls in the Workshop – One of the most common workshop safety issues are accidents from slipping, tripping or falling. Workshop machinery adds a more dangerous element to the mix. Good housekeeping and staff safety training can prevent a vast amount of these injuries.
Workshop Transport Safety – The most common form of transport used in the workshop is the forklift truck. Heavy goods vehicles can also be brought into the workshop when dispatching or receiving goods as can specialised equipment such as diggers and mobile cranes for tasks such as the installation or maintenance of machinery. Extra care and attention is needed from both staff and drivers to prevent accidents happening. Accidents can also happen when loading or unloading delivery vehicles. Fumes from vehicles need to be properly ventilated to avoid workplace pollution.
Manual Handling Safety in the Workshop – Manual handling is more than just lifting heavy items – it includes putting down, pushing, pulling, carrying or moving of a load.
Safer Manual Handling -To avoid the hazards presented by manual handling, you will need to investigate whether manual handling can be eliminated or reduced.
Solutions could involve:
- Adequate training on safe manual handling techniques for relevant staff
- Mechanical handling to eliminate the need for manual handling
- Mechanical assistance such as manual or electrical hoists or pneumatic platforms to assist the manual handling
Exposure to hazardous substances can occur during most workshop operations but frequently occurs during:
- Machining where the material being machined causes harmful dust or may give off toxic fumes
- Welding, where the heating of metal gives off hazardous fumes
- Painting where the vapour from paint thinners or solvents may be hazardous
- Cleaning and degreasing where solvents can be hazardous.
It is a legal requirement that LEV (local exhaust ventilation) equipment is examined and tested every 14 months. If metal articles are abraded or polished for more than 12 hours a week then testing needs to be every 6 months.
Workshop Equipment Safety
Employers need ensure that work equipment, of any age or source, is safe to use and its use does not result in any health and safety risks.
The definition of work equipment is very wide and includes:
- Hand tools
- Workshop machinery
- Office machinery
- Lab equipment
- Lifting equipment
- General use equipment such as ladders and steps
- A series of machines connected together in a manufacturing line.
It would be unreasonable for an employer to allow an employee to work in a workshop alone. Two employees should be sited close enough together to communicate in the case of an emergency.
Workshop Noise Risks & Noise Risk Assessments
An employer has a duty to protect employees from excessive noise. If you cannot hear a person speaking 2m away in a normal voice anywhere in the workshop then the noise is likely to be 85dB(A) or above and a noise survey should be carried out.
Noise risk assessments are available from Safety for Work Ltd – click here
Electrical Safety in the Workshop
Electricity is used extensively in all workshops often at a higher voltage, 415v, than domestic supplies. PAT (portable appliance testing) needs to be conducted regularly.
The dangers from electricity can come from Portable Electrical Equipment
If at all possible, portable electrical equipment should be operating at voltages of 50v AC or less.
Leads, plugs and sockets are often a source of accidents. Problems usually arise from damage to the insulation on the lead or strain on the connection into the plug.
Personal Protective Equipment – including Work clothing
A significant contribution to safety in the workshop can be made by personnel being dressed appropriately.