[2013 | Keywords: Regulatory Compliance, OSHA]
According to Ralph Nader (consumer advocate) there are no such things as “accidents.” Every “incident” can be traced back to a cause. I’m not sure whether I agree with Ralph entirely, but he does make a good point. Looking around your plant, warehouse or office, how many “incidents” do you see waiting to happen? How many do you not see? If one “incident” could be prevented, what would be the ensuing value in terms of less loss time, lower insurance premiums, saving a friend’s or co-worker’s life?
Take this quick test to see if your facility is as safe as it could be.
Do you know whether the exits that serve your facility are clearly marked “EXIT” with appropriate sized letters, or if doorways that could be confused as exits are marked “NO EXIT?” Are the paths leading to exits clearly marked and free of obstructions?
Are you sure that your fire extinguishers are fully charged and mounted properly in the appropriate locations? Do you know whether your fire extinguishers have been visually inspected monthly or had an annual maintenance check?
Are you certain that accessible moving parts and pinch points (e.g. pulleys, shafts, sprockets, chain or belt drives, fan blades, etc.) are property guarded? Are you certain machine guards will prevent an employee’s body from accidentally coming in contact with moving parts?
Do you know if all electrical outlet boxes have cover plates? Do you know if electrical panels are clearly labeled and the markings indicating the ON/OFF positions of disconnecting fuses or circuit breakers are legible? Are flexible extension cords used only in temporary situations and never in place of permanent wiring?
Flammable & Combustible Liquids
Are “NO SMOKING” signs posted in the area of storage tanks? Are storage tanks grounded against static and other electrical charges during transfer?
No one operates a business with the intention of violating federal regulations. It happens. We fail to stay in tune with OSHA’s Standards (and we all know there are plenty of standards to stay in tune with). Second, and more importantly, it makes you aware of unsafe work conditions. As a facility ages, machinery wears and is damaged, equipment is modified and plants revamped, excess material and debris are stockpiled – any of these situations can lead to an unsafe work environment that becomes invisible to the employees around them. And just because a facility is new, doesn’t mean that it is safe. Many new facilities are constructed with built-in hazards. These are especially dangerous because no one has the benefit of experience on their side.