There isn’t an employer in existence that shouldn’t consider slips and falls to be a significant safety concern in its facilities. In an article about overlooked hazards and risk zones in the workplace, Facility Executive magazine cites some sobering numbers: Same-level slip and fall accidents are the leading cause of workplace injuries and totaled almost 200,000 in 2015, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Those types of falls racked up nearly $11 billion in medical costs and workers’ compensation claims in 2016 alone, as reported in the 2017 Liberty Mutual Workplace Safety Index.
Many industry experts, insurance companies and workplace safety publications seem to be in agreement about the best way to combat this problem. Occupational safety and health magazine EHS Today places good housekeeping practices at the top of its list of tips for establishing effective fall safety in the manufacturing industry. In a list compiled by contracting company Interstate Restoration and published by national insurance underwriter Property Casualty 360, keeping walkways clean and free of clutter is the number one way a business can reduce slips, trips and falls.
Today’s industrial manufacturers are especially susceptible to this safety hazard. Larger operations typically generate thousands of pounds of metal chips, shavings, grindings and turnings for every metal part they machine. In doing so, they use similarly large amounts of heavy-flow flood coolant to facilitate faster cutting send the scrap material away from the tool. When you consider how many parts a high-volume operation machines per day – and the fact that all that scrap and coolant ends up on the shop floor – it doesn’t take a workplace safety expert to realize that perpetually cluttered, wet walking surfaces present a problem.
Manually removing these massive amounts of material isn’t a viable option for two reasons: it’s not possible for human workers to keep pace with the volume, and making them push or lift heavy loads increases the potential for back strain and other types of physical ailments. The point is to reduce workplace injuries, not add to them.
Lower-volume operations aren’t immune to these issues; they still deal with scrap and coolant on the shop floor, just on a smaller scale. But it doesn’t take much of either material to cause an accident.
To reduce slips and falls in industrial operations that are largely automated, it makes sense to automate the chip and fluid removal process as well. PRAB offers a variety of conveying solutions for moving your material and will work with you to determine which is the best selection for your specific application. Here’s how some of them can help keep your shop floor free of metal scrap and coolant, and your workers safe from hazards:
With updated OSHA standards in effect that require employers to regularly inspect their facilities for slip, trip and fall hazards, preventing these types of accidents has never been more necessary. For industrial operations, moving scrap metal and coolant away from walking and working surfaces as quickly as possible is important to achieving increased safety. Partnering with PRAB to implement conveying solutions is a giant step toward protecting your workers from injury. In the process, you can protect your business from significant liability and medical costs, lost productivity and potentially irreparable damage to your reputation.