Today we are going to wrap up our safety series. We have covered the purpose of safety in the workplace, appropriate safety dress, and housekeeping. Now we will cover safe work practices and fire prevention.
Safe work practices always involve knowing your surroundings. You should always keep your “head on a swivel” so to speak. Who is near you? What are they doing? Is there a potential for their work or your work interfering and causing a safety hazard? Do you have some form of safety barrier up such as a rope or sign while doing a hazardous function to prevent other workers from inadvertently walking into your work area? If working at a height, are you tied off with a harness and rope? Do you have a catch basin or net below to catch falling objects?
When lifting a heavy object, are you using safe lifting practices? Don’t be a “he-man” when lifting a heavy object. Ask for help. Always protect your back. You only have one. Safe lifting practices include:
- Check your immediate area to ensure it’s clear of any obstacles that may cause tripping.
- Assume a squatting position with the knees bent and the back straight.
- Pull the object you are lifting in towards your body. Don’t keep it extended out from you causing an imbalance.
- Lift using your leg muscles and not your back.
- If you must set the object back on the floor at another location, do the safe lifting practice in reverse keeping your back straight and using your legs.
Another way to protect your back is to always try to do your work at a waist level or slightly higher bench. Some parts that you’re working on can be placed on a bench and is more favorable to your back then bending over constantly doing the work. If the part you’re working on is below your waist and you cannot lift it onto a bench, then consider kneeling or squatting while doing the work, taking frequent breaks to stretch your legs.
Though we might enjoy working with our co-workers, horseplay is just out of the question. In an industrial setting, there is just too many opportunities for an accident. People do get hurt during horseplay and is not appropriate for the workplace. I once saw a young woman who was employed at a water park get injured during horseplay. It was the last day of the season and a group of employees were horsing around chasing each other with squirt guns. The girl slipped on the wet pavement and ended up getting reconstruction surgery on her face due to her injuries. A bad ending to an otherwise celebratory day for the crew.
Also make note where the eye wash and shower stations are. Do you know how to operate them? If not, request an inservice on it.
Do you know where the fire extinguishers are at your workplace? Do you know how to work one? Are the extinguishers visible or hidden by clutter? Are their inspection stickers up to date?
You should also know where the ELSA masks, exits, and marshaling areas are. In the event of an emergency requiring evacuation, you should already have an idea where to go and how to get there.
Safety is an everyday practice for the aerospace technician. Though it is the responsibility of your employer to provide safety equipment, training, etc., it is your responsibility to practice safe habits and to expect it of your co-workers. Remember, the ultimate goal of each and every work day to return home to your loved ones unharmed after each shift.