Manufacturing plants and mills in Alabama are full of people working hard to make a decent living. Unfortunately, dealing with heavy machinery opens up the possibility of accidents and life-altering injuries. Even routine maintenance on factory floors can become hazardous without adequate precautions.
The electrical dangers of mill maintenance
Any machine that runs on electricity presents a potential hazard. Regular maintenance often involves getting close to the moving parts of a device. If someone activates the machine while it is receiving care, the resulting workplace injuries can be tragic, and workers’ compensation will be awarded to help with the recovery process.
Electrocution is a critical concern when working with energized assets. Even though the machine may be powered down, unintentional contact may release stored energy from ungrounded components. In the worst case, this hazardous energy erupts in a highly dangerous arc flash.
Some of the workers’ compensation claims associated with electrical releases include:
- Second and third-degree burns
- Eye damage
- Nerve damage
- Cardiac arrest
- Fall injuries after a shock
Preventing electrical hazards during machinery maintenance
The first step in preventing injuries during machine maintenance is developing an electrical safety plan. This policy will list safety protocols employees must follow when servicing machinery. By creating a safety checklist, the mill can prevent unexpected electricity releases.
Wearing adequate personal protective equipment (PPE) is another safety step. Maintenance crews should rate every machine for its potential danger and ensure the facility provides appropriate gear.
Robust lockout/tagout (LOTO) policies are essential to employee safety. LOTO devices restrain switches and breakers in the off position, preventing workers from unintentionally energizing machines while under service. However, employees must use them consistently throughout the facility to promote safety.
Keeping employees safe through training
Policies and procedures will only be effective if employees receive appropriate training. Facilities must offer regular safety training sessions as part of onboarding and continuing education efforts. Education and awareness are the primary tools for promoting a safe work environment.