Industrial accidents are all too common, and many of them involve machinery. Yet most of these incidents are preventable. Whether you have been a machine operator for years or are just getting started, always follow these important safety tips.
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
PPE is one of the best ways to protect yourself on the job. Depending on the exact nature of the machine you are using, safety gear could include anything from ear protection to heavy work gloves. Your employer should provide the necessary equipment, and you should refuse to work without it.
Never operate a machine that you haven’t been trained to operate. Even if you are an experienced machine operator and have used similar machinery before, every model has its own quirks. Insist on proper training, including what to do if things go awry.
Your employer may not have a dress code, but machine operators must be especially careful. Any loose items could get caught in the machine, with potentially serious complications. Tie back long hair. Skip the long, flowing sleeves in favor of close-fitted outfits. Leave the jewelry at home.
You should be trained on standard operating procedures for set-up, operation, cleaning, and maintenance. Do not deviate from these procedures without authorization.
Before operating any machine, give it a quick inspection. Do not use the machine if any safety items, such as guards, have been removed or if any safety device has been overridden. Use extra caution when you first turn the machine on, carefully looking or listening for anything unusual.
If your work involves repetitive motions, you could be at risk for carpal tunnel syndrome or similar conditions. Talk to your supervisor about best practices for prevention. Also, be careful of any bending or twisting movements, as well as heavy lifting. Make sure you are using proper techniques.
Keep the work area tidy and free of clutter. Clean up any spills right away. Tripping and slipping are common workplace accidents, and they can be a lot worse when heavy machinery is involved. As a machine operator, you’ll need to take pride in ownership of your own workstation as well as the machines you use.
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