Where would we be without machines? The advent of mechanics has saved countless millions of man-hours, reducing the need to toil and enabling mankind to achieve incredible things. Machines drove the industrial revolution that led to the liberation from terrible working conditions, greater equality and increased leisure time.
However, with such power and force comes danger too. Machines have been the cause of many injuries and deaths in the workplace. Unthinking and unfeeling, they simply do what they have been constructed to do. And if anything gets in their way, it can have serious consequences, which is why you need to exercise care and attention when working in their presence.
By focusing, knowing the risks, and following the rules, there is no reason why man and machine can’t live harmoniously side-by-side. With that in mind, here are five things to avoid when working in close proximity to machinery.
Training is Key
Although many machines are fairly user friendly, if you don’t know how to use them then it’s best not to try. Always wait for adequate training from the right person before you attempt to use any machinery. Even if you’ve seen it done a thousand times, let someone go over how it works with you before giving it a go yourself.
Tie Your Hair Back
Having long hair is fine, but it’s not so great when it gets caught in the machinery. At best it’s going to hurt when it’s ripped out. A lot. At worst…well, you don’t want to think about that. The same goes for loose clothes and jewellery. It might look nice, but being dragged into a powerful machine is not so cool.
Personal Protective Equipment
Machines do break down, parts come loose and excess material can come out. That’s why wearing goggles is always a good idea. Other machines will require gloves, respirators and other PPE. You should always know what equipment is necessary, use it properly and ensure beforehand that it is in good working order.
Stick to the Rules
As we’ve mentioned, machines are designed and programmed to perform specific tasks. Just because we can adapt to achieve different things don’t assume a machine can do the same. Using a machine for anything other than what it is supposed to do is a risky business. Even if it might save you time, it’s never a good idea.
Never Put Your Hand In
It might sound like something your mum used to say to you, but it is good advice. Even if you think it’s safe or the machine is turned off, put your hand in and there is a chance it’s not coming out again. Machines are powerful and can still move or close when turned off. Many have blades, chains or other connecting parts that won’t think twice about taking off a finger or thumb. Always wait for a trained mechanic or repairman to service any faults.
As you can see, it’s all pretty basic stuff, and the list goes on and on. Essentially, use your common sense, follow the rules and try not to work alone with machinery and you will significantly reduce the risk.