Oct 01

Ensuring Workplace Safety in High-Risk Industries

Workplace safety is one of the most important issues to most employers, since providing a safe work environment is essential to the smooth operation of any business. However, some industries are more prone to accidents. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the industries most prone to worker injuries and deaths are meat packing, automotive manufacturing and oil production/refining. While other industries also have accidents and injuries, those listed are considered the most high-risk when it comes to worker safety. However, even in these risky environments, many ideas can be implemented to ensure workplace safety.

Meat Packing

Since most slaughterhouses operate 24/7, employees are pressured by time constraints to do their jobs as quickly as possible. Despite most of the packing process being automated, many workers must still use hand knives to carve up pieces of meat. As a result, injuries such as carpal tunnel syndrome happen frequently, as do serious cuts from workers who mishandle sharp knives and other equipment. To ensure worker safety in this industry, many companies are providing additional training on proper use of knives, as well as focusing on preventing workplace injuries. Many companies have formed ergonomic advisory committees made up of employees, allowing input from those doing the job. As a result, accidents and injuries have decreased by as much as 40% in many plants.

Oil Production and Refining

In this industry, accidental fires are often the main cause of worker injury or death. Improper training on the use of chemicals, lack of firefighting equipment on-site and a lack of monitoring equipment to alert workers about potential hazards have been a big part of the problem. To guard against fires and explosions happening at facilities, oil and gas contractors are now installing highly sensitive monitoring equipment and creating larger and better-trained internal fire departments to handle potential problems.

Auto Building

With high levels of physical activity and the pressure to keep pace on a production line, the automotive industry is one of the most hazardous to workers. Many workers are required to work in tight spaces while using welding equipment and other tools, with the result being many workers sustaining cuts, burns and sometimes broken bones. To make things safer, many employers are now offering classroom instruction for new employees and requiring those in high-risk jobs to wear gloves, steel-toed shoes and face masks to guard against burns or related injuries.

By listening to worker concerns and implementing improved safety programs, even the most high-risk jobs can be made safer for those working hard for their money.

Informational Credit to Trailhead Engineering, LLC


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