5 Safety Regulations You Need to Know
Although June is the official National Safety Month in the USA, safety is a year-round concern for today’s facility managers everywhere in the world. Given that production technologies – and the regulations related to them are continually evolving, it’s always a good idea to review some of OSHA’s key plant/warehouse safety initiatives. Here are five that everyone should be familiar with:
Keeping work areas clear of clutter and obstructions will improve safety, efficiency, and help get the facility in compliance with OSHA regulation 1910.176. Areas of emphasis include employee passageways (aisles, loading docks, etc.). Additionally, mitigating risks associated with unprotected fall hazards (open pits, tanks, etc.) will make any facility safer, while also meeting Subpart G of this OSHA standard.
To improve safety even further, consider LED communication systems that provide at-a-glance status updates at the loading dock (Corner-Vu and Leveler-Vu, as part of the Rite-Vu Hazard Recognition System) and at aisle intersections inside the plant (Safe-T-Signal). Safety gates like the GateKeeper can protect employees who encounter fall hazard risks regularly on mezzanines and elevated work platforms.
Partly due to recent changes, there’s been an extra emphasis on OSHA’s Walking-Working Surfaces rule. To comply with OSHA regulation 1910.28, employers must install a guardrail system for areas where an employee could fall 4 feet or more.
For example, nearly all loading docks have openings with a 4-foot drop (or greater). A chain across the opening will not comply with the new regulation. However, the recent development of the Dok-Guardian XL provides a 58-inch fiberglass curtain that can withstand 30,000 pounds of force – meeting the WWS regulation.
OSHA regulation 1910.900 requires employers to protect employees from risk factors such as repetition, force, awkward postures, contact stress, and vibrations. There are opportunities to automate operations that could only be accomplished manually in the past.
Facility managers should strongly consider ergonomic solutions that require only the push of a button – like using a Dok-Commander control panel to operate a Dok-Lok or hydraulic leveler, or using automated machine guarding doors, such as the Defender. Leave the back-breaking work to the machines.
Machine Guard All Hazardous Operations
Any machine that poses a risk to workers through its operation must be guarded. That’s according to OSHA regulation 1910.212(a)(3)(iii). From heavy manufacturing like welding, cutting and grinding to automated stretch wrap machines in the loading dock, OSHA wants facilities to guard those operations. Automated barrier doors provide physical safety for workers by preventing secondary hazards from flying out of work cells and restricting access to dangerous robotic movements inside the cell.
Limit Noise Exposure
OSHA understands that some facility operations are going to produce potentially hazardous noise. However, regulation 1910.95 requires extensive hearing conservation plans for any facility that exposes employees to 85 decibels or louder. If it’s not feasible to reduce sound levels in the plant through quieter equipment, there are sound-absorbing options like the Zoneworks SZ Acoustic Curtain Wall that can reduce noise by up to 22-25 decibels at a much lower cost.
Always Looking Ahead
At Rite-Hite, every month is safety month. If you’re looking to improve safety for your workers and the efficiency of your operation, consider upgrading your facility equipment by getting in touch with one of our Rite-Hite sales representatives today.