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Konecranes Service Provides Tips on Manufacturing Workplace Safety

Matt Ghiloni
Health, Safety and Environment Manager of Service for U.S. Central Area

Workplace safety depends on several factors, from identifying risks, to avoiding complacency, to good housekeeping

Konecranes customers often remark on and compliment our service technicians for attention to identifying and mitigating workplace safety issues when they perform overhead crane service and repair at their manufacturing facilities.

This reflects Konecranes’ deep-rooted safety culture, which extends from our service team to our customers’ workforce. We strive to set and uphold the example when we enter a customer’s facility, never lowering our safety standards. And in the few cases when a customer’s best practice safety standards exceed ours, we follow the customer’s standards.

Be Aware of Your Surroundings

On service calls our technicians approach each facility as an unfamiliar environment, even for customers they regularly serve. On entering a facility—and before beginning a job—our technicians:

  • Find a safety officer or other on-site safety contact who can inform us about potential hazards to be aware of
  •  Conduct a point of work risk assessment (PoWRA) to identify potential hazards in the area where we will be working. A POWRA is an internal tool that Konecranes developed and uses to help employees be more aware of their surroundings any time that hazards may be present, and every time before entering a work site. If we find hazards, we don’t begin work until they are addressed and we are satisfied that we can work safely. And we take our PoWRA findings to our customer safety contact and ask if there is anything else we may not have seen that we should be aware of.

In a point of work risk assessment, our technicians:

  • Identify escape routes, tornado shelters, eye wash stations and emergency contact numbers
  • Determine whether we have all of the proper tools for the job and if they are properly prepared. For instance, if we’re using a hand grinder, does it have the right type of grinding wheel, is the safety guard on, and does the release switch work properly so power cuts out when finger pressure is removed?
  • Look for slip, trip and fall risks and ergonomic issues
  • Assess forklift, crane and pedestrian traffic
  • Determine energy sources that need to be locked out, tagged out and tried out (to verify a zero energy state) before work can begin

Through a PoWRA we identify the hazards and then determine how to mitigate them as much as possible.  For instance, if we see that traffic is an issue, we put up signs and barricades to route traffic around the work area.

Step Back and Reassess

In much the same way that Konecranes technicians conduct PoWRAs, factory personnel should conduct pre-work assessments of their work areas through a job safety analysis, essentially treating their work environment as unfamiliar territory. After all, any work environment can change from one shift to the next. Say, a maintenance employee recently changed an electrical switch. Or someone on second shift left a pallet out where someone could trip over it.

If you just walk in and start your job without truly assessing your area, you could get seriously hurt.

Similarly, when a customer’s job process or environmental conditions change, Konecranes reassesses the situation, as hazards and risks may also change. Again, someone could get seriously hurt if we don’t take the time to stop, step back and reassess.

As a further step in assuring safety, Konecranes supervisors visit job sites to conduct spot checks and observe Konecranes technicians to make certain they are following safety protocols. In serving our customers, safety is at the forefront of every conversation.

Don’t Get Too Comfortable

One of the greatest workplace safety hazards is complacency. Bad habits develop from complacency and the belief that a bad outcome won’t happen to you.

It’s common to say, “I do this every day” and think that you can get by without wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) this one time. But that could turn out to be the time you really needed your safety glasses or protective gloves.

Every $1 spent on PPE results in $4 saved through injury prevention. In a manufacturing setting, complacency can kill, or at least do harm.

Many workplace fatalities involve head injuries caused by a slip, trip or fall from less than four feet. Even the smallest accident can be dangerous if we’re not careful.

Regular training can help avoid complacency among employees, reinforcing the purpose of precautionary measures and the fact that we want them to go home safely every night.

The Importance of Tidying Up

One of the biggest factors in preventing accidents is really quite simple. It’s something your mother probably tried to teach you: good housekeeping. Many broken or twisted ankles and knee injuries happen because tools or pallets are left where they shouldn’t be. Keep your area organized and clean, and pick up at the end of the day for those who will be coming in after you. Save them from unfortunate surprises.

For more information about workplace safety in manufacturing facilities or about Konecranes’ service and crane safety culture, contact the Konecranes service branch in your area. 
 

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