Within the engineering industry there are thousands of accidents that happen each year. Therefore, safety when working as an engineer is paramount in order to help minimise these risks. We will take a look at five sections related to engineering where safety is crucial:

  • Electricity

When you are in a workplace you will be surrounded by electricity. It powers lighting, equipment, lifts etc. To ensure the safe use of electricity, testing is carried out to check and test some of the following areas: diagnostic fault testing, routine safety checks, quality tests to ensure the safety of appliances and troubleshooting if a fault occurs. It is advisable that’s safety checks take place on an annual basis. Electrical faults can be very dangerous if they occur. For instance, if live wires are exposed they pose a safety risk and can cause electrocution, the same can be said for metal areas that have not been earthed correctly as these could potentially carry a high voltage.

  • Vehicles

Vehicle safety is something that should not be taken for granted. Most commercial vehicles have a procedure that you must follow for safe operation. There may even be guidelines in place for their safety operation. An example of safety operation is forklifts trucks as forklift trucks can be very dangerous if not used correctly. They will have a maximum lift weight which should not be exceeded as this could result in making the forklift truck unstable, thus causing an injury. With forklift trucks it is important that proper training is given to the operator. This training doesn’t just cover the operation as it also covers a safety section.

In some cases, you will also be given training on how to use safety equipment related to the job role that you are in. Safety belts harnesses and lanyards are something that an operator of a forklift truck may use, but it is sensible for a forklift truck driver to not wear their lanyard when operating the truck, as it is a potential strangulation hazard. Remember to think outside the box with safety hazards as well. For example, you might pick up a plastic diesel tank for sale for your vehicle, but not remember to strap it in correctly, or find a safe place for it.

  • Slips and Trips

The standard slips and trips in any workplace are so commonplace that they are almost impossible to eliminate. If you work in an office for example, the chances of a slip or trip should be fairly minimal. It is worth taking note of your surroundings to see if you can spot any potential hazards. An example of a hazard that you may not have noticed include, bags left on a floor, badly joined carpet or tiles, wrinkled up rugs or wet tiled floors.

However, if you work in an engineering workshop, the risks increase significantly. Although you would expect an engineering floor to be kept clean, there is often a chance of oil spillages. This would increase the likelihood of a slip or a trip in an engineering environment so extra precautions need to be taken. You need to look out for warning signs, especially in high risk areas.

  • Manual Handling

Whenever you are in a situation where you will be required to undertake some manual handling you will need to have had some robust training. Accidents through manual handling are very common. Some of the following are accidents which can occur when manual handling:

  • Abrasions
  • Dermatitis
  • Fractures
  • Cuts
  • Infected wounds
  • Amputations.

Even the smallest of accidents can cause an injury. Some of the hazards that you may encounter include:

  • Machinery with sharp edges may require maintenance and contact with these sharp edges can cause injury.
  • Machines with moving parts could end up trapping clothing so it is important that you don’t wear anything that hangs i.e. a tie, scarf, jewellery etc. This is one of the reasons why some companies have a specific uniform.
  • Other machinery such as presses, lathes and guillotines can also cause a potential injury.

In order to reduce risks related to manual handling, it is worth going through a list to see where any potential risks are and trying to eliminate them or at best, reduce them. It is impossible to reduce the risks on certain machinery as some machinery is dangerous by nature. This is where safety instructions and guidance are very important. Even something as simple as using gloves may help.

  • Machinery

In an engineering environment, many accidents involve machinery. The types of machinery that are used in engineering environments have different operations. Below are some examples of these:

  • Grinding: a grinder consists of an abrasive wheel and this aspect is what can cause an injury, therefore extra precautions are need by having guards and other protective equipment such as goggles when operating a grinder.
  • Bending: a bending machine is used to bend materials. When using these machines, it is advisable to use protective guards around the moving parts. Again, similar to grinding, safety goggles are also recommended when using this machinery.
  • Pressing: pressing machinery works by using hydraulic pressure to press or squash materials. With machinery such as this it is crucial that a safety guard is put in place before the machine is operated. Therefore, the machinery cannot be used unless the guard has been put in use.
  • Sawing: when using a commercial cutting saw you need to make sure that fixed guards are in place before operation. The only section that should be visible is the cutting edge that needs to be actually used as this will eliminate any unnecessary injuries.
  • Turning: turning machinery such as lathes have many moving parts and fast-moving belts. By nature, some of these are exposed which can cause a risk of tangling. For this reason, safety clothing needs to be worn and signage needs to be on display.

Risks in an engineering environment are higher than other environments such as an office. Therefore, in order to keep yourself safe, you must adhere to all safety rules and regulations which will have been set out by a health and safety executive.