Prime Advantage, an OMNIA Partner has invited industry experts to share insights on achieving manufacturing and business success. In this post, Emily Roberts discusses how businesses can overcome the challenges of employee safety.
Health and safety on the job site is absolutely essential. Ensuring that proper health and safety procedures are in place is about much more than just meeting legal requirements, it is about ensuring that employees have access to safe working conditions and showing that you as an employer take their health and wellbeing seriously. It is also not enough to simply hand out hard hats and other articles of safety, there are a number of other important checks that should be carried out in order to guarantee the safety of your employees.
Below are three of the most important, often overlooked health checks that need to be carried out before any work begins on a jobsite.
Hand-Arm Vibration Syndrome
Hand-Arm Vibration Syndrome (HAVS) is a condition that can afflict workers who have to regularly work with heavy machinery that creates strong vibrations and can, over time, damage the tissues in the hands and arms. This tissue damage can cause a range of adverse symptoms; numbness and tingling in the fingers, which usually indicates nerve damage, it is not uncommon for senses of touch and temperature to be lost. The resulting loss of sensation can make it hard to hold and manipulate small, delicate objects.
Another common symptom of HAVS is known as ‘vibration white finger’ which can strike periodically when the circulation of blood in the hand is impaired. During one of these episodes, the fingers, and sometimes entire hand, turns white. As circulation returns, the hand can become painful.
Not everyone with HAVS will experience the same range of symptoms, and no two presentations are likely to be the same, however the response and the effects are the same for everyone. Those who have been diagnosed with HAVS will have trouble carrying out certain tasks, particularly those that involve the delicate operation of machinery. If an employee starts showing symptoms of HAVS you should immediately take them away from any machinery that is likely to exacerbate the problem and have them checked out at a hospital. If exposure is stopped early, then the condition may be reversed, but this often takes a long time.
Exposure to Dust
Dust is a common by-product of many processes on a construction site and the danger it poses is regularly overlooked by both employees and managers. Exposure to dust can cause many symptoms, depending on the exact composition of the dust, but any inhalation of foreign objects should be avoided. The most effective way of minimising exposure to dust is to invest in proper breathing apparatus and containment products. If you know your project is going to produce a lot of dust, take a look into these Trimaco dust containment products which can be used on doors or to separate a room.
Occupational dermatitis refers to a number of similar skin diseases which manifest as a result of exposure to certain toxins. Latex, rubber chemicals, and certain soaps and cleaners, among others are common triggers. If any of your workers notice or report unusual textures or discoloration of the skin, then you should immediately try and work with them to identify the trigger and immediately reduce or eliminate their exposure to that substance.
Ensuring that your employees are safe and that any health issues are promptly responded to is an essential part of fulfilling your obligations to their health and safety on site.