Safety concerns and supply chain disruption

Also, while electrical safety is a prime concern, trips, slips and falls tend to be the biggest hazard.

By Kevin Parker February 17, 2022
Courtesy: CFE Media and Technology

The use of personal protective equipment (PPE) has changed in the thirty years he’s been involved with issues related to safety and training in industrial environments, said Brian Thomas, a senior safety engineer with Maumee, Ohio-based Matrix Technologies.

One thing, however, hasn’t changed: “Injuries most often happen when some individual believes that someone else or something else has responsibility for their safety,” said Thomas.

What has changed is that thirty years ago they were more likely to hand you a helmet and a pair of safety glasses and call it a day. “PPE is the last line of defense. Much better is to have the training that endows personnel with needed situational awareness,” said Thomas.

Proceed with vigor

As with many other industrial functions, a vigorous program begins with a job safety analysis (JSA) or safety audit to discover what is the case. Matrix offers more than 30 different safety courses to its clients, including from proper use of scaffolding to what to do in the event of an active shooter.

“The most popular courses tend to be around specific tasks that need to be performed, whether it be lock out/tag out procedures for cabinets to working in confined spaces,” Thomas said.

Thomas cited the oil & gas industries as being very sophisticated in terms of their awareness of safety concerns and the stress they place on safety training and noted that the food & beverage industries have come a long way in recent years. In food & beverage, product contamination is as big an issue as personnel safety.

Hazardous moments and safety concerns

When it comes to best practices for electrical safety, Thomas said that when clothing is specified to avoid arc flash it’s important that the equipment be worn properly. Due to elevated temperatures, personnel may tend to roll up their sleeves or keep the collar open. This limits the effectiveness of the safety gear. It’s also important the equipment be kept clean. “The clothing won’t burn but oil on the clothes will.”

While electrical safety is a prime concern because of the possibility of fatalities, Thomas says that trips, slips and falls tend to be the biggest hazard. Less obviously, another problem may be improper use of hearing protection, Personnel may tend to wear their ear plugs improperly, often so as to better hear the conversations around them.

Author Bio: Senior contributing editor, CFE Media