We can dance if we want to-Men Without Hats, “The Safety Dance” (1982)
We can leave your friends behind
‘Cause your friends don’t dance
And if they don’t dance
Well, they’re no friends of mine.
Safety is like a dance party (remember those?). When the floor is bouncing, the people in the know bounce with it. If you’re on the sidelines and not dancing to the safety beat, you’re not just out of step with the vibe, you’re out of touch with the whole scene.
At Thermal-Vac Technology, we take safety very seriously, and it is not something we dance around.
For our team, safety is no luxury: it’s a necessity. The equipment on our shop floor generates enormous heat and pressure. Toxic fumes and dangerous materials are par for the course. To stay safe, operators need to work with practiced precision and clear heads.
How to dance to the beat
Let’s go over some essential safety habits while working on the shop floor.
Before any work is performed, everyone involved in the job needs a complete understanding of their role and the steps they will complete. The planning stage is the time to identify and address potential hazards in a specific process.
In our business, details are everything. These are some of the questions we ask ourselves at the planning stage to ensure we’re meeting our safety goals:
- What materials and equipment are needed to complete the task?
- Have the operators reviewed Safety Data Sheets (SDS) of all the products and materials they plan to use?
- Who is the most qualified person to do the task?
- If two or more people are working on the same job, who will perform which parts of the job?
- What specialized equipment is required to safely complete the task?
Check the workspace area.
You have your plan, and now it is time to review and set up your workspace.
- Does your workspace have the right equipment, tools, and materials to do the job?
- Are ventilation systems working correctly?
- Have you located the nearest safety equipment, i.e., fire extinguisher, eye wash, exits?
- During the SDS review, did you identify any additional precautions to be taken during the task? Do you have the equipment?
- Do you have proper containers for waste disposal?
Check safety equipment.
The next step is to look at your personal protective equipment (PPE) that you will be using when performing a task.
- Do you have the right protective clothing and eyewear and hearing protection for the tasks?
- Does the PPE fit properly? Is the equipment in good working condition?
- Are you properly trained to use each piece of PPE you’ll need to complete the job?
Prevent motion injuries.
We do physical work with heavy parts and big tools. We repeat certain procedures many times per day. As a consequence, our industry is no stranger to injuries to backs, joints, and muscles. The good news is that injuries like these can be prevented. Protecting your body requires following some simple but powerful rules, like these:
- Do not work in one position for a long time
- Perform the work at a comfortable height
- Have your materials and tools located nearby for easy access
Be prepared to stop.
Empowering employees to stop work in response to a hazard is a key component of end-to-end safety. At Thermal-Vac, we trust our team to stop work whenever they have safety concerns, even if it will ding the bottom line. It’s one of the reasons we don’t generally do so-called “rush jobs.” Our work can’t be rushed, not just because working quickly comes at the expense of quality, but also because it compromises safety.
Get the job done right
Everybody’s taking the chance
Oh well, the safety dance
Ah yes, the safety dance
These lyrics aren’t exactly poetry, but if they get a song about safety stuck in your head for an afternoon, we’ll call it a mission accomplished.
At Thermal-Vac we strive for constant improvement in all aspects of our work, and we want to help other businesses do the same thing. What approaches does your business take to safety? Give us a shout to start a conversation.