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Tips for keeping chemical manufacturing workers safer

Employees working at chemical manufacturing plants in Oklahoma and around the country face possible threats to their safety each workday. An accident with a hazardous chemical could result in catastrophic and life-threatening injuries. There are strategies, however, that could reduce or prevent these injuries from occurring.

The common types of injuries at these plants are chemical burns, inhalation of chemicals and chemical exposure. Employees can also suffer injuries from overexertion, trips and falls and scrapes and cuts. The causes of accidents at these plants include incorrectly maintaining safety equipment, improper training, and complacency or human error. Safety equipment that is incorrectly maintained could malfunction, possibly leading to serious accidents that could put employees in harm's way. Likewise, employees who are improperly trained are more susceptible to injuries, since they may not know the right procedures regarding the operation of safety equipment as well as loading and unloading materials. Proper training can also prepare employees to know what to do in the event of an emergency. However, most accidents in chemical manufacturing plants happen because employees fail to follow their company's safety procedures or because they took shortcuts.

Chemical manufacturing plant employers and supervisors can improve their fall protection plan by using three strategies: installing custom safety equipment, improving workplace safety at loading and unloading areas and training employees on proper safety procedures. Custom safety equipment that is easy to use typically encourages employees to use it, which in turn could reduce the risk of injuries. Employees who struggle with equipment are more prone to take shortcuts. When it comes to dangerous chemicals, employees should be trained be aware of these dangers and how to avoid them by correctly using fall prevention equipment and wearing protective clothing while working.

Source: Reliable Plant, "How to Prevent Injuries in Chemical Manufacturing Plants", March 5, 2017

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