Industrial workspaces and labs typically contain a myriad assortment of hazardous materials. There are also situations and processes that pose risks, including chemical processes, excessive heat or cold, transference of fragile containers and materials, controlled viruses, and even the presence of lab animals. Safety and protection of the environment and workers must take precedence over everything else, and begins with the right workspace design. Here are some valuable tips on supporting safety and protection in your workspace.
Display Abundant Signage
Employees that are accustomed to the workspace generally know where the hazards are in a lab or industrial area. They can easily avoid dangers while they work; almost unconsciously. But newer employees, part-timers and even visitors won’t automatically be aware of where the dangers lie. Avoid accidents by displaying abundant cautionary signage everywhere there is a danger. These may include signs cautioning about extreme temperatures, overhead heavy loads, airborne particles, and toxic chemicals. Be sure to display instructional signage as well, such as, “Mask Required Beyond This Point,” “Do Not Handle Without Gloves,” etc.
Create Multiple Emergency Stations
Most labs and industrial workspaces supply a fire extinguisher in case of a fire. But you can step up your safety preparedness by creating multiple emergency stations. Set up each station with duplicate emergency supplies such as a properly-rated fire extinguisher, first-aid kit, water for flushing eyes or skin, bucket for hazardous waste, and emergency telephone. Consider the location of your lab’s most dangerous areas, and install at least one emergency station near those. Be sure to restock and confirm operational status of the emergency supplies on a regular basis.
Provide Adequate Personal Protective Equipment
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is an OSHA requirement for workspaces that contain hazardous materials. Every responsible employer will require the donning of such PPE as gloves, haz mat suits, goggles, etc. when necessary. Unfortunately, what often happens over time is this gear gets lost, misplaced or simply runs out. Complacent employees may actually go without PPE rather than reporting that supplies need to be replenished. Then, when an accident occurs, preventable injuries occur. Avoid this scenario by managing PPE with a rigid schedule. Appoint one employee to be in charge of inventory control and ordering so that your workspace is never short of PPE.
These simple safety and protection actionable tips should be implemented as soon as possible in order to protect your workspace and your employees.