Nearly all industrial work carries with it some inherent risk. When you’re working with contractors, fabricators, suppliers, and more, don’t you want to partner with those that are committed to safety?
The steel manufacturing industry is one such industry that entails certain hazards. In fact, steel has a higher rate of injuries than other manufacturing fields (this includes companies that manufacture medium to heavy steel/metal products used in the construction of buildings, civil works, crane facilities, which encompass structural beams, posts and columns, screw piles, crane base stools, crane grillage as well as metal works and frames such as doors, gates, window frames, staircases, trusses, scaffolding, wall stiffeners and shelving). A company like HARD BAKKA cannot thrive without a serious emphasis on safety. We are a team that places safe work as our highest priority, and we’re constantly looking for ways to make our workplaces even safer.
Curious what safety issues are relevant in steel fabrication? Today, we talk steel safety, and show how we’re committed to doing better than ever.
Steel Manufacturing at a Glance
Statistics don’t hide the fact that steel manufacturers face a number of risks and hazards. In Australia, a survey showed that the structural metal product manufacturing industry had the highest incidence rate of serious claims, which was more than twice the rate of the manufacturing industry as a whole and more than four times the national average for all industries. In the years 2009 and 2010, the structural steel industry reported 52.3 serious claims per 1000 workers.
It is clear that a greater commitment to safety is needed across the whole of the steel fabrication industry. But what is contributing to these alarming statistics?
Impacts on Safety
Why is the steel fabrication industry showing such startling numbers?
While structural steel fabrication and welding pose inherent hazards, the right safety systems can significantly mitigate associated dangers. It is a lack of these systems (or systems which fall short) that contributes to a greater risk of injury in the workplace.
These systems may be insufficient or lacking due to the following:
- A push for higher productivity
Steel fabricators who are emphasising faster work or greater output may be pushing safety to the wayside.
- A belief in a shared safety responsibility
Some company owners are placing too much responsibility on the shoulders of employees: employees who may lack the training, experience, or knowledge necessary to ensure their own safety
- Smaller businesses have less time and resources to dedicate to safety
Modest companies in the steel fabrication industry may feel that they lack the funds to invest in safety, including training for workers or purchasing better, newer equipment.
- Not enough knowledge of local/state standards and laws
While it is no excuse, some steel manufacturers don’t possess the necessary knowledge of existing industry legalities. This can lead to safety protocols that don’t meet acceptable standards.
- Steel fabricators not sharing knowledge with other SMEs, no focus on regulatory bodies/organisations
Players in the steel industry may not be communicating enough or discussing common practices and standards. Fabricators may not be a part of steel industry organisations.
Safety Essentials for Steel Manufacturers
The entirety of steel fabrication health and safety elements cannot be covered in this brief blog post, but here are a few of the primary ideas (If you’re looking to work with a NSW steel fabricator, they should incorporate these elements at a minimum).
- Standard operating procedures
Steel fabricators should be working in a methodical manner that includes 100% adherence to WHS regulations. On a basic level, this includes checklists, a set of standards for best practices, and comprehensive documents covering everything from start to finish. A company’s systems and standard operating procedures should all be designed to identify and minimise risks and hazards.
- Onsite risk management
Full and professional risk management must be continually operated at work sites. If multiple contractors and companies are working together, ongoing communication and cooperation regarding risk management is essential.
- Traffic management
As a secondary element in onsite risk management, traffic management should be employed to prevent roadside hazards as well as accidents involving onsite equipment.
Personal protective equipment that is rated for the work, fits securely, and meets industry standards.
- Skills re: crane & gantry structures
A common risk control in the steel industry includes the use of vehicles and lifting equipment, such as gantry cranes to move materials around the worksite. This necessitates securing proper training on this equipment for all who use it.
- New, well-functioning equipment
Utilising new equipment that functions seamlessly is a steel safety essential. Safe steel fabricators focus on modifications to machines to improve their design and using machines that automate tasks, for example machines that automatically thread metal sheets.
HARD BAKKA is invested in the safety of our workers. Get in touch to learn more about our safe steel practices.