The metal fabrication process involves creating metal structures by bending, cutting, punching, folding, machining, shearing, and assembling raw materials. Workers are exposed to numerous hazards during the job, including welding splatters, harmful smoke, fumes, penetration, etc. Therefore, safety is of the utmost importance in a metal fabrication shop.
A single accident can cost employers thousands if not millions, in legal fees. What’s more, employers are required to shell out direct workers’ compensation, which can go up to $1 billion per week according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) estimates. This staggering number doesn’t even factor in the potential lawsuits, the healthcare expenses, and the project’s downtime cost.
Thus, to keep costs low for manufacturers and OEMs, OSHA has set forth safety standards that metal fabricators must abide by. These critical safety protocols help control production costs and produce higher quality results.
Metal fabricators understand the return on investment of protecting their long-term, most important assets: their employees.
Let’s further discuss the steps metal fabricators can take to prevent mishaps and safeguard their workforce:
1. Implementing Safety Measures
Implementing OSHA-specified safety measures can greatly reduce injuries and ensure the safety of employees. This, in turn, increases employees’ efficiency, improves production operations, and helps ensure the company keeps its professional certification.
Employee safety also means fewer turnovers and more consistency in production quality control protocols.
Best quality control practices include:
- Adherence to industry safety standards, such as the material thickness used in metal fabrication
- Aligning with welding standards per the ASTM, CWB, and AWS specifications
- Compliance with OSHA codes for platforms, staircases, and ladders
These quality control measures also help prevent costly material handling and rework.
2. Workforce Education and Training
An important part of running a productive and accident-free shop floor is consistent metal fabrication safety training and certifications.
Improper material handling can cause minor and severe spinal injuries, and just seconds of carelessness or inattention can result in burns from sparks or metal shards while welding.
Here are some general guidelines to follow:
- Metal fabricator must ensure employees are trained on equipment protocol before using a particular piece of equipment
- Fabricators must immediately take action to correct workplace safety hazards and unsafe working conditions
- All workers must have access to proper PPE, and damaged PPE should be replaced right away
- Ensuring workers are aware of the correct posture when performing material handling tasks
- Simple protections like toe boards, toe rails, and nets should be in place to protect workers against falling objects.
3. Build a Reputation for Metal Fabrication Safety
When a metal fabricator earns a safe workplace reputation, it attracts skilled and highly trained job applicants and prevents them from seeking better employment opportunities.
A safe workplace is not only a great place to work, but it is also a great place to do business!
Here are some best practices that can help metal fabricators improve workplace safety:
- Posting diagrams and examples of material handling and correct procedures near equipment, which workers can follow
- Training employees on each equipment’s safety standards and the correct use of each piece of machinery
- Providing proper metal forming and cutting education
- Ensuring regular equipment inspection
- Reinforcing safety practices with consistent employee training
File name: metal-fabrication
Alt text: worker performing metal fabrication job
Safety is an important aspect of metal fabrication because of the complexities of the production process. At PlasmaTech, we prioritize metal fabrication safety to ensure our employees’ safety.
If you wish to partner with a full-service metal fabricator that you help you exceed your ROI expectations, reach out to our team at 281-745-7125.