Industrial plants are involved in various processes; some of which pose a threat to the safety of workers. The danger may arise from the nature of the raw materials and products or from the facility itself. As such, supervisors are expected to take necessary precautions in ensuring the safety of their workers.
A substance is considered to be toxic if it poses a risk to a person’s health upon prolonged exposure to it. Many toxic substances are either carcinogenic or result in respiratory complications. Managers may protect their employees by equipping them with respiratory protective equipment. That is especially true for workers that are likely to be exposed to poisonous fumes such as carbon monoxide and oxides of nitrogen and sulphur.
Flammability refers to the tendency of a material to ignite when exposed to a flame or relatively high temperatures. Flammable materials need to be stored in a controlled environment. The storage may be fitted with a cooling feature to mitigate possible accidents. Flammable materials should also be clearly labelled as being ignitable. Employees dealing with such materials are often equipped with suitable protective gear such as asbestos suits. They provide protection in the case of fire accidents.
Apart from the dangers arising from the chemical properties of the materials and products being handled, the plant structure itself may pose a threat to safety. That is in the form of slippery floors and moving equipment. Employees may be provided with gumboots that provide sufficient friction, hence reducing the chances of slipping. The physical handling of products may also result in less severe injuries such as warts. The use of gloves and knee pads may go a long way in preventing such injuries.
Usually, an employer is liable for any injuries that their employees suffer while in the workplace. As such, employers must be willing to meet the cost of making their workplaces safer for their workers.