What is meant by safety guidelines?

Safety guidelines are the set of rules and codes that must be followed in the workplace for the occupational safety of workers, the machines, and the equipment that are present inside the workshop premise. There are many unsafe conditions and hazardous materials inside the workshop that makes prey for certain risk factors associated with health conditions. Extreme safety precautions must be taken inside the work area just like the precautions and practices that are been followed for Corona Virus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). People can also educate themselves by joining various health programs and camps. These will provide them with the necessary skills and knowledge about safety awareness. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) thrives to create a safe and healthy environment for the workers working in the industries and provides them with proper education and training.

Equipment for workplace safety

Various emergency and safety equipment must be compulsorily present inside the workplace to ensure an overall safe and hazard-free working atmosphere for both machinery and workers. Some of them are outlined below:

Fire extinguishers

Fire extinguishers act as the first immediate response for a fire outbreak before the arrival of the fire fighting service. It should be kept in mind that the fire extinguishers are not intended for use for a fire, which has gone out of control. This equipment consists of a cylindrical container that has a pressurized gas, typically, carbon dioxide. The container has a valve system and a discharge nozzle. Upon releasing the valve the high-pressure gas forces out of the nozzle which is directed towards the fire.

A fire extinguisher.
CC BY-SA 3.0 | Image Credits: https://commons.wikimedia.org | Dante Aligheiri

Personal protective equipment (PPE)

Just like the PPE suits used by the doctors in treating patients diagnosed with COVID-19, the same can be used inside the workplace for the health safety of the workers. However, the PPE suits designed for the workplace are far different from the PPE suits for COVID-19. The suits intended for the workplace are made up of special heat retardant fiber materials that shield the personnel from extreme heat from the furnaces. The suits moreover act as electrical insulators.

Fire alarms

These are electronic equipment that gets triggered upon detecting the presence of smoke and heat. The alarm remains silent during normal room temperatures and human body temperatures. The electronics are coded with a certain threshold of temperature limits, which when crossed, such as the extreme temperature of the fire, triggers the alarm.

Laboratory coats

These are specially designed suits that are intended to be used by the laboratory personnel inside the laboratory area. These suits are designed to withstand the corrosive effects of chemicals, which may cause severe burn injury from the concentrated acids. These acids during handling have a high chance of an accidental fall over the body or breakage from the container in which they are stored. Other additional equipment, such as eye gear, must also be worn for individual safety from accidental spitting of acid drops into the eyes.

General workplace safety protocols

For safety inside a workplace, certain standard measures must be followed. Some of them are summarized below.

  • Use of proper standard signs to indicate a potentially unsafe area: Whether it be a clinical area, workshop area, or a laboratory area, there is always certain risk elements like harmful chemicals, exposed heavy-duty machinery, radioactive areas, or sharp equipment that requires extreme care while handling. Proper standard signs in the form of stickers or through illustrations must be indicated near the equipment which should be clearly visible to the personnels.
  • Use of proper illuminations for guideways inside a dark workplace: Many of the chemicals used in the laboratories and clinical areas are sensitive to light, hence they must be stored in a dark environment. To avoid accidents and to aid for an easy reach to those chemicals by the workers, proper illuminations must be provided on the floors and wherever applicable.
  • Compulsory use of safety helmets and boots inside a manufacturing plant: The manufacturing area is the most unsafe and hazardous area for the workers. The area is populated from sharp loose objects and debris on the floor to overhead machinery which weighs a ton. Wearing a safety helmet and boot would secure a worker from an injury to the head and the foot. Moreover, the use of safety gloves protects from burn injury to the fingers.
  • Safety rules: Every workplace has its own set of rules and working practices. This set of rules must be extensively followed by workers.

Workshop measures to avoid machine failure

To avoid failure of machinery or malfunctioning that has a first impact on the person in charge, relevant safety procedures must be followed inside the workshop, they are outlined below.

  • Perform periodic maintenance: Periodic maintenance such as oiling and greasing should be done to ensure the smooth running of the components and avoid jamming and failure due to intense heat from friction.
  • Annual inspection: The inspection of the machinery must be done by a trained technician of that particular company that manufactured the machine.
  • In-depth reading of instruction manuals: Any new machine should not be addressed by a worker without proper reading of the instruction manual and proper training.
  • Machine placement: The machine must be installed properly following the exact guidelines issued by the manufacturer. The location and the machine setups must be properly done.

Context and Applications

The topic is extensively followed inside all manufacturing industries, laboratories, and clinical areas. It is taught during the first-year undergraduate courses of bachelor in science and engineering disciplines.

  • Bachelors in Science (Chemistry)
  • Bachelors in Medical Science
  • Bachelors in Technology (Mechanical)

Practice Problems

1. Which of the following separates a workshop PPE suit from the PPE suite used as a protection from COVID-19?

  1. The suits are made up of special materials that safeguard from electrical shocks
  2. The suits are made up of materials that resist heat
  3. The suits are made of materials that provide shielding from radiations
  4. All of these

Correct option- d

Explanation: The PPE suits for the workshops are specially designed suits that provide safety to the individuals from harmful radioactive and thermal radiation, extreme temperatures, and electrical shocks.

2. Which of the following work area is considered to be the most vulnerable and hazardous area?

  1. Chemical laboratory area
  2. Manufacturing area
  3. Clinical laboratory area
  4. None of these

Correct option- b

Explanation: The manufacturing area has high-risk hazards among all, like fallen sharp debris on the floor and overhanging components that weigh a ton.

3. Which of the following protocols must be followed inside the work area?

  1. Use of illuminations
  2. Safety guidelines and rules
  3. Proper use of safety stickers
  4. All of these

Correct option- a

Explanation: Some of the safety measures like proper illuminations inside a dark area where harmful chemicals are stored, Properly following the safety rules inside the workshop, and use of proper safety indications or stickers to educate the workers related to potential hazards must be compulsorily present inside the work area.

4. Which of the following is workshop safety equipment?

  1. Fire extinguishers
  2. Fire alarms
  3. Laboratory coats
  4. All of these

Correct option- d

Explanation: Equipment such as fire extinguishers, fire and smoke alarms, and laboratory coats fall under workshop safety equipment.

5. Which of the following measures must be followed to avoid machine failure?

  1. Periodic maintenances
  2. Dissembling by the worker and performing a self-check
  3. During failure, performing repair works by the worker utilizing his/her experience
  4. Installing the machine at any convenient place

Correct option- a

Explanation: A machine must undergo periodic maintenance as suggested by the manufacture for its oiling and greasing, for ensuring smooth and friction-free operation.

  • Installation of fire safety alarm
  • Home emergency fire safety plan
  • Building fire escape plan

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