It’s no secret that construction, factory, and other industrial jobs are not the safest occupations in the world. While employers take many precautions to avoid these hazards, there will always be the chance of injury or death.
That’s why it’s vital to be aware of the potential dangers you can face in any industrial job as well as how to avoid them. Knowing is half the battle, so if you’re mentally prepared for the worst-case scenarios, you’ll be more likely to recognize them and know what to do to save yourself and your nearby coworkers.
Carrying Heavy Objects
One of the most overlooked dangers in the industrial workforce is the handling of heavy boxes and crates. The amount of people that injure themselves due to this is higher than it should be. Most employers assume that new workers know how to carry a heavy object properly, but they might not know the best practices if this is their first job in this industry.
That’s why you need to take it into your own hands and learn more about it before lifting something you shouldn’t. Of course, the best way to avoid this issue is to use a cart or dolly whenever possible, but those aren’t always available.
When you must lift something heavy, lift with your legs and not your back. Most injuries occur when this rule isn’t followed. Other than that, you should be fine, but if the object in question is simply too heavy, ask someone nearby to help you out. There’s nothing wrong with asking for help. It’s better than needlessly hurting yourself.
Slips, Trips, and Falls
The most likely injury you’ll receive will result from a slip, trip, or fall. While these can theoretically happen in any occupation, they are most common in the industrial sector due to the physical nature of these jobs. Possible hazards include unsecured wires or big pieces of scrap and debris lying around. Occasionally, spills will be left behind with no one there to clean them up. Any of these can lead to a minor fall, but a simple misstep could lead to a much larger accident if you’re working at high altitudes.
While there are usually rules set in place to help limit these kinds of hazards, there’s never a perfect system to getting rid of them, which is why your best defense is remaining vigilant. When you’re on the move, keep an eye on the ground to ensure that there’s nothing you could trip over. If there is, try to remove it or put up a sign to warn others. If it’s something that you can’t do anything to fix, let your supervisor know about it immediately.
Handling Large Machinery
Injuries also occur when workers are dealing with heavy machinery. They are a large component of factory work that you won’t be able to avoid. Heavy machinery has moving parts that could easily crush a part of your body if you get trapped. Occasionally, they will have sharp components that could cut you even when they’re not switched on.
That’s why you need to familiarize yourself with machines that are near your workstation, even if you don’t work directly with them. Ideally, you should learn how all of the ones at your place of employment function, but the machines in your immediate vicinity should be your top priority.
Using Dangerous Tools
Small tools should be handled with the same care as heavy machinery. They can very easily cut your skin or break your bones if you’re not careful with them. Learn how you’re supposed to handle them when you’re using them, turning them off, and putting them away.
Possibility of Flash Fires
Even though flash fires are certainly more likely in some professions than others, they’re always a possibility in the industrial field. Anything can go wrong and cause an object to burst into flames, startling nearby workers.
This is why a majority of employers require their workforce to wear fire-resistant clothing at all times. Sometimes they provide these garments for you, but other times you will need to get them yourself. However, if your boss only gives you the baseline of protection, you might want to buy some additional layers.
The more fire-resistant layers you wear, the more protected you’ll be from the flames. That’s why investing in some fire-resistant outerwear—such as the ones we have in our online store—is the best way to defend yourself from an unexpected and potentially deadly fire.
Working around Harsh Chemicals
While they’re less common than workplace fires, accidents involving harsh chemicals are another potential danger you can face in any industrial job. The worst part about chemicals is they can harm you in ways that don’t involve direct contact. For instance, certain chemicals cause internal injuries if they’re regularly inhaled.
This means that workers will need even more protection when they work around chemicals. Luckily, it’s well-known what type of injuries each kind of chemical can do to a human. Depending on what you’ll be working around, get yourself protective clothing, goggles, or respirators.
Dealing With Workplace Harassment
Unfortunately, not all dangers in the workforce are physical—sometimes they’re psychological. This typically comes in the form of workplace harassment by a superior or coworker and includes acts such as insults, intimidation, workplace sabotage, or even violence. Regardless of the nature of the harassment, it can lead to emotional problems that can massively affect an employee at work or at home.
Like some other hazards in this list, this one can happen in a variety of professional fields, but it seems to be more common in industrial ones. A reason for this could be due to the high-stress nature of the jobs—but that’s no excuse. If someone is harassing you or you see harassment happening to someone else, report it to a higher-up. If a supervisor is the harasser, report it to an HR representative. Many places of employment take this problem seriously these days, so be aware of harassment and report it when you see it.