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Industrial protection is a regulatory issue that was drafted and enforced to ensure that manufacturing operations are carried out in environments that do not jeopardize the employees' welfare or the longevity and efficiency of the equipment. Many products in an engineering workspace can be dangerous, including any of the machinery designed for particular manufacturing processes. Gas bottles, sharp instruments, and material treatment chemicals can only have economic and technological advantages to a company, but they also pose the risk of triggering corrosions, fires, and explosions, which can result in the loss of human life and the damage of other facilities. Many factors should be considered while designing new engineering workshops. The factors include floor spacing, machine installation specifications and the general control procedures for all the hazards. International quality control organizations have formulated the standard safety procedures that have to be followed by all engineering firms. The article, therefore, explains the dangers and how workshops can be designed to mitigate the associated dangers.
Keywords: Safety, OSHA, hazards, mitigation, workshop.
Safety is a fundamental issue for the optimal performance of an engineering firm. The safety measures have to be formulated to cater for the health interests of the workers, durability of the structures and to curb the immense losses that a company may incur in case of an accident. The losses may include the death of employees, destruction of the machines, destruction of the building and structures and the loss of critical corporative documents for the company. Many accidents in the industries may occur due to the wrong placement of the devices, fire, flying particles that originate from the machining of metals, and the reaction of chemicals with heat. During the welding processes, high heat I generated and plasma of molten metals scatter into the atmosphere. When they meet combustible substances such as light oils, infernos may be experienced. As a result, the workspace should always be designed to ensure safety.
Workstation and Area
The workstation is segmented into sections, along the length. The station has two bay doors, which are designed to the engineering standards to allow for the entry and exit of large vessels from the workshop. The bay doors have a standard span of ten meters that allow for the entry and exit of carrier pallet trucks.
Machines and Equipment
The floor area is segmented into seven sections to accommodate all the facilities required for the fabrication activities. The first two segments of the workshop house are the acetylene and oxygen storage tanks for the oxyacetylene welding processes (Constatin, 2013). The midsections are the office for the welder and welder assistants, ergonomically placed to ensure that the welder and the welder assistants can access the gas cylinders easily. The last sections of the workstation are divided into three, to accommodate the offices for the blueprint reader, reception desk, and the quality control department. The workshop has a variety of equipment including welding machines, plasma cutting machine and table, programmable machines and punching machines. The workshop also has other specialized machines relevant for the fabrication of high-pressure vessels such as the shaper machines, metal sheet roller machines, drilling and boring machines and the digital dynamic balancing machine.
The workshop is identified to have hazards such as the accumulated high carbon gas from the welding processes, the flying metal chips from the metal machining tools, the highly flammable gas tanks and molten metal from the plasma cutting. Other hazards are the high workshop temperatures originating from the welding and heavy machining processes, and the lack of emergency doors for escape from each department, in case of any danger (Howard, 2014). Moreover, plasma cutting and heavy tungsten inert gas welding processes release lots of cosmic gases and fumes that are dangerous for human health.
The accumulation of the high carbon gases within the workshop is controlled by the erection of external suction roof fans that expel any harmful gases that are produced by the welding processes. A wall-mounted hood is also included in the ventilation system and is mounted with a high power fan to extract the high-density gases (Clerk, 2014). Some of the gases liberated during plasma cutting and metal cutting using lubricants have high densities, hence concentrate at the lower layers of the atmosphere. The extraction hood is therefore designed to extract the high-density gases. The hood is placed 1 meter offset from the ground to ensure efficient extraction of all the high-density gases (Constatin, 2013).
The flying metal chips are controlled by ensuring that every machine space has mobile protective walls that prevent the metal chips from flying beyond the machine space. The protective walls may be constructed from fire resistant fabrics (Howard, 2014). The workshop floor is also constructed to accommodate the effects of the molten metals and is resistant to heat. Each department is prevented from the effects of flames by fire-resistant shields. The incorporation of emergency doors eases escape of staff in case of danger.
Applicable OSHA Regulations
OSHA 1910.39(a): Employers must provide a prevention plan for industrial fires, to prevent any injuries or loses that may occur to the workers or the damage of industrial equipment (United States Department of Labor, 2016).
OSHA 1910.39(b): The fire prevention plans must be written and availed to all the employees.
OSHA 1910.39(c)(1): The employee must provide a list of all the identified hazards, all the procedures for the handling and storage of flammable materials such as gases and powders, and the type of equipment that are required to prevent the effects of the identified hazards.
OSHA 1910.39(c) (2): The employee should also provide the procedures for handling and controlling the accumulation of highly toxic and flammable materials.
Safety at the workplace is implemented by identifying all the hazards and developing preventive measures that are appropriate for each safety issue. The safety procedures must ensure the well-being of the workers and equipment, so that the firm does not incur losses in repairs and compensations.
Clerk, G. (2014). Industrial relations and human resource management. (3 ed.). London: Routledge Publishers.
Constatin, S. (2013). Industrial health,safety and environment management. Berlin: Robinson Press.
Howard, J. (2014). Occupational safety and health. Amsterdam: Amsterdam Publishers.
United States Department of Labor. (2016). Regulation standards-occupational health and safety. Washington DC: United States Department of Labor.
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