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Safety Precautions in Engineering

Updated on September 22, 2016
Bulldozer: An engineering machine.
Bulldozer: An engineering machine.

Introduction

In every quality engineering companies/industries, one of the principal things to be considered before employing the engineers to work in such establishments is the safety of the employees. Any properly managed engineering companies must have this at the back of their minds. When this point is neglected, the workers will be prone to accidents and hence soils the reputations of such companies if care is not taken. Employed engineers in standard engineering firms are being trained on safety before they start any operation with the firms.

Before further discussion on this topic, what is safety in engineering? According to Dr. Engineer Ugochukwu Okonkwo in the engineering textbook he authored, “Engineering Professionalism in Society”, Safety in Engineering otherwise known as industrial safety involves activities that will bring about the reduction, control or elimination of all hazardous conditions in an engineering workplace that poses threat to life and property (Ugochukwu 2012). Precaution on the other hand is a measure taken to prevent accidents in any workplace. So, safety precautions in engineering are measures taken in engineering workplace to prevent or reduce hazards.

The nature of principal industrial safety to be considered in any engineering workplace is dependent on what the industry principally deals in. If the industry is the one that have its soul in production of chemicals, the principal safety to be taken into consideration is the one related to how chemicals are handled in the engineering company.

There are so many slogans that are used to awaken workers in engineering companies on how important their safety is when they are working in the companies. Some of the slogans have been in existence for years while others were newly introduced. This piece will point out these slogans before jumping into engineering safety in detail.

Safety Slogans as related to Industries

The safety slogans used as applied to workplace are:

  • Work safely, otherwise don’t;
  • When you gamble with safety, you bet your life and the life of your co-workers;
  • Safety is full-time job, don’t make it a part time practice;
  • The door to safety swings on the hinges of common sense;
  • Safety isn’t expensive, it is priceless;
  • Safety means first aid to the uninjured;
  • Chance takers are accident makers;
  • Personal protective equipments is your self defense;
  • Unsafe acts will keep you in stitches if you are lucky to survive;
  • Working safely is like breathing – if you don’t die.

The Safety Precautions in Engineering

Any engineer or engineering student that jokes with his or her safety is like joking with his or her entire life. The safety to be considered is the following:

  • Fire safety;
  • Chemical safety;
  • Machine safety;
  • Construction site safety; and
  • Electricity safety.

Fire safety

Fire outbreak has ruined so many engineering companies that were in existence years back. Some of the companies that were not covered by insurance companies stopped functioning and all the workers dismissed as they could not continued with their operations because they incurred very big losses. Some who were able to start again after years of the challenge were not able to give the standard of services they were offering because they lost so much. Hence, the industrial precautions to fire hazards are:

  • There should be proper ventilation in engineering companies to avoid high fire outbreak even when occurred;
  • No engineer or user of the workplace should be allowed to smoke in the industry.
  • Fire extinguishers should be hang at the strategic points of the workplace;
  • Any material that is known to be flammable should be handled with proper care. When materials of this kind are to be used, the engineer should look around to ensure that there is no ignite or igniting material near the place of use.
  • The contact numbers of fire fighters should be made available to the entire workers in any engineering industries. When this is done, any engineer close to the workplace when the incidence happens can easily contact the officials of the team.

Fire warning systems should be properly installed. Installation of such system will serve as a remainder to all the workers.

Chemical Safety

We meet the applications of chemicals in our everyday life. Chemicals are very useful to the society in totality. There are many achievements that were made by man that would not have been possible without the contributions made by chemicals. On the contrary, chemicals have damaged many engineering companies and firms. Also, many engineers have died in some engineering companies because they were ignorant of safety precautions in avoiding chemical hazards. A spill of chemical on an engineering practitioner can cause many damages.

The chemical safeties to be observed in industries are:

  • It is advisable to ensure ventilation in factories. Proper ventilation will give ease for chemicals to easily disperse out of the workplace. Also, when the companies are ventilated, the tendency for chemical engineers to inhale chemicals will be minimized.
  • All chemicals should be labelled correctly. Appropriate labeling of the chemicals will make identification to be easy and simple. Workers will not use concentrated chemicals in the name of diluted ones when all are labelled. The use of highly concentrated chemicals thinking they are diluted ones is because they were not labelled, and can result to skin burn when there is violent chemical reaction.
  • Complete Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) should be used when handling chemicals. Chemicals are dangerous and should not be handled with naked hands or without wearing the necessary protective materials. There are certain chemicals that can result to respiration problems when the handlers do not protect themselves properly.
  • The flashpoints of all the chemicals used in engineering companies should be known. This will enable the workers to know the place and temperatures at which the chemical are to be stored.

Lathe machine: An engineering machine.
Lathe machine: An engineering machine.

Machine Safety

Machine is any device which enables work to be done easily and conveniently. Machines that make work easy in engineering companies have in one way or the other eaten some parts of workers body. Some they have eaten their legs and others their fingers. In polythene manufacturing industries for instance, many workers have lost their fingers to machines because of machine hazards and inadequate job security.

The safety precautions of machine hazards are:

  • The parts of machines used in engineering companies and workshops must regularly be checked. Regular checking of all the machine parts will make the users to know when the machines start malfunctioning. But, if this is not done, the machine can lead to workshop/company accidents.
  • All machine parts must be properly tight when fixing to avoid loosening out from the right positions.
  • All the moving parts of machines should be guarded properly. The engineers or workshop users should not allow any of their parts to get in contact with such components.
  • When machines start giving unusual sounds during use, such machines should be suspended at that moment and thoroughly checked. If the user continues to work with the machines in such state, accident may be incurred.
  • Manuals should be consulted when machine operator gets confused on how to make use of the machine. This will make the operator to be cleared on how to run such device and continues with his or her work.
  • No unqualified engineer should be permitted to operate any engineering machine. Handling of engineering machines is made for engineering experts.
  • The machine gauges and meters should be observed during machine operation. This will make the operator engineer to know when machines reach their maximum capacity.
  • Proper quantity of oil should be applied on machine parts to help the machines to function adequately.

Construction Site Safety

This safety concerns civil engineers the most. They are one of the branches of engineers that work in site. On the other hand, they can be called site engineers. There are so many safety precautions that site engineers need to be aware of so that no engineer or co-workers will sustain injury in the course of carrying out their engineering functions.

The safety engineering precautions as related to works in construction sites are:

  • Quality materials should be used by site engineers to prevent the building from collapsing during the construction work. Many buildings have collapsed and killed workers because of the use of inferior materials.
  • Proper guide should be made against cranes making contact with overhead power lines or diggers striking an underground electric wire. When technicians out of ignorant strike on such wires when the entire parts of the digger is made of metallic materials, the user may be electrocuted.
  • When machine guards are removed for maintenance, such tool should not be used until the maintenance is complete and the guard fixed back to the correct position.
  • Tools which are extensively used should be checked regularly for damages. The reason is because those tools are always on duty and hence need regular checking process.
  • There must be alarm system installed in construction sites so that urgent information will be passed to the entire workers when the need arises.
  • Check must be conducted on any excavation more than 1.2m deep to know whether there is any risk of possible collapse and if there is, then adequate measures should be taken.

Safety precaution in engineering involving not touching electrical conducting material with wet hand.
Safety precaution in engineering involving not touching electrical conducting material with wet hand. | Source

Electricity Safety

Electricity is good, but at the same time an enemy to workshop/company engineers. Electricity has eaten the heads of so many workers in engineering companies because of their negligence to safety. Many electrocuted engineers are nowhere to be found today because electricity hazard has sent them to meet their ancestors. The electricity safety precautions are:

  • All wires that transmit electricity must be properly coated with non-conducting material to prevent transmission of electrical current into the bodies of the company engineers.
  • It is important to ensure that all electrical connections are switched off before closing any engineering company as sparks may occur in the odd hours and results to fire outbreak.
  • The gasoline used in powering electrical generators should be kept at the right positions. Being ignorant to this point can result to serious damages in engineering establishments.
  • All electrical signs should be position properly to be a remainder to any worker that want to handle electrical products.
  • All electrical products used should be handled by experts.
  • Correct and complete Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) should be worn by workers in the industries.
  • When dealing with electricity, no worker should handle any electrical tool with wet hands/body. Handling any of the tools with wet hands will result to electrical shock.
  • All manual should be consulted and properly read before handling electrical products. Also, this should be read when the operator gets stuck on what to do at a particular point.

Conclusion

Engineering is classical profession which requires professional management. Without this professionalism in management, there will be high level of casualties.

Safety is very necessary in all engineering and non-engineering workshops/industries. No engineer or any working in engineering companies should joke with his or her life by ignoring all the safety precautions stated. This piece covered the safety slogans used in industries. In a nutshell, all discussed are engineering safety.

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