Accidents do not occur as the result of a single cause, but may occur because of an interaction between working conditions, human error, and other events. Given the complexity of machine technology, some accidents will inevitably occur. However, an error in judgment will always be the weakest link in the chain of events leading to an accident. Even under the best circumstances, judgment is affected by:
- Knowledge (and lack of knowledge) of the system and peripheral equipment.
- Personal work habits on the job.
- Physical and mental fitness on the job.
It is vitally important for anyone working on a system to become thoroughly familiar with its operation before working with it. Knowledge of the system will help to avoid accidents. Read and understand all safety instructions before setting up, operating, maintaining, or servicing the system. Know the location and function of all safety devices provided with the system and check regularly to ensure their proper operation.
Personal safety combines knowledge, positive attitudes, and good work habits into a proactive awareness of potential hazards. Safe actions occur when an awareness of the importance of safety, combined with an understanding of tasks, becomes part of daily work habits on the job.
You have a responsibility to conduct your daily work actions safely. Adopt a professional attitude toward safety and develop personal safety skills you can depend on—for life!
Fitness for Duty
"Fitness for Duty" means; the state of being physically and mentally fit to perform job-related duties. It is important to reduce or eliminate anything that impairs job-related judgment.
Alertness is essential for sound judgment, and nothing affects alertness more adversely than fatigue. Several causes are:
- Lack of sleep - The most common cause of fatigue; continued loss of sleep causes increased nervousness and decreased reaction time. This affects the ability to react quickly to a situation.
- Poor eyesight - Tired eyes lead to drowsiness, decrease your depth perception, and reduce field of vision.
- Emotional stress - A buildup of emotional stress causes tension, irritability, and mental distraction.
- Anger - If not managed appropriately, it causes drowsiness, impairs concentration and job performance.
- Physical problems - Even minor ailments (headache, indigestion, sore throat) and other conditions-such as consuming a heavy meal can impair judgment, cause sluggishness, or make you drowsy.
- Drug and alcohol use - The resulting drowsiness, nausea, or dizziness dulls reflexes and turns you into an "accident waiting to happen".
Dressing for Safety
Unless plant safety specifications indicate otherwise, always follow these guidelines:
- Do not wear loose or baggy clothes. They should fit close to the body, but not so tight as to hinder free movement.
- Do not wear ties or scarves around the system at any time.
- Do not wear jewelry such as rings, bracelets, and necklaces around the system at any time. Wear medical alert jewelry with caution.
- Do not wear gloves unless handling hot, rough, or sharp surfaces.
- Wear shoes approved by plant safety specifications.
- Wear the correct protective clothing, especially when a job calls for it.
- Tie back long hair or restrain it with a cap or net.
- Wear a hard hat or other appropriate protection when a job requires it or where a risk of falling objects or overhead moving parts may exist.
To reduce the risk of eye injury, wear the proper eye protection. Choose eye protection equipment that will best protect your eyes against an injury that may result from the type of work performed. Unless plant safety specifications indicate otherwise, safety glasses with side shields will be sufficient for normal system operation. Keep eyewear clean at all.
To reduce the risk of long-term hearing damage, use hearing protection appropriate for the job. Choose hearing protection equipment (foam earplugs, padded headset) that protects against noise levels produced by the system and surrounding systems. However, do not select hearing protection that will totally muffle all noise. During system operation, it is important to hear any unusual noises that may indicate a problem. Check with your plant safety specifications to determine the best hearing protection for the job and the area where the job is performed.