By April 28th for the steel industry production safety day, this year’s activity theme is concerned about the safety hazards of operating machinery and equipment.
The steel industry uses a large number of large-capacity, high-powered machinery, and equipment, which is likely to become the source of a variety of safety hazards and risks. The World Steel Association believes that operating machinery and equipment is one of the five major causes of safety accidents. Operating machinery and equipment mainly includes static machines with running parts, such as conveyors, handling equipment, steel manufacturing, and finishing processes embedded in the running parts and lifting equipment.
Safety hazards in machinery can be eliminated through good process design, and WSSA encourages member companies to implement safe process design to reduce potential risks at the primary stage of process design. When safety hazards cannot be eliminated, companies can use engineering controls or preventive technology solutions, such as interconnecting devices, fixed or mobile guardrails, light curtains, and two-hand controls, all of which can provide a degree of worker safety.
Personal protective equipment is the last line of defense that companies need to consider. In practice, PPE has limited protection and is used primarily to protect against environmental risks, such as noise reduction to protect hearing and dust isolation to protect eyes, rather than to prevent the risks posed by the machines themselves. The importance of risk management and the application of a hierarchy of control measures for machines is clear to all, but companies also need to ensure that risk assessments are realistic. Many machines in the steel industry have been in use for a long time, and it is particularly important to keep risk assessments up to date. Steel companies should assess the life cycle of their machines against relevant standards promptly so that potential risks can be identified.
The World Steel Association encourages all steel producers to elaborate an effective approach to machine risk assessment, and companies can adopt some recognized standards, such as ISO 14120 for guardrails and ISO 12100 for risk evaluation and risk reduction. At the same time, raising awareness of the causes of serious accidents is an important part of creating a zero-accident work environment. This requires steel companies to identify the precursors of accidents promptly, address the corresponding issues systematically, and ensure that all control measures are strictly implemented.