Using health and safety control equipment mitigates the dangers your workers face on the job. It reduces injury risk or limiting exposure to substances that could be hazardous to their health. But it goes beyond just the equipment itself—which can be as simple as warning signage or as complex as ventilation systems. It also includes doing the following:
- Enclosing dangerous equipment to limit access.
- Training and supervising workers in the proper use of safety equipment.
- Testing your current hazard control measures and equipment to ensure they’re working correctly.
- Ensuring that workers follow control equipment safety protocols and procedures to prevent injury or exposure.
What is Health and Safety Control Equipment?
If your work environment involves the use of tools, materials or hazardous substances, you’ll need to have more stringent health and safety measures in place to protect your workers. This is especially true if an injury or exposure incident in your work environment could be life-altering or life-threatening. Let health and safety equipment help you.
Here are some health and safety control equipment examples: signage warning of hazards such as wet or slippery walking surfaces, personal protective equipment (PPE), ventilation or extraction systems to maintain safe air, equipment to capture hazardous spills, safer tools, scaffolding, and safety harnesses.
When Should Health and Safety Control Equipment Be Used?
Use of this type of control equipment as part of a comprehensive program to identify hazards and use a hierarchy of controls to reduce the risks of hazard exposure. That is, any time a hazard is present, look for examples of health and safety control equipment to use in first removing the hazard, next substituting for the hazard, or lastly, protecting your workers from the hazard.
Common Hazardous Environments
Trip, slip, and fall hazards when working from heights are one of the leading causes of injury and death on many job sites, especially in the construction industry. Take a look at this video for some examples of these dangers and how health and safety control equipment should be used to protect your workers:
Although sustaining a serious fall injury from a height is a rather obvious hazard, you’d be surprised to learn that trips, slips and falls from a single level can also result in serious injury:
Common Hazardous Tools
Another hazard that’s common to many workplace environments stems from the use of cutting tools. Traditional stainless steel blades dull quickly, moving rapidly from the dangerous state of being overly sharp to the dangerous state of being too dull.
When ceramic blades were introduced, they were manufactured in the same manner as stainless steel blades, even though the stronger ceramic material didn’t need to be as sharp to achieve the same blade life. Traditional ceramic blades are every bit as dangerous as stainless steel blades.
Only Slice® has developed a true ceramic safety blade that is finger-friendly® and safe to touch, which reduces the likelihood of a laceration injury resulting from the slip of a cutting tool or during blade replacement. We always ship our replaceable blade tools with a rounded-tip blade, as the round tip is less likely to result in a puncture wound.
We also encourage the use of auto-retractable tools, such as our innovative 10503 Auto-Retractable Box Cutter, which provides an added measure of safety through a mechanism that retracts the blade into its housing when the slider is not actively engaged. Less exposure to an open blade means a smaller likelihood of injury.
For the ultimate in cutting tool safety, we also offer “smart-retracting” tools, such as our 10558 Smart-Retracting Utility Knife. Tools with this unique retraction mechanism make it impossible for your workers to tape open the slider, as is common when they haven’t adapted to using auto-retracting tools. This circumvention of the safety feature is impossible with a smart-retracting tool, which keeps the blade exposed only as long as there is cutting pressure against the blade, even if the slider is engaged.
Safety: It’s Everyone’s Responsibility
In your safety talks, be sure to stress that everyone is personally responsible for maintaining a safe workplace. This includes correcting potentially hazardous situations, such as maintaining clear walkways and cleaning up spills, as well as reporting potential hazards—such as the need for guardrails on loading docks or machine guards on dangerous machinery—to their safety manager.
Once a hazard has been identified, use the hierarchy of controls to determine the best control measure to mitigate the risk. Using health and safety control equipment is often an easy, budget-friendly hazard control measure.