Metal fabrication is the process of creating metal structures by bending, cutting, or assembling. This is an important part of many different industries. However, it is not without its own risks. People get injured fabricating metal more often than you may think. Even experienced professionals can make mistakes from time to time.
Let’s take a look at some common metal fabrication injuries, and then jump into the precautions one can take to better ensure workplace safety.
Common Metal Fabrication Injuries
Material handling injuries are one of the most common injuries in this industry. Most of the injuries are musculoskeletal injuries from improper lifting technique. Moreover, injuries can be anything from minor muscle sprains to debilitating back injuries. This can be the result of bad lifting, ignoring workplace protocol, or just being overworked.
Hand tool injuries are another common workshop injury. Hand tools get a lot of use in metal fabrication shops. Some injuries are a result of the overuse of welding machines which lead to musculoskeletal injuries. On the other hand, just the process of welding can expose a welder to toxic chemicals which, if not properly vented, can be dangerous. Also, tools are necessary, but using the wrong one for a job, not maintaining them correctly, or using them too often can cause injury as well.
Injuries as a result of poor barriers are some of the worst injuries, but sometimes are the easiest to avoid. A barrier is designed and put into place to protect workers. Some tools or machines have guards to protect operators. Additionally, if these guards are not installed properly, risks can include getting a finger caught in the machine or even losing a whole hand.
Safety Tips for Metal Fabrication
Following these tips can help prevent injury in the workshop.
1. Wear Protective Clothing
If you aren’t dressed for the job, your risk of injury can increase dramatically. Safety gear includes hard hats, goggles, gloves, steel toe boots, and these must be worn at all times.
2. Work How You Were Trained
You should always follow the training protocol as you were instructed. Training includes how to use the equipment, what risks you face, and how to avoid them.
3. Be Cautious
Caution is the best way to prevent workplace injury. It’s important to always be careful in this industry because of how high the risk for injury is. Understand that loose clothing or jewelry will get caught in machines. Know that sheet metal can be sharp or hot, so always put on gloves just in case. Thinking about all the risks before you do something is a great habit to adopt.
4. Inspect Your Metal Fabrication Tools
You should always inspect a tool’s overall condition before and after usage. You should note anything if looks strange or broken to you. That way, when the next person uses the tool, they are aware of potential risks. Regularly scheduled maintenance is important for a tool’s overall condition as well.
5. Always Work within Your Comfort Zone
Working within your comfort zone is a great way to prevent the risk of injury. Constantly having to work in an uncomfortable position is a surefire way to hurt your body. Having the right tools and equipment can really help in this respect.
Want to Reduce Injury? Call Lange Lift
Our ergonomic lift tables are used in metal fabrication, welding, and material handling workshops. These tables are perfect for always staying and working within your comfort zone, which reduces injury and increases productivity.
As much as we all love summer, it’s not always great for productivity. Hot sun and rising temperatures often slow down workers. From dehydration to heat exhaustion, we need to be sure that everyone is healthy, safe, and good to work.
We also need to make sure our equipment doesn’t damage in the sun’s heat. It may not always be fresh in our minds, but high temperatures damage material handling equipment too. A broken forklift can cut back on productivity and cause delays that hurt your operation.
Here are some summer safety tips to ensure your productivity stays up and your risk stays down.
Look Out for Over-Heating Forklifts in Summer
Overheated forklifts cause major problems in operations. Make sure that the coolant system is working properly. Additionally, coolant levels should always stay above the minimum level. Maintaining a coolant level in the middle of minimum and maximum is obviously the optimal choice. You also should check all hoses for cracks or looseness. High temperatures increase the risk of cracked or damaged hoses, and if you notice one, replace it immediately.
If you have an internal combustion forklift, be sure to check filters and oil levels often so your machine is ready to work in the summer heat.
Keep an Eye for Your Tires This Summer
Much like with the rubber hoses mentioned before, summer heat increases the likelihood of cracked tires. Always be certain to check your tires overall condition, keeping an eye out for cracks in the rubber. Fluctuating temperatures cause tire pressure to constantly change, so be sure you always have your tires inflated to the right pressure. Check the owners manual for the exact pressure your lifts tires require. Higher temperatures increase tire pressure, so it may be smart to inflate on the low end just to be safe.
Increased ground temperature from the sun plus friction from driving also increase the tires overall temperature, so keep that in mind. That last thing you want is a blowout at midday when you are at peak productivity.
Always Have Maintenance Scheduled Regularly
Staying on top of your maintenance schedule is one of the best things you can do this summer to make sure your forklift is fully operational. Inspections can catch problems early so that it only takes a short time to fix. Otherwise, the problem may go unnoticed until the equipment is unusable for days or longer. This is probably the number one way to catch any heat-related problems with your forklift and other material handling equipment.
Note: Inspections should always be done before and after every shift on a forklift, noting any problems you see for the next driver to be aware of.
For all your material handling needs this summer, don’t hesitate to contact us.
Call 262-502-0333 for products that lift the world!
Do you want your spray booth to catch fire and explode? Certainly no one wants that. In order to be confident that the area is safe, inspections will be necessary. Keep reading to learn how you can ensure that your safety booth is working safely.
Spray booths are controlled environments where material washing, painting, and finishing take place. They are also called paint booths or finishing booths. Spray booths are often connected to a conveyor and actually a safety precaution in and of themselves. They reduce paint overspray and keep the work environment safe for everyone. However, they are also subject to explosion.
You can use a spray gun to apply paint and other finishing sprays, either automatically or manually . They are usually applied using compressed air, but the materials they spray are very flammable. The booth prevents coworkers from being exposed to this air. Just the spark of a lighter could cause serious problems if the space were to be contaminated.
Dust Collection Systems
Dust collection systems are also a concern for safety managers. These systems filter and clean the air inside the spray booth. Too much dust in the air can compromise the paint job and ruin a product. The main causes of fires include static electricity or welding/cutting metal too close to the booth. It’s important to go over these areas, clean filters regularly, and get anything with fire away from the booth.
For specific information from OSHA on spray finishing using flammable or combustible gas, click here.
Need Some Assistance?
Does your spray booth need a lift table? Are you struggling to find one that meets all of OSHA’s complicated requirements? Check out our Air Powered Lift Tables. They’re ideal for flammable and combustible environments where electric currents are prohibited. Air valves raise and lower tables with the push of a button. Check them out on langelift.com.
7 Tips to Seriously Improve Welding Safety
Safety is the most important rule in the welding business. From flying sparks to ultraviolet lights, the danger is everywhere. Here are seven tips to improve welding safety today.
1. Study Your Product Manuals
All welding products come with product manuals. The manual gives the operator important information about the equipment. It provides you with all the necessary safety information and tells you exactly how to operate for the best results. Many veterans trust experience over the product manuals, but this is a mistake. Every product is slightly different, so you can’t always rely on previous experience to get the job done. Additionally, if the manual is damaged, it’s crucial that you get a replacement from the manufacturer.
2. Cover Exposed Skin
You must cover all exposed skin while welding. Sparks can burn your skin if they touch you. Sparks can also catch in open pockets, cuffs, or unbuttoned shirts. This can hurt you and damage your clothes. Furthermore, dangerous infrared and ultraviolet lights damage and hurt any skin exposed while welding.
3. Wear Proper Welding Gear
Never wear shorts or tee shirts while welding. Always wear flame-resistant clothing, such as denim and other welding products. Welders used to complain about hot and uncomfortable clothes while welding. However, manufacturers make protective and lightweight gear now. As always, wear a helmet and gloves at all times. Newer helmets protect your face and eyes from harsh lights that can hurt skin as well.
4. Always Protect Your Eyes
As I said just before, welding metal produces light that hurts eyes. Seconds of exposure to harmful UV light can cause serious eye pains. Eye protection and head gear are crucial in preventing this problem. Newer helmets have automatic darkening lenses that adjust to different levels of brightness. With constant improvements in safety gear, welding accidents are less and less common.
5. Avoid Repetitive Stress Injuries
Auto-darkening helmets remove the need to put helmets on and take them off. Most welders snap their necks quickly to put the face guard back down. This causes repetitive neck injury and back problems over time. Additionally, it’s important to always work in your comfort zone. Adjustable height tables are the best way to stay comfortable while working. They take away the need to bend over, twist, or kneel while working. You can always adjust the table to be in the most comfortable position for you, which reduces the risk of operator error.
6. Keep Your Station Clean
Cleanliness is always preferred while welding. Clutter all over your work station is dangerous, not to mention unprofessional. If you can’t keep your work station clean then how are you going to get the job done? Everything in your space needs a designated shelf, drawer, etc. Minimalism is the best way to ensure a safe work station; you should have only the bare essentials, and anything more should be removed.
7. Consider a Reward System
An easy way to improve safety and minimize risk? Incentivize it. Provide a gift or bonus to the employee that puts the most effort into workplace safety. When others see him wear a cool new helmet, they’ll be motivated to be safer too. On the other hand, it can also work to punish those who violate safety codes. Some places even take it as far as to punish those who ignore it when they just see someone else violate codes and don’t tell the safety manager. It can be harsh but effective.
Overall, safety in welding is no joking matter. It’s a dangerous trade that results in serious injury when there’s an accident. Following these safety tips can really improve the safety around your work station.
The Surprising Benefits of Height Adjustable Tables
The human body is built to move, that’s why there are so many benefits to having your own height adjustable table or work station. It’s 100 percent natural to move around while working and our body subconsciously knows this. When you sit for too long, you may feel a general discomfort, so you adjust. You stand, stretch your legs, and move around to feel better. You may not know it, but you’re actively solving circulation problems and reducing fatigue. It’s inherent in everybody. That’s why an adjustable table is so effective at keeping people healthy and focused on their work.
Problems with Sitting
Sitting all day is a health risk. Much like a lifetime of eating a poor diet with no exercise, sitting all day has long term health risks. Even if you are sitting, your muscles can still get fatigued. Sitting contributes to some obvious health issues like neck and back problems, but even more serious illnesses like heart disease and even cancer. It’s recommended that you stand and move at least five minutes every hour.
Check out this article for some more information: The Dangers of Sitting: Why Sitting is the New Smoking.
Benefits of Standing
While you are awake, your body is meant to move around. This is how we are built. Standing reduces pressure on the spine which is great for overall health. Sitting, even in a neutral and comfortable position, is still worse than standing for your neck, back, and hips. Your lower back is especially healthier when standing because your hips and back are in line. Notice that no matter how you sit, your hips are never really aligned with your back and neck. This is why you should have to option to stand while you work.
Height Adjustable Tables
The reason height adjustable tables are so effective at improving overall health and productivity is that anytime you are uncomfortable you can just move. If you are sitting and your back hurts, you don’t have to step away from your work and go for a walk. The moment you feel the urge to stand you can just raise the desk or table and keep working. People with the option to switch between sitting and standing will have more energy, reduce muscle fatigue, and reduce the risk of long term effects of full-time sitting.
One extra benefit is that just standing burns hundreds of more calories per day than sitting. Therefore, if you’re looking to optimize fitness, then you should consider a height adjustable table as well.
Clearly, the benefits of height adjustable tables are proven. Still, they are not as well known as they should be and are rarely considered when people talk about workplace productivity. Perhaps you cannot invest in getting every employee their own height adjustable desk, table, or workstation. However, if your office space, warehouse, or personal work station needs an energy and productivity boost, you’ll want to consider a height adjustable table.
Lange-Lift offers the highest quality adjustable lift tables powered by hydraulic systems to handle even the heaviest materials. They can also come equipped with spinning and tilting features to help you stay even more comfortable while you’re on the job. Contact us today if you are looking to optimize your workstation and stay healthy and happy too.
Forklift Safety Tips You Should Never Forget!
Forklifts are common in almost all industrial work environments. In fact, if there’s a forklift on site, most workers there are typically certified to operate it when the need arises. That should make the first rule of forklift safety obvious: If you aren’t trained and certified to use one, don’t!
Even those who are trained, however, can often benefit from a safety refresher. If it’s been awhile since you memorized the safety book, here a some quick safety tips to keep in mind any time you operate a forklift.
1. Perform a Pre-Operation Inspection
The first thing to consider before operating a forklift is the pre-trip inspection. This inspection involves taking a walk around the forklift to check for any problems, such as:
- Are you wearing proper clothing (like steel toe boots, a hard hat, and a reflective/high-visibility jacket)?
- Are your hands or boots slippery from grease or oil? You’ll want to clean them before operating.
- What’s the general condition of the forklift? Double check the brakes, gauges, steering, mast, and forks for any notable signs of damage, and don’t operate it until any problems are fixed.
2. Make Adjustments for Starting
Before starting up the forklift, be sure the seat is in a comfortable position to operate for the duration of the task. This means that your feet and hands can easily reach the pedals, steering wheel, and controls. You should also adjust your mirrors to your own specifications. Make sure to lower the mast and forks close to the ground if the previous driver did not.
It’s important to not start the forklift until all this is done, and after you are comfortable and buckled in properly.
3. Be Careful of Your Surroundings
While you’re operating a forklift, always be mindful of your surroundings. For instance:
- Be careful of your height, especially when entering or exiting a building.
- Check around yourself before spinning, turning, or backing up.
- Before the trip, you should have made your plans and work route to complete the job. Whether those plans change or not, make note of those around you and the jobs they’re working on. At any point it’s possible that someone could overlap into your space.
4. Take It Slow
Always take it slow when operating a forklift, especially when you have a load on the forks. Although you may be busy and want to rush to get the job done, that’s no reason to jeopardize safety in the workplace for yourself and others. Remember:
- Do not lift or lower the forks and mast too quickly.
- Don’t drive, turn, or reverse too quickly, especially around corners.
It’s important to operate the forklift as safely and efficiently as possible. If you are in an accident, any time you would have saved rushing will be lost anyway.
5. Secure Your Load
Once the load is on the forks, secure it before moving anywhere. This means the load is fully on the forks with an even weight distribution to avoid tipping or dumping. To further secure the load, lower the forks as close to the ground as possible and tilt the forks slightly backward.
Do not move or operate with an unstable load. You can either drop the load carefully and try again, or take further security measures like ropes, bungee cords, or stretch wrap for pallets. And always check your surroundings before, during, and after dropping the load at the new location.
6. Post-Operation Safety Steps
After you’ve finished operating the forklift, there are some post-operation steps to ensure safety. These include:
- If the forklift needs fueling, it is courteous to take care of that before parking it away for the day. If it doesn’t need fuel, take the forklift to the designated parking spot, lower the forks all the way to the ground, and apply the parking brake.
- Turn off the forklift and remove the key. Never leave an unattended forklift running!
- Do another walk around the forklift to check the overall condition. This can catch any unnoticed damage sustained while you were working.
These safety tips may seem obvious to some, but to others, these tips could mean the difference between a workplace accident and an injury-free day. If you operate heavy equipment, it’s always a good idea to refresh your memory and keep workplace safety in mind.
Observing good safety rules is just one way that you can help your workplace be more productive and efficient. To learn more about improving your work site, see these articles on the ergonomics of lift tables and truck lift gate safety.
4 Tips To Keep Your Lift Working in the Winter
It can be a pain to work outside in the winter, but that doesn’t mean your lift equipment should suffer. Your custom lifts should work in all weather conditions. All it takes to make that happen is a little more awareness and preparation.
Here are a few tips to make sure your lift table is ready for this winter.
1. Check Fluid Levels Often
Before it gets too cold, be sure you are using the proper lubrication for your specific type of lift. Friction from sediments and debris from snow and ice can cause damage to your lift, which can compromise it.
Having a properly lubricated lift means the parts will glide freely and smoothly. It also acts as a shield from outside particles that can cause jams and buildups. Just remember to check your product manual to make sure you’re using the proper lubricant.
2. Store Your Lift Properly
You should always store your lift inside when it isn’t being used. Also, never leave your lift out overnight, especially in winter weather. Harsh weather can slowly hurt your lift until it just breaks. At that point, it’s usually too late to fix.
Storing your lift inside ensures that any ice will be long gone by the next time you plan to use it. This is especially important for battery powered lifts, because cold batteries perform slower and lose their charge faster. Best practice is to store all batteries on the charger in a warm environment.
3. Let Your Lift Warm Up Before You Use It
It’s best to let your lift warm up a while before using it. Turning a cold lift on and operating it right away can be dangerous, and it can damage your lift.
Much like you’d warm up your legs before a run or your car before a long commute, you should also let your lift get a little warm before using it. This is so all the fluids and electrical wiring have a chance to prepare for the work ahead.
4. Prepare an Emergency Backup Lift
Much like the weather, operating machinery can be unpredictable. Even if you take every precaution and every step to ensure your equipment is dependable, there are some instances where events are out of our control.
Case in point: Cold weather can cause the wiring to short circuit or cause the battery to die in half the time as usual. These kinds of speed bumps can, however, be partially predicted. We know it’s possible it could happen, but we can’t say when. The best solution is to have a backup lift or battery on hand so that you can be prepared for when it happens.
Contact Your Local Lift Experts
5 Important Truck Lift Gate Safety Tips for Beginners
In 2016, the US Department of Labor reported close to 2.9 million workplace injuries. Most of these injuries could have been prevented if work equipment were properly used.
As a truck lift beginner, it is important to know how to keep yourself safe while using a truck lift. Continue reading to learn some safety tips to follow in your workplace.
Truck Lift Gate Safety Tips
1. Learn About Your Specific Lift Gate
There many varieties of lift gates. Each comes with its own specific manual and its own set of hazards.
As a beginner, take the time to read the manual and learn the hazards associated with your particular lift. Most importantly:
- Locate all safety decals and follow the directions.
- Take note of the weight of your freight and your truck lift’s capacity.
If you are the one purchasing the lift gate, overbuy for capacity so you have a good margin.
2. Perform Checks Prior to Operating
Prior to operating your truck lift, check the equipment for any signs of damage. Do not use if there are any signs of abuse. If the lift gate does need maintenance, do not perform on your own. Take it to a garage to get it serviced.
Also, ensure your lift gate has proper clearance to operate and that the area is clear of obstacles.
3. What to Do While Operating
- It is important to only use the lift gate to lift or lower cargo from the truck. Do not use it as a personnel lift.
- Set the truck’s brakes and try to operate the lift gate on a level surface.
- To prevent the freight from tipping or rolling off, do not overload and secure heavy loads.
- If your cargo tips or rolls, always try to move out of the way safely. Never sacrifice yourself for freight.
- Consider the safety of others and alert bystanders to keep their distance while lowering the lift and unloading the freight.
- Do not drive with the lift gate down. Always stow the platform when not in use.
4. Stay Clear of Pinch Points
Keep body parts clear of all pinch points. A pinch point is anywhere a person could get caught within the moving parts of a machine. Hands and feet are particularly vulnerable during the lowering and raising of the lift gate.
Also, never enter the area beneath a raised lift to further prevent accidents.
5. Ask for Help If You Need It
As a beginner, you will have questions. Ask for assistance from well-trained co-workers or your employer. This goes for loading and unloading freight as well. Do not attempt to load or unload something beyond your ability.
Learn More About Lifts from Lange Lift
Taking the proper precautions while operating a truck lift gate will prevent accidents, injuries, and even fatalities. These tips can be applied when using other lift products as well.
Is your business in the market for a new lift or customized lift gate? Check us out at Lange Lift. We have been manufacturing high-quality lifts since 1934, and we promise exceptional functionality and longevity with all of our products.
How to Operate a Scissor Lift Safely: A Beginners Guide
In the period of one year, OSHA investigated 10 preventable fatalities and over 20 preventable injuries resulting from the improper use of a scissor lift. Considering all of these incidents were preventable, it’s crucial employers and employees take proper steps to ensure the safety of themselves and others nearby.
The good news is that there are many training programs and safety tips available that shows users how to operate a scissor lift safely. In addition to those resources, there are a few more tips here, too.
Understand the Risks
Before diving into how to safely operate a scissor lift, it’s important to understand what risks these present.
There’s no question that scissor lifts are extremely beneficial when working in small areas. They are easy to maneuver and more compact than other lift options. Unfortunately, when used inappropriately, by untrained operators, or when not maintained, scissor lifts are also quite dangerous.
- Regulations require all work done on a scissor lift be planned properly, supervised accordingly, and handled in a safe manner.
- The most common cause of injury and fatality related to scissor lifts is a fall from a significant height.
Risk Management Tips for When You Operate a Scissor Lift
Knowing the risks a scissor lift presents is one thing. It’s something else completely to know how to prevent accidents and injuries.
Perform a Pre-Work Inspection
Never try to work on or with a scissor lift without inspecting it first. Make sure all the components are in proper working order. Also, check for any broken or damaged parts.
If you are worried about the scissor’s lift performance, seek maintenance first. In this line of work, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Only Allow Trained Workers to Operate the Scissor Lift
No one without proper training should be allowed to get on or operate the scissor lift. Be sure the individual using it is familiar with the operating guidelines presented by the manufacturer. These guidelines are designed for the safe operation of the unit. When abided by, they can help save lives.
Don’t Overload the Lift
Know the specifications of the lift to figure out how much weight it can hold. Don’t ever go over this number. If the weight becomes excessive, the lift may tip over, causing serious injuries or even death to those on it.
Keep the Lift Lowered While Moving
If you have to move the scissor lift, for any reason, be sure the platform is lowered. Going over uneven land may cause it to tip over if the platform is in the raised position.
The Golden Rule: Always Stay Safe
It may seem easy to use a scissor lift, however, if you don’t have the proper training, it is never a good idea to do so. As an employee, it could lead to serious injury. As an employer, it could open you up to quite a bit of liability.
If you have more questions about how to operate a Lange Lift scissor lift, feel free to contact us. We also offer other information on using lifts, such as how to train employees to make hydraulic lift repairs.
How to Avoid Scissor Lift Accidents When Training New Employees
Over a one year period, OSHA found that scissor lift accidents claimed 10 lives and left 20 people seriously injured. Most of the time, these accidents could have been avoided through proper use of the equipment. This is precisely why safety when operating heavy machinery like scissor lifts should be a priority. Injuries and deaths can be prevented with attention to detail and proper training.
When you bring on new hires, we strongly advise employers to give them the right training. Here are a few tips to prevent scissor lift accidents in your workplace.
Consult the Manual
Make sure you go over the manufacturer’s manual with your crew. This may seem like a no-brainer, but it’s a crucial part of training.
Each scissor lift manufacturer has a manual that details how their particular lift should be used. Make sure your team understands it before they use any lift.
Obey Capacity and Height Limits
Capacity is another factor to keep in mind for scissor lift safety. When reading the capacity limits, keep in mind that it includes not only your worker’s weight but also the combined weight of their tools. Take a moment to calculate this weight carefully.
Inspect the Lift Before Use
When safety is at stake, it’s vital to take a moment to inspect the lift before you use it.
Here’s a basic checklist to keep handy:
- Check all fluid levels and look for leaks.
- Make sure the lift has enough power in the battery and charger.
- Steering and brakes should be in perfect condition.
- Alarms, horns, and lights need to be in working order.
- Guardrails should be in place and secure.
- Check for any missing or loose parts.
Be Aware of Your Surroundings
Another way to prevent scissor lift accidents is to ensure your workspace is a safe place to operate a scissor lift. To do so, check your workspace for the following:
- Windy weather – A gust can knock your workers down.
- Stray equipment – You want to keep other equipment away from the scissor lift.
- Potholes or bumps – You want to make sure the ground beneath the lift is level.
- Pedestrians and other workers
- Overhead hazards and low hanging ceilings
- Power lines – You want to keep the lift away from electrical lines.
Don’t Change the Lift
You might be tempted to use the lift in ways that it’s not intended to be used. When you cut corners, it might make your job easier for the time being but it also increases the chances of having scissor lift accidents.
Examples include overriding the safety features or adding on scaffolding. These, among other things, are incredibly hazardous. Whatever you need to do, do it safely. Lives are at stake!
Prevent Scissor Lift Accidents With Training
Don’t play games with your or your workers’ lives by cutting corners, neglecting training, or using a DIY scissor lift when you need the real thing. Scissor lift accidents can be fatal, and things can change in the blink of an eye.
Make sure you and your new hires always have the latest manuals and safety tips. And review safety protocols with your workers regularly.
If you have a Lange Lift scissor lift and are not sure if your manual or equipment is up to date, contact us. We can help.