Physical Barriers in Workplace
August 12, 2019
When workers perform their duties in the same work area day in and day out, movements around the work area can become robotic. A physical barrier can help protect workers from certain hazards. This can reduce the possibility for slip and fall accidents, as well as other types of accidents that are likely to cause injuries. Some industrial work areas may have caution tape on the floor, which is meant to act as a barrier or prevent workers from entering a certain area. Tape on the floor can be overlooked and the intended barrier may not protect employees. Other physical barriers are more effective, which can include:
Barriers are especially important where there are motorized vehicles that could accidentally drive into areas that are inappropriate for the vehicle. Physical barriers, instead of tape or signs, are a much better signal to the driver not to enter the area. There may be times where some employees may want to temporarily close off areas; chains and nets may be a good choice for temporary barriers.
Robots May Necessitate More Physical Barriers in Work Areas
In other areas where robots may be working, only certain employees may be permitted in those areas. If other employees are not familiar with the robot or are properly trained, they could experience mishaps, such as getting their clothes caught on the robot or not anticipating the robot’s movements. As more robots are being used in manufacturing areas, this may require more physical barriers as the plant changes.
Even if some employees are permitted in certain areas of the plant, a physical barrier is more likely to reduce the number of accidents if something unexpected happens with the robot. For example, if the robotic machine begins to leak oil, there is less likely to be a slip and fall accident if there is only one person in the robot area, since that person may notice the oil before a fall occurs. With multiple people passing through the area, the floor is more occupied. A floor that is clear of foot traffic provides a clear view to those passing through.
How Physical Barriers Prevent Accidents
Even if accidents cannot be prevented entirely in manufacturing plants, physical barriers, which provide clear signals to workers in the area, can greatly reduce accidents in two ways; it reduces the number of people affected by a potential hazard and can also reduce the number of accidents that one worker can sustain. Although employees may know mentally who is supposed to be in one area, the barriers serve as a physical reminder of divisions of work areas and responsibilities.
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