Innovative Materials to use in Your Facility for Workplace Safety
Workplace safety remains a top concern for facilities everywhere. Companies invest tons of resources into developing safety procedures to ensure their employees are safe. However, often these same companies overlook a powerful resource to combating workplace hazards: the environment.
The facility’s environment can contribute substantially to worker safety. From air pollution levels to tripping hazards to temperature levels and more – there’s no shortage of proactive measures to take to ensure worker safety.
Often, it’s about gaining awareness of the materials available on the market to combat workplace hazards. When used in conjunction, innovative materials and proactive solutions can go a long way towards increasing overall workplace safety.
Let’s take a look at some of those materials and solutions.
Insulation is a critical component of any facility. Without proper insulation, a building struggles to maintain optimum temperatures. Poor insulation can result in overheated workers, heat exhaustion, and other heat-related consequences. There’s no arguing insulation’s role. However, there’s a new type of insulation and construction that can maximize thermal benefits.
ICF construction is a type of construction that uses interlocking insulated panels from the jump. These panels help create airtight energy-efficient buildings. By using these panels instead of standard insulation, you can proactively prevent heat-related injuries in the future.
Non-slip flooring is not a new concept, but it’s one that’s worth repeating. Slips, trips, and falls account for 26% of all nonfatal workplace injuries. In 2016, falls resulted in 702 workplace fatalities in the U.S. These staggering statistics illustrate how essential fall prevention should be in workplace safety.
Many facilities have concrete flooring, and there are several ways to make that floor less slippery. The first approach is to add grooves and texture into the concrete as it’s being laid. The second option is to apply an OSHA-compliant skid-resistant sealer on top of your concrete floors.
Even if you don’t have concrete, the market is full of innovative non-slip alternatives or solutions to nearly every flooring type on the market.
Did you know that approximately 12% of warehouse workers will develop severe lung-related illnesses in their lifetime? Dust build-up and pollution exposure make warehouse workers especially prone to air quality dangers.
Because of these facts, it’s critical to control air pollution and air quality in your facility. One way to do that is with industrial dampers. Industrial dampers go inside normal air conditioning ducts and vents and re-route air to desired locations.
In other words, dampers work by shooting polluted and toxic air away from the central air supply. Industrial dampers can also be used in a variety of different ways to optimize air efficiency and control the flow of pollutants and toxins throughout your entire facility.
Architectural louvers are also worth consideration. Unlike dampers, louvers protect your facility from pollution outside, rather than the pollution inside. Louvers direct and protect buildings from rain, sun, and wind, but most importantly, they provide ventilation.
Consider adding louvers outside your facility, especially if your facility is within a manufacturing district where your employees could potentially be subjected to the pollution of other facilities.
Integrated Floor Drainage with Slot Drains
Remember those slip and fall statistics? Integrated floor drainage systems are also an ideal solution for combating slipping hazards. The market has experienced rapid innovation and has come a long way from the bulky trench drains of the past.
Trench and grate drains used to be the norm. However, they’re incredibly bulky and present tripping hazards of their own. Not to mention, grate drains are a challenge to keep clean, making them a breeding ground for bacteria growth.
Stainless steel slot drains are an alternative to trench and grate drains that are much easier to clean and less likely to be damaged.
While handrails might not be the most innovative material or add-on, they could be one of the most valuable. The commercial handrail market has exploded with a wide range of options to complement and meet all your handrail needs.
Every stairwell, ledge, slippery area, and bathroom in your facility should have handrails. There’s no such thing as too many handrails when it comes to worker safety.
Vehicle Restraints for Your Docking Area
If your facility involves a lot of loading and unloading of materials with heavy machinery it can be a big safety hazard if you don’t have proper vehicle restraints. A docking restraint is a piece of equipment that prevents a vehicle that is being used for loading and unloading from rolling away.
Having a vehicle restraint system for your docking areas not only helps prevent work related injuries and accidents but helps to secure valuable vehicles and whatever cargo it contains.
Be Proactive: Keep Your Workers Safe with Innovative Materials
These materials and solutions are just a few of the ways to re-think worker safety. Your facility’s safety considerations should begin during the construction of the facility – not during employee training.
As long as you’re proactive about incorporating safety-enhancing materials into your facility, you’ll be on your way to creating a safer facility for you and your staff.
Matt Lee is the owner of the Innovative Building Materials blog and a content writer for the building materials industry. He is focused on helping fellow homeowners, contractors, and architects discover materials and methods of construction that save money, improve energy efficiency, and increase property value.
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