The production industry in Iowa encompasses everything from the plastics to battery manufacturing, and each production facility has unique safety hazards. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration mandates that employers must inform employees of all the on-the-job dangers they will encounter. Unfortunately, many business owners do not comply. Whether it is equipment-related or weather-related hazards, you might need to look out for your own safety. Manufacturing and assembling products typically involves operating production equipment that poses multiple safety hazards. Then there is the inspection of finished items and moving them to the shipping department or other locations. It makes sense to attend all safety training sessions. Even if you have heard it all, one more reminder of the hazards might keep you vigilant and safe.
Typical hazards in manufacturing plants
Your job will expose you to most or all of the following dangers, and being aware and alert might ensure your safe return to your loved ones at the end of each day:
- Equipment safety: Typical injuries caused by machines with moving parts include puncture wounds, lacerations, crush injuries and severed limbs, fingers or hands. Disregarding rules like lockout/tagout procedures can cause life-changing injuries.
- Hazardous materials: Potential hazards in production facilities include chemicals that cause damage to your skin, lungs, eyes and mucous membranes. Dangerous materials include flammable chemicals, carcinogens, corrosives and oxidizers that cause damage through direct contact, inhalation or ingestion.
- Material handling: These hazards involve all control, storage and moving of materials by using your hands or industrial powered trucks. Manual materials handling can cause musculoskeletal injuries that could leave you with long-term health problems, and forklifts and conveyor belts can cause crushing or struck-by injuries.
- Repetitive stress injuries: If you work on an assembly line, your job might involve motions that you repeat over and over again. If you do not take frequent breaks, you could develop conditions like trigger finger, bursitis or carpal tunnel syndrome.
- Fire hazards: If the tools you use in your job produce high heat or flames, you must be familiar with the locations of the fire exit doors, and it is a good idea to make sure nothing is blocking them. Learn how to use fire extinguishers, and make sure to frequently inspect sprinkler systems and smoke detectors.
- Electrical hazards: Be aware of the dangers posed by loose electrical connections, overloaded circuits, faulty wiring and other electrical hazards. Electrical accidents can cause shock, burns, cardiac arrest and even death.
- Vision and hearing hazards: Excessive noise is par for the course in this industry, and it is up to you to make sure you wear earmuffs or earplugs to prevent hearing loss. Chemicals and airborne debris of flying bits of materials, wood or sawdust can cause serious eye injuries or blindness if you neglect to wear safety glasses.
What are your rights if you suffer work-related injuries?
A significant number of reported occupational injuries in Iowa occur in production and assembling facilities. If you fall victim to an on-the-job injury, you might be eligible for compensation to cover your medical expenses and lost wages. You can consult with an experienced workers' compensation attorney who can explain the benefits to which you deserve. Legal counsel can assist with the benefits claims process to make sure you receive all the benefits allowed under applicable laws.