Maintenance Safety Topics

Maintenance workers often make up the front line of safety defense when it comes not only to themselves, but also to the safety of all the workers in a business.

Properly Use and Store Tools

Maintaining a safe environment for all employees, as well as keeping up with safe work practices when performing maintenance tasks, is of utmost importance. Discussing safety issues and keeping communications open between workers helps prevent unnecessary hazards.

Be familiar with a tool's proper usage before attempting to use it yourself. If instruction sheets are available for an unfamiliar tool, read them carefully and use them accordingly. Make use of the proper protective equipment each tool calls for, and make sure that protective equipment is readily available when needed by each worker. Make sure the tools are in working order and that, when not in use, they are stored properly. For instance, make sure an electric grinder is equipped with shields. You can easily scrape your arm when walking past or working in close range to an unshielded grinder.

Identify and Properly Store Hazardous Chemicals

Each employee should know the location of the Material Safety Data Sheets' binder and know how to read a Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS). Each MSDS provides valuable information to prevent the misuse of potentially dangerous chemicals. It also contains information regarding first aid procedures, potential health hazards, cleanup and disposal procedures, any potential fire and explosion hazards and any personal protective equipment needed. Make sure each chemical used by maintenance workers is clearly and properly labeled. Store hazardous chemicals in a proper storage cabinet and make certain that both the containers and cabinets themselves are properly closed.

Label Containers

Make sure all containers are properly labeled so you can easily identify containers that hold chemicals, water or anything else. Not being certain of what you're working with puts you, and others, at risk of exposure to hazardous chemicals and a variety of dangers.

Use Proper Lifting Techniques

Working maintenance involves constant lifting of both tools and materials. Back injuries are a constant hazard that could account for time lost from work. When you lift, stand close to the load and squat with your knees bent and back straight. Grip the object firmly and bring it close to your body, then push up slowly with your legs. Don't attempt to carry an object or load that is just too heavy for you to safely manage. Enlist help if you need it.

Routinely Inspect the Property

Make it a routine to inspect the overall property for any potential hazards to both maintenance workers and other employees, and also to customers or guests. Make sure the parking lot and sidewalk are free of tripping hazards and the paved surface is unbroken. Check to be certain that the lighting both outside and inside is adequate. Keep fire access lanes free of parked cars to allow the easy arrival of emergency vehicles. Repair any carpet areas that have snags, tears or wrinkles. Keep electrical cords secured and free from walkways.

About the Author

Christopher John has been a freelance journalist since 2003. He has written for regional newspapers such as "The Metro Forum" and the "West Tennessee Examiner." John has a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from Memphis State University.