How to Ensure a Safer Environment in Hazardous Workplaces

Gordon Priestly

Gordon PriestlySenior Product Design Engineer at SAEQUIP

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Just because a company works in extreme environments that contains hazardous materials, that doesn't mean the workplace has to be hazardous for workers.

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Sometimes, these companies actually achieve a safer environment than your average office because they place a real emphasis on measures to ensure worker safety. It all starts with a specialist, or a team of specialists, assessing and monitoring the risks the environment poses.

Performing inspections and assessing risks

These specialists perform various roles in the workspace to maximize safety. The roles of individual workers and the spaces they operate in will be scrutinized for potential hazards. This might include measurements for interior air quality to assess whether additional ventilation is required or materials/surfaces being tested for hazardous substances that could be flammable, corrosive or explosive.

Once this inspection has been performed, the safety specialists can put together safety plans that detail procedures and equipment required to address any safety risks that were discovered. For example, in an underground mining environment where it’s dark and there’s harmful gas in the atmosphere, special EX lighting and ventilation equipment could be implemented. This type of specialist equipment is crucial for ensuring there are no additional hazards introduced; for example, the EX certification means it’s explosion-proof.

Technology that promotes safety

This type of specialist equipment is critical to the work of safety professionals in these types of workplaces. Equipment such as lighting, ventilation, power generation and much more, enable workers to carry out their duties in a safe and productive way. With the right technology, virtually any working environment can be made safe, and it’s the job of the certified safety professionals to find the right solutions.

Work in extreme environments will involve many different demands from one day to the next, and it’s critical to have regular safety monitoring and reviews to keep workers safe and productive. The people performing this monitoring will need special training to identify opportunities for improvement in safety. They’ll also have the knowledge and experience to recommend various solutions that will work for the company involved.

Know your responsibilities

It’s ultimately the responsibility of organizations to provide a safe working environment, no matter the challenges. There are no compromises when it comes to safety in hazardous environments, and a certified safety professional will be able to point you in the direction of quality technology to do it right. Safe working environments are good for a company's bottom line, because they keep workers healthy and productive but are also critical to remain legally compliant and avoid lawsuits. Invest in hazardous area equipment now and you will see the benefits further down the line.

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