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Safety Management Insights

How Can My Company Have a Safe Summer Shutdown?

Posted by Don Brown on Aug 28, 2014 8:30:00 AM

safe_summer_shutdown_tipsWhile summer heat is an opportunity for some companies to ramp up production, many facilities close up shop to allow for vacation time and much-needed maintenance. 

Maintenance and other mid-shutdown tasks often require temporary and contracted workers who may be even more at risk for injuries.

To ensure everyone coming and going stays safe and avoids costly accidents, you'll need to enact some summer-specific safety policies. For those of you closing up shop for the summer, here are a few tips for having the safest shutdown possible.

Get Your Procedures in Order

If you normally work with a crew of industry veterans and long-time employees, you may not be used to explaining and enforcing safety procedures in great detail. Even if your temporary workers and maintenance crews are just as experienced as your regular staff, you can't assume they've received the same quality training. To ensure they follow your safety policies, make sure you clearly explain, document and enforce procedures such as :

  • Lockout-tagout for heavy machinery
  • Periodic safety walkthroughs
  • Transport and disposal of dangerous materials
  • The use of harnesses, hard hats and other PPE

Make Everything Accessible

No matter how experienced your maintenance crew may be, make sure your safety procedures, materials safety data sheets (MSDS) and other documentation are accessible to employees at all times. Make sure these documents are available throughout each job site, even those that have little planned work during the summer months.

Along the same lines, you'll also need to clearly display warning signs that point out the hazards of each site. Your regular crews may not need these daily reminders, but temporary workers won't be as familiar with site-specific dangers. Plus, they have far more to remember as they travel from one site to the next.

Keep an Eye on the Heat

Heat-related illness can be deadly, and any employee who exhibits signs of dehydration is already at risk. To ensure safety in the heat and humidity, enforce the following practices:

  • Water breaks every hour or half-hour
  • Regular breaks from work to cool off
  • The use of hats, light clothing and other heat-appropriate attire
  • Longer lunch breaks during the hottest times of the day.

Track Incidents Throughout the Year

One of the best ways to prevent incidents and injuries among temp workers is to track problems among your regular crews throughout the year. By keeping a complete set of data on where, when and why accidents have occurred, you can enact new policies that will keep everyone safer in the long run. 

Done manually, this can be a daunting and time-consuming task, but safety management software like BasicSafe's Incident Investigation and Reporting Module makes it easy to record incidents, order corrective actions and automatically generate OSHA-required forms. To learn more about BasicSafe’s Incident Investigation and Reporting software, watch our demo video.

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