The subjects of health and safety in and around workplaces where laser marking and engraving machinery is used are of course of the utmost importance. While is of course fair to say that in the instance of the modern fiber laser marking machine all health and safety implications will have been considered, there are always certain risks attached to each and every piece of equipment around the workplace – especially those of the heavy-duty variety.
These days, it’s incredibly rare to come across a workplace that in any way flouts health and safety legislation and general common sense practices. Nevertheless, there will always be instances where certain holes in health and safety management/implementation are present – holes that can leave the business and its workforce wide open to a variety of potential problems.
Laser Safety Programs
This is where the idea of the laser safety program enters the conversation, which although considered somewhat superfluous in the eyes of manywill always help ensure that workplace health and safety is appropriately controlled, monitored and implemented. Not only this, but it is to some extent seen as something of a recommended or even a required standard that internal laser policies and related safety practices are implemented for the benefit of the workforce in general.
Unsurprisingly, the biggest argument against the establishment of such programs is that of simply not having enough time or resources to devote to it. Nevertheless, the costs and efforts required to implement internal laser safety programs are exponentially less severe than those associated with the fallout in the event of an accident or dangerous incident.
In reality, actually establishing and implementing a laser safety program really isn’t all that difficult. In fact, it’s simply a case of making sure the following boxes are ticked and the appropriate members of the workforce are involved at the appropriate levels:
- The first step is to appoint something of an official ‘laser safety officer’ who to a large extent will take control of both the organisation and implementation of the laser safety plan. Suffice to say, it needs to be an individual who is not only directly involved with the use of the laser equipment in question, but is also in a position that allows them to supervise, delegate and generally take a leadership role in things.
- Once the person has been appointed, the next step in the process is to ensure that they themselves are sufficiently trained in every relevant area of laser equipment safety. This may mean providing them with access to the essential learning materials or perhaps organising a training course if necessary, but as these will be the individuals other members of the workforce rely on for accurate information, their knowledge and understanding need to be total.
- The next step in the process is to establish a series of procedures and policies specific to the business and the working environment in question. This basically means taking as much time as necessary to createa universally applicable listof how, when, where and by whom all laser equipment across the workplace should and must be used from here on. This information needs to be not only comprehensive, but concise and understandable enough for every member of the workforce to understand.
- After this, it’s a case of performing a comprehensive risk analysis for each example of laser machinery and equipment around the workplace, while at the same time creating a detailed laser inventory. By identifying the various risks attached to such devices and who specifically is at risk, it becomes exponentially easier to control and minimise all such risks.
- The establishment of authorised users with respect to each specific piece of equipmentcan also helpwith health and safety management. In all instances across the board, there should be individuals who can and cannot use specific pieces of machinery, along with those who have the authority to carry out more advanced tasks and perhaps routine maintenance.
- Regular audits should also be planned and implemented, wherein allrelevant equipment and health and safety concerns are visitedand analysed in order to identify potential problems and threats.
- Last but not least, when and where existing or potential future issues are identified during any audits or throughout the course of everyday operations, action plans should be developed and implemented in order to resolve/address the problems.
When the workforce as a whole plays an active role in health and safety, even the most seemingly hazardous working environment can in fact be made almost comprehensively safe.