There’s no area of work in America that isn’t touched by workplace safety regulations and guidelines.
OSHA–or the Occupational Safety and Health Administration–sets forth basic minimum standards for employers and employees with the intention of creating safe workplaces; states and employers may have more stringent standards for some kinds of work.
Engineering workplaces are no different, even though engineering workplaces may be found in multiple employment sectors. Learn more about health and safety in engineering workplaces.
A Multidisciplinary Field
Engineering skills are valuable across industries. Engineers can work in design services, developing new machines or transportation; many work in the marine and petroleum sectors of the economy.
There are also architectural, industrial, civil, mechanical, and electrical engineering careers that are subject to the workplace health and safety guidelines issued by OSHA. What’s important to remember is that no matter where an engineer works, workplace health and safety guidelines will apply.
OSHA Standards for Health and Safety in Engineering Workplaces
Like nearly all other workplaces under the authority of OSHA, those that focus on engineering are subject to the general industry standards. The work of engineers may also place them under construction industry standards, depending on their employer or duties.
OSHA standards are published online and in printed publications so everyone can view them and see how they related to the work they do. States often have their own occupational health and safety agencies, too, so it’s vital to understand how those guidelines apply to your work.
In addition to general industry health and safety regulations, employers often have their own workplace safety manuals and guidelines. These can range from required safety training standards to procedures that govern what happens in different types of emergencies.
These often come with continuing education, training, and drills to ensure that employees understand and can take the appropriate action when necessary. Employers also typically have workplace incident paperwork that needs to be completed for an on-site investigation after an accident or injury.
And some workplace safety comes down to personal responsibility. If an employee notices hazardous working conditions, they must alert a supervisor or manager so the situation can be addressed. Even if it’s not mandated by an employer, taking the time to regularly inspect tools and equipment for damage can prevent user injuries.
Other good practices include carrying out safety inspections and ensuring you and your team have good communication skills. If the person on the night shift doesn’t share his discovery of a potential problem with the next person to take his place in the daytime, it’s a missed opportunity to protect workers from harm.
The need for safety guidelines isn’t limited to just one type of workplace. All workplaces benefit from health and safety training. The health and safety training in engineering workplaces may look a little different than that required for other sectors of the economy; however, it’s because the hazards may be a little different, too.
Knowing the potential hazards and putting into place the necessary safeguards will help reduce the incidence of employee illness or injury while protecting productivity and workflow expectations to the satisfaction of employees and employers.