Performance plastics Security Featured | Lecture : 5 minutes

    5 Ways to Reduce Workplace Accidents in the Industrial Sector

    In this article, we’ll address the issue of workplace safety by discussing 5 ways to reduce the risk of accidents in the industrial sector. According to the latest Commission des normes, de l'équité, de la santé et de la sécurité du travail (CNESST) report, 94,679 workplace accidents were reported in 2019, which represents an increase of 2,968 over the previous year.[1] Since personnel safety is a priority, areas and equipment must be optimized to provide a safer work environment.

    We have therefore identified 5 leading causes of occupational injuries and propose solutions to help prevent them.

    1. Reduce the risk of falls with anti-slip surfaces

    1-Surface-Antiderap-50Workplace falls are more common than you might think. The numbers speak for themselves: in 2019, the CNESST documented 17,922 workplace accidents caused by a fall.[2] Of these, more than 65% were same-level falls, which are often caused by the surface conditions, such as slippery, dirty or poorly maintained floors.[3] When it comes to outdoor structures, weather conditions can cause damage over time, making them less safe.

    Solution: Opting for structures with surfaces designed to prevent falls even when wet, such as those made of FRP (fiberglass-reinforced plastic), a composite material prized for its anti-slip properties. Since it’s weather resistant, it can be used both indoors and outdoors. FRP also requires very little maintenance and never rusts, thus reducing the risk of falls caused by worn, damaged or slippery surfaces.

    2. Install guardrails

    2-Gardes-Corps-50Guardrails are an excellent solution to reduce low-level falls, which accounted for approximately 28% of all reported falls in 2019 (5,095 low-level falls).[4]

    Guardrails must be installed according to standards. Frequent maintenance is also required, especially for outdoor guardrails since they’re exposed to the weather and therefore more likely to rust. Also in 2019, 14,289 reported accidents had a surface or structure as the causal agent.

    Solution: Installing FRP (fiberglass-reinforced plastic) guardrails, which, like their metal counterparts, can reduce the risk of falls. FRP guardrails, however, have a longer service life than their steel counterparts and require very little maintenance, as they're made a composite material that doesn’t rust.

    3. Restrict access to moving parts

    3-Protection-Machine-50Moving parts found on production lines can frequently be the cause of work-related accidents. Conveyors, for example, often represent entanglement hazards. In 2019 alone, 24,055 workplace accidents were caused by contact with objects or equipment.

    Solution: Installing guards on all moving parts that may pose a health risk to workers. The objective is to minimize access to these types of parts. Several options are available on the market, such as metal, FRP or polycarbonate protective screens. These, among other products, can limit the risks of entanglement.

    4. Reduce the risks related to impacts

    4-Écran-Sécurité-50When in use, certain machines and equipment produce flying debris, such as those caused by sawing or machining.

    Solution: Using transparent protective screens can reduce the risks associated with impacts and projectiles. Polycarbonate is ideal for this type of application, as it has an impressive impact resistance, 250 times greater than glass.


    5. Reduce noise levels

    5-Liner-Tivar-50Noise represents an important risk for workers, either as the cause of work accidents or as the causal agent of occupational diseases developing over time. In the province of Quebec, the maximum permissible exposure level for an 8-hour period is 90 dB.[5] According to the Réseau de la santé publique en santé au travail du Québec (RSPSAT), the CNESST approved more than 95,000 diagnoses of occupational deafness between 1997 and 2018.  Workplace noise also represents a risk of injury. In 2019, 37 accidents were directly caused by exposure to noise. [6]

    Solution: Using noise-absorbent liners made from performance plastics can help reduce noise directly at the source, especially those caused by impact and friction. For example, TIVAR-88 is frequently used as liners for conveyors and chutes because of its abrasion resistance, low coefficient of friction and ability to reduce conveyor noise.


    [1] CNESST, Annual Report 2019, p. 100. (French only) https://www.cnesst.gouv.qc.ca/sites/default/files/documents/dc200-1046web.pdf

    [2] Ibid.

    [3] https://www.cnesst.gouv.qc.ca/en/prevention-securite/identifier-corriger-risques/liste-informations-prevention/falls-same-height

    [4] CNESST, Annual Report 2019, p. 100. (French only) https://www.cnesst.gouv.qc.ca/sites/default/files/documents/dc200-1046web.pdf

    [5] Réseau de la santé publique en santé au travail du Québec (French only)

    https://www.santeautravail.qc.ca/web/rspsat/dossiers/risques-physiques/bruit/lois

    [6] CNESST, Annual Report 2019, p. 100. (French only) https://www.cnesst.gouv.qc.ca/sites/default/files/documents/dc200-1046web.pdf

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