Tools & Equipment
The tools and equipment that preparators use on a daily basis provide a wide range of hazards.
Preparators should receive training on common “shop” safety as equipment like table saws, angle grinders, bench grinders, circular saws, band saws, sanders, cut-off saws, etc. can cause severe injury. Common sense and proper training are essential. For example, long hair, dangling ID badges, jewelry or loose clothing should be avoided when using saws.
A preparator’s tools can also cause less obvious damage. Noise is particularly insidious since there are often no obvious signs that damage is occurring other than tinnitus (ringing in the ear) and difficulty hearing for a period of time. Just as there are Threshold Limit Values (TLVs) for chemicals, so too are there TLVs for noise. Even cheap and simple foam earplugs can provide effective protection. Packages should list the product’s noise reduction ratings (NRR) that correspond to the reduction in decibels (dB). City traffic, milling machines and lawn mowers all have noise levels between 80-95 dB meaning that they are seen as very annoying and may cause hearing damage after 8 hours. Tools like the airscribe may provide similar noise levels. Don’t forget that background ambient noise will contribute to overall levels.
For more information on noise read Coueignoux-London, C., 2006. All Ears: The Importance of Noise Protection. AIC News, March 2006 (31:2) 17–18.
Vibration and Repetitive Stress
Tools such as airscribes and drills are used almost on a daily basis and preparators must ensure that they do not become susceptible to repetitive stress injuries caused by vibration and bad posture.
Check out the following resources for additional information:
- The United Kingdom’s Health & Safety Executive website has useful information on vibration and other topics.
- For more information visit the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) website.
- To combat the effects of vibration and repetitive stress consult the University of Michigan Health System Sports Medicine Advisor index. Information on diagnosis, treatment and exercises to prevent or rehabilitate injuries are available online.