Workplace Health and Safety Queensland has recently released a safety reminder highlighting the risks of handling glass sheets.
An incident in February 2018u, where three workers suffered severe lacerations when one of several large glass sheets in a racking system fell to the ground and shattered prompted the Agency to issue the reminder.
According to WHSQ, it appears that one of the workers trying to restrain the glass sheets by hand was not able to support the weight of one of them. Another worker came to help but was unable to prevent the sheet from falling.
If not supported by a suitable racking or transport frames, the risk of injuries of handling or moving glass sheets is high and workers around the vicinity of stacked sheet materials are at risk of being injured. Moreover, workers are also prone to suffering from musculoskeletal injuries when they are required to manually balance stacks of sheets during sorting and handling.
Statistics show that there have been 126 glass smashing incidents, with 13 involving stacks or racks of glass paneling since 2012. There have been 157 accepted workers’ compensation claims for injuries received as a result of falling glass. On average,31 claims are accepted each year for workers injured by falling glass. Forty percent of these injuries are serious.
Workplace Health and Safety Queensland reminds duty holders in the glass handling/manufacturing industry to consider a combination of engineering and administrative risk controls as relying on only one system may not be effective.
- Workers should never restrain glass by hand
- Use a rack or transport frame to securely store, cradle, lift, transport and retrain sheets
- Use mechanical lifting equipment whenever possible
- Implement regimes for maintenance, inspection, and testing of all racking and lifting equipment
- Have a lifting plan
- Avoid accessing sheets from the middle of the stack
- Ensure support systems are designed for forces resulting from unbalanced loads
- Ensure appropriate and adequate training and supervision of workers
- Ensure workers wear appropriate PPE
WHSQ has more information on managing work health and safety risks (Code of practice 2011) on its website.