|Monthly Safety Tip
You wouldn’t think something as common and familiar as a door would be a safety hazard. Hardly a month goes by that we don’t have at least one injury involving a door as a direct or indirect cause.
We all know what doors are and how to use them. We have doors at our homes, on our cars, we use them at restaurants, shopping centers, and, yes, even medical centers. Doors come in a variety of styles. Think of the difference between your car door and the automatic glass doors at the mall. Some door handles have to be turned, some have to be pressed, and some don’t have a handle. The door opening mechanism could present a chance of you getting a hand or finger caught in it. Even a simple push bar can catch a wrist or arm if you place your hand through it.
And what about those hinges? Some hinges are large and set in a way that creates an obstruction. Sometimes the gap at the hinge side of an open door is large enough to slip your whole hand in or, at least, a finger. A door closing on hand like that can do some real harm.
Injuries have occurred by people walking too close to the latching mechanism and scraping themselves. The door handle itself can leave a nasty bruise if you walk into it. Employees have also walked right into a stationary door because they forgot it was there or thought it was closed when it was open. When we get busy at work and are thinking of the task at hand, we don’t always think of the simple things in our work environment.
How we use doors can also pose a risk. If a door that is generally wide open is left only partially open, someone may not pay close attention to the new position and hit it or walk into it. Use correct body mechanics when opening the door. If the door is very heavy use both hands if necessary and don’t twist while opening. You want to consider having the closing mechanism adjusted if it is hard to open. Be aware of other people when using a door and try not to place anyone else in danger.
Here are a few points to consider around doors.
When walking past or working around a closed door always assume the door is going to open. Give it plenty of room to avoid hitting you if someone opens it.
When opening a door into traffic areas, always assume someone is on the other side. Open the door slowly.
Keep hands clear of hardware, moving parts, and pinch points.
If you need to go through a door while carrying a load, be sure to ask a coworker to open the door for you or set the load down (using proper body mechanics) and secure the door until you get through.
Contact engineering, your supervisor, your shop steward, your safety team, or Workplace Safety if you have concern about a door.
In general, doors should be fully open or fully closed.
If you enter an unfamiliar area, take special notice of the doors. Note the size, which way they open, types of mechanisms, closures, etc.
Doors are common items in our home, work, and social environment, but perhaps because they are so common we take them for granted. There are many styles and uses to consider. Be aware that doors can pose a hazard but we can work safely around them.