Overhead doors injure over 20,000 individuals a year, usually through falling. Industrial overhead doors are even more dangerous than residential doors, as they tend to be much heavier and operated more often. Here are a few of the major safety hazards your company should avoid.
1. Loose Clothing and Equipment
Clothing and equipment can get snagged on an opening door. When this happens, the door may pull downwards instead of continuing on the path upwards, injuring the person caught in its workings. Loose clothing and equipment should always be discouraged in a work-site.
2. Malfunctioning Pulley System
Most industrial overhead doors are too heavy to be opened manually. Instead there is a pulley system that begins pulling the overhead door upwards after it has been pulled far enough. If this system malfunctions, cables may snap and the door may fall down. Regular maintenance is vital to make sure that this doesn't happen. Employees should also be taught situational awareness: they should know to step back from a door immediately if they hear something unexpected occur.
3. Broken Latches
The door usually has a latch at the top that stops it from coming back down. In more advanced doors, this latch may secure the door constantly -- in other words, however far the door is raised, the door will stay there. But a broken latch or a catch will not prevent the door from moving down, which can be very dangerous with heavier doors. Occasionally, companies will know that their latches are broken but will continue using a door because it is not cost-effective to repair it -- this is always a dangerous decision. Doors and other equipment should be repaired as quickly as possible for the safety of employees. At the very least, repairs can help the company to avoid worker's comp costs and law suits.
4. Lax Multi-Tasking Protocols
Employees should always be instructed to open doors entirely, make sure that they are secured, and then and only then to pass through the door. If they attempt to open the door while holding other items or open the door while doing other things, the chance of the door falling on them is greatly increased. For larger or heavier doors, there should always be a buddy system protocol. One individual should assist in opening a door while the other individual can pass equipment and other items through it.
A well-maintained, fully operational overhead door has many safety features installed. If you're concerned about your company's overhead doors, you may want to call your industrial equipment and supply source to get them upgraded or maintained.