Newequipment 78 Plant Operations Workers Packing Boxes In Factories

Is Your Workplace Equipped to Prevent a Factory Collapse?

Nov. 10, 2015
In the last month, Pakistan was rocked by a devastating natural disaster, followed by a preventable man-made one. The loss of life can never be regained, but we can take away some lessons.

the recent earthquake, and many workers had been complaining to the owner,” junior electrician Muhammad Ali told The New York Times. “But he did not care.”

Ali was on his way to work when the building fell; the owner died inside.

In recent years, accidents have been all too common in the developing nation’s manufacturing sector. In 2012, a garment factory fire killed 255 in Karachi. That same year in Lahore, a gas explosion in a bootleg veterinary medicine factory killed 13 workers, which included small children.

“Building and construction bylaws are not stringently implemented in the city,” said Sarah N. Ahmed, a local building and urban design professional, to the New York Times. “Pakistan is in an active earthquake zone, and rising density and urbanization require responsible development in order to reduce the risk of loss of life.”

So what does this depressing story have to do with American manufacturing?

Pakistan isn’t the outsourcing haven du jour like China, India or Malaysia, so it’s unlikely its negligent building codes could affect your business directly. The only reason you may even know about the region at all is because Osama bin Laden hid in the craggy mountains to the north. But any time an accident like this happens, it’s a good time to reevaluate how safe your workplace is.

After all, you’re about 271 times more likely to die at work than from a terrorist attack.

Here are a few pieces of equipment to reduce that risk:

Flir T1K Thermal Camera

America isn’t as prone to earthquakes as Pakistan, which rests in between two converging tectonic plates. NASA’s Jet Proulsion Lab does predict there is a “99.9% chance” that a substantial earthquake – of at least a 5.0 magnitude — will strike in the next two years. Most Californians could have predicted that without any fancy satellites. If a seismic event were to happen in your area, this ergonomic, high definition camera will measure and display the temperature difference, spotting structural damage.

Forklift Exchange FR15/25 Counterweight Lift Truck

A spokesperson in Lahore told reporters that the rescue efforts were slowed down because the factory was at the end of a narrow lane, making it difficult for excavators and rescue vehicles to get through.  The FR15/25 forklift excels in tight places, taking up the space of a 15,000-lb. capacity truck, but with the power of a 25,000-lb. one. If there's not time to wait for an actual rescue vehicle, it's nice to have this compact bruiser in your fleet.

Pfannenberg PATROL Model PA X 1-05 Audible Alarms

These industrial alarms with strobe lights connect to any sensor, so if there's a fire, tornado, or earthquake, you will know through these 100 to 120 dB alarms. That's about the range of a race car to a jet taking off, so no matter how load your machinery, everyone should be aware and able to seek safety.