Metal West Metal Supplier

Safety Binders: Employee Safety Series

Safety Binders: Employee Safety SeriesAt Metalwest we are working to replace chain load binders with safety binders and/or ratcheting load binders to help our drivers more safely secure coils during transport.

Throughout the steel and manufacturing industries there have been many close calls and injuries that occur due to the old chain lever binders that were in use. Because employee safety is important to all of us, these close calls and injuries have proven it was time for Metalwest to switch to better technology.

Safety Release Lever Binder

The safety release lever binder is safer than other lever style load binders. They allow the user to release the binder tension without any kick back from the handle, which was a common issue with the standard lever chain binders.

Ratcheting Load Binders

Ratcheting load binders are also a safer alternative to standard lever style load binders. They help to reduce force to your body. Both options do not need a cheater bar to be utilized.

Cheater bars can be a dangerous tool. While tightening with a cheater bar it requires a lot more force and the bar can kick back onto the individual’s body. Loosening can also be dangerous. Loosening a chain with a cheater bar on a standard lever style load binder can cause the cheater bar to ricochet either back to the person operating the binder, to nearby material or equipment, or to another person in the surrounding area. All of these reasons are why we are requiring the other two style binders for our employees to use.

We want all of our employees to make it home every night to their families. At Metalwest we believe in taking extra steps and precautions to ensure everyone makes it home the way they came in in the morning. After all, we are Beyond Metal.

Special contributor: David Suchey, corporate safety manager

Reflective Uniforms: Employee Safety Series

ofr metals truck driverOur “Employee Safety Series” aims to highlight initiatives that the team at Metalwest is working on to make our work environment safe. Safety is one of our top priorities and it is important to ensure our employees have the right protective gear, tools, and knowledge to do their jobs safely.

At Metalwest we are taking a proactive approach to ensure our employees are highly visible when working in high-traffic areas and while assisting in the unloading/loading process. To assist with this initiative, Metalwest drivers are now being provided with high-visibility/reflective uniforms.

“Most of the time we see our drivers back at the office or in the shop,” said David Suchey, safety manager for Metalwest. “But we often forget that they don’t always work in such controlled environments as our facilities.”

High-Visibility/Reflective Uniforms

High-visibility/reflective uniforms are worn to help attract the attention of other truck drivers, forklift operators, crane operators and any other possible human-operated hazards. Many of the warehouses and facilities we deliver to have lower lighting that can make it difficult to see an individual walking around. Drivers also face the hazard of blind corners around many loading/unloading docks. Reflective uniforms help to minimize the risk of an accident.

“Our company cares about our drivers and we want to remain proactive about their safety out in the field,” said Suchey. “They have difficult jobs to do and making them visible at all times during the day will help ensure their safety when they are working outside of their truck.”

Driver feedback has been good, overall, according to Suchey. Metalwest is still working on supplying the uniforms to all locations. All branches should have the proper uniforms supplied by the end of the second quarter this year.

“I heard a really impactful quote that pertains to our efforts in this area, ‘The people we are working for are waiting for us to come home,’” Suchey added. “This is why we want our drivers to remain visible, their families and friends need them to come home every night.”

Check back to the Beyond Metal Buzz for more safety updates.

Arm Guards: Employee Safety Series

Using arm guards to protect arms and hands while checking slit coilEmployee safety is a top priority for us at Metalwest. We want to ensure each of our employees leaves work each night the same way they come in each morning. It is important for employees who are handling sheet metal material to be equipped with the right protective gear.

Arm guards are worn by employees who work directly with the metal, scrap, or banding. They help protect employees from being cut by sharp edges, burned, or exposed to chemicals.

Because we are constantly looking to advance the safety for our employees, Metalwest is in the process of testing a new type of arm guard for material handlers. While testing is still in the early stages, the new arm guards are proven to last longer and provide more protection than other types. They also obtain an ANSI rating of 5.

Choosing the Right Arm Guards

Climate and Comfort

All of our locations experience seasonal changes, but the changes vary from branch to branch. Some may have frigid, wet winters, while others are on the more mild side. Some may have dry, hot summers, while others have humid ones.

The variation in climates can cause discomfort. Our material handlers are currently in the process of testing out arm guards and have positive feedback on the comfort level, but summer will determine if the reaction will be the same.

It is important to find products that protect our employees, but are also comfortable for them to wear all year long.

Using arm guards to protect arms while checking sheetCut Resistance and Injury Prevention

Another important consideration for arm guards is the level of cut resistance. Because our employees are working with thin sheet metal, cut resistance is a key component to making a decision on which arm guard is the right fit.

While there are many different hazards that employees can face on a day-to-day basis, there are a few key things to consider when looking to test or buy arm guards.

  1. Are employees working with any type of material or equipment that has the ability to cause abrasion or possibly amputation?
  2. Do workers risk being exposed to dangerous chemicals, liquids, or other harmful substances?
  3. Are employees at risk of being burned whether by heat or chemicals?
  4. Do workers pose the risk of being exposed to electrical wires or other types of electricity?

There are different types of arm guards (and gloves) suited to different needs. Because we need cut resistance at Metalwest, we require gloves/arm guards with a cut/abrasion ANSI rating of at least five.

We value our employees’ safety at Metalwest. After all, we are not just about the steel.


Collaboration with the Metalwest Safety Team.