Every occupation has its peril, including locksmith. A locksmith may need to be mindful of the occupational hazard that accompanies his job and use protective equipment to minimize exposure to these hazards, especially when dealing with metals and sharp objects like metal shavings and splinters.

Read below to understand some of the dangers locksmith faces as he goes about his job.

Is Being a Locksmith Dangerous?

What does a locksmith do?

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A lot of people believe the only duty of a locksmith is to pick locks. Though it is not false, a locksmith’s job is not restricted to that alone. Locksmith also performs the following important tasks:

  • Locksmiths perform the all-essential duty of cutting, copying and shaping keys for use in homes, offices, business environments, windows and safe.
  • Locksmiths also repair and service locks, both for doors and windows.
  • Security safes provide additional protection for personal belongings against theft and larceny. Locksmiths supply, open and fix security safe and vaults. 
  • Ever been locked out of your car? Locksmiths can fix that. An auto locksmith can gain entry into your vehicle without causing any damage to the lock. Other auto locksmith services include: replacement of vehicle keys, car keys fobs and reprogram remote keys.
  • Some locksmiths offer access control system services. In this era of modernization, the access control system has grown imperative because security issues are increasingly becoming complex. Access control system authorizes access entry into a building. Most locksmiths can supply access control systems to offices or homes.
  • Locksmiths are available every hour of the day to avail themselves to emergencies that demand their services, for instance, in cases where people are locked out of their home or car. 

As seen, the locksmith profession comes with enormous responsibility, and locksmiths perform their task seriously to satisfy their customers. 

What is the occupational hazard of a locksmith?

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Locksmiths face their own unique set of occupational hazards, these include:

Injuries from metal shavings

Metal shavings are extremely dangerous. When it comes in contact with the eyes, it can cause a corneal abrasion, which potentially can lead to blindness, if not treated on time. Locksmiths produce a lot of metal shavings in the course of tasks like shaping a new key. Protective equipment like eyeshield can lessen the chances of being struck in the eyes by flying metal shavings. 

Injuries from Splinters 

Another danger a locksmith might face in his daily schedule is splinters. Splinters are tiny fragments or shards of metal or wood. Splinters have been known to cause puncture wounds, pain, discolouration and even cyst. If foreign objects ( like wood splinters) are lodged untreated under the skin for a long time, they can increase the risk of bacterial infection (including the dreaded Clostridium tetani). Apart from metal, locksmiths regularly encounter wooden materials during lock installation in a building. 

Lead poisoning

Lead is a highly toxic metal that locksmiths may encounter in the course of rekeying or making a duplicate key. Research studies carried out by several medical institutes have found out that even a minuscule amount of lead is enough to severely affect the nervous and circulatory system. Exposure to lead can cause stomach ache, unstable emotions, pain, inability to concentrate and fertility problems.

Noise pollution

Noise is a common occupational hazard most locksmiths face. Exposure to loud noise is enough to cause permanent damage to the ear. Locksmiths use key-making machines which can produce a loud noise. This loud noise has negative health consequences, including difficulty in concentration, stress, extreme fatigue, tinnitus and even loss of the ability to hear.

How locksmiths can protect themselves from workplace hazard

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As locksmiths, it is essential to pay attention to safety. This will help minimize the exposure to these occupational hazards. Yearly, a lot of locksmiths fall victim to accidents and this, unfortunately, happens due to disregard for safety and absence of protective equipment. Protective equipment available to locksmiths includes eye protection, skin and hand protection and, sometimes, hearing protection. 

Eye protection

Locksmiths perform a lot of metalwork like drilling and crafting keys, and there is a high likelihood of shards, wood splinters, metal shavings flying around. Eye protective tools like safety goggles, spectacles and face shields can reduce the risk of exposure to these flying debris.

Hand and skin protection

Occupational hazards can cause damage to the hand and wrist. Some locksmiths have suffered from cuts and bruises from metal shavings. Hand protection equipment will generally protect against these hazards. Some hand protection equipment includes arm covering and gloves.

Hear protector

Earmuffs and earplugs can be worn to reduce or minimize or reduce the potential negative effect caused by exposure to a high level of noise. As per the recommendation of The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, every worker is expected to wear a hearing protector if he works in an environment where the noise decibel exceeds 85 dBA.