Category Archives: Safety Blog

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unprotected openings in floors or roofs

Unprotected Openings – Cover All Floor and Roof Holes

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Unprotected Openings — A Preventable Hazard.

Workers face many safety hazards on the job.  One of those hazards is falling through dangerous unprotected openings on roofs or floors.  In this incident, a large, unprotected opening was found on the property of an industrial company.  The company was located across the street from several apartment buildings where small children often played outdoors.  To make the unprotected opening hazard even more dangerous, the hole had several inches of water in the bottom.  The opening, which was left uncovered for days, should have been covered immediately and secured until work could resume on the project.

unprotected openings are a preventable hazard

HOW DOES THIS RELATE TO OUR WORK?

OSHA requires that every unprotected opening into which a worker can accidentally fall into be guarded (using a railing and toe-board or a floor hole cover).  Cover or guard floor holes as soon as they are created during construction.  When the cover is not in place, the floor hole shall be constantly attended by someone or shall be protected by a removable standard railing.

—  Construct all floor hole covers so they will effectively support two times the weight of employees, equipment, and materials that may be imposed on the cover at any one time.
—  Secure coverings for floor and roof openings to prevent accidental removal or displacement.
—  The provision of administrative controls, such as providing an attendant, should not be used in lieu of proper engineering controls such as railings, covers or other protective methods.  Attendance at a floor opening is only intended to provide an oral warning by the attendant to stay a safe distance (preferably) from the opening until a barrier or cover had been placed in position to adequately secure the opening from fall through hazards.
—  Covers shall be secured in place to prevent accidental removal or displacement, and shall bear signage stating: “Dangerous Opening—Do Not Remove.”
—  If you come across a floor or roof with an unprotected opening, alert your supervisor so the opening can be safely protected as soon as possible.

Protecting workers and pedestrians from falling into unprotected openings is a totally preventable hazard.


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wash hands prevent germs

Wash Hands Often to Prevent Germs

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GERMS ARE EVERYWHERE.

Washing your hands properly is the most effective way to protect yourself from getting sick and spreading germs to others. So many things we come into contact with have germs on them. From countertops, handrails and doorknobs to shopping cart handles, your kids toys, pets and the garbage you throw out, germs are everywhere. They’re even in your kitchen and most are found on the kitchen towel—even the ones with pretty designs on them! And keep your cell phone out of the kitchen while you’re cooking. It may contain more germs than a toilet seat. Most people take their cell phone into the bathroom with them and this could lead to E. coli germs getting on the phone. Use alcohol wipes to keep your phone clean.

People are always touching their eyes, mouth and nose without even realizing they are doing it. Germs can be transferred from the hands and into the body, which can cause us to become ill. Get in the habit of washing your hands frequently. Use clean water and liquid soap if it’s available since bar soap itself can become contaminated, especially if used by many different people. Lather your hands together for 20-30 seconds and be sure to lather the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails. Then rinse your hands under clean, running water and dry them using a clean towel or air dry them. Washing hands with soap and water is the best way to get rid of germs in most situations. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.

prevent germs, wash hands, hygiene

Develop techniques to help you avoid touching things with your fingertips. Push doors open and cup doorknobs using the palms of your hands instead of grabbing them with your finger tips. Wash your hands after pushing around a shopping cart.  We all know about recent reports that indicate that E. coli is found on 50 percent of shopping carts! There are 138,000 total bacteria per square inch of a shopping cart — an amount which exceeds the number of bacteria in the average public restroom. These are fecal bacteria capable of causing illness. If you use a sanitizing wipe, you’re going to get protection against most of the germs. Or, you can just grab a hand-held basket. Baskets might contain the same pathogenic bacteria as a cart, but baskets aren’t used to carry kids, and toddlers who ride in shopping carts are believed to be a major source of the germs. To be safer, you should take time to wipe down the basket, too. Take advantage of using store supplied sanitizing wipes (when available). Your health will thank you for it!

The best way to protect against germs is to keep your hands squeaky clean. While you can’t sterilize your environment, you can limit exposure by practicing good hand hygiene.  

WASH YOUR HANDS THOROUGHLY AND FREQUENTLY!

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ladder safety

Ladder Safety Learned The Hard Way

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Homeowner Falls Off Ladder.

This is a story about ladder safety, one of the most dangerous hazards people encounter on a regular basis.  This Illinois homeowner set up a ladder and was attempting to get on his roof in November to blow leaves off the roof.  He recently had new concrete poured on his patio.  He set up his ladder on the new, smooth concrete and rested the ladder against his gutter.  The temperature outside was around 30 degrees.  The homeowner strapped his gas-powered blower to his back, grabbed the hose with one hand and started up the ladder.  As he reached the roof edge, he started stepping from the ladder to the roof.  Just as he took his first step onto the roof, the ladder slid out from under him, causing him to fall approximately 10 feet to the ground below.  The ladder lost traction on the ground because conditions were icy and the base pads of the ladder were plastic. 

His wife, an ER nurse who happened to be home heard the fall and came to his aid and called an ambulance to take him to the hospital.  The homeowner suffered a broken wrist and a broken arm, each requiring screws and plates to aid in realigning the bones.  He was out of work for four months and needed six months of physical therapy.  He learned an important lesson about how dangerous ladders can be.

WHAT SHOULD HAVE BEEN DONE DIFFERENTLY?

•  The homeowner should have made sure his ladder was set up on a stable surface and that it was set up at a proper angle so it couldn’t slide out from under him.

•  He also could have taken more care in carrying his blower up the ladder so it didn’t cause him to lose his balance.

HOW DOES LADDER SAFETY RELATE TO OUR WORK?

•  Always set up ladders on solid, level, stable ground.

•  Inspect the ladder, rungs and rails for damage before climbing.

•  Let someone know you’ll be using a ladder to work on your roof or gutters.

•  Make sure ladders are set up at the proper angle so they can’t slide out
from under you.  Extend the ladder at least 3 feet above the roof line, or landing edge.

•  Always maintain three points of contact when on a ladder (i.e. two hands
and one foot or two feet and one hand).

•  Do not climb with tools in hand—use a tool belt.

•  Don’t overreach or stretch too far as this could cause the ladder to tip —
reposition the ladder closer to the work instead.

•  Think about ladder safety as you plan your task.  Take precautions to eliminate risks.

While this homeowner was unlucky to have fallen off his ladder, he was also lucky to have survived a fall from such a height.  Unfortunately, too many people are killed every year from falling off ladders.


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traffic stops: What to do if pulled over by the police

Traffic Stops: Being Pulled Over

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Recent news stories about altercations between police officers and people they have pulled over during traffic stops has created a heightened awareness and concern of what people should do when being pulled over by the police.  There are certain simple procedures that you can take to minimize any potential miscommunication between you and the officer. First and foremost, respect the police officer and their authority.  If you feel you have been wrongly pulled over, you can always plead your case in a court of law.  Do not be antagonistic or disrespectful.  Answer the officer’s questions truthfully and cooperate with them fully.  Laws, rules and procedures are in place in society and in the workplace for a reason: to establish order, foster safety, and so everyone conforms to an acceptable standard of behavior.  When being pulled over by the police, follow the guidelines outlined below and share these tips with your family members.  That way, everyone returns home safe after traffic stops.

WHAT SHOULD BE DONE WHEN BEING PULLED OVER?

•  As soon as you see flashing lights in your rearview mirror and hear the siren of the police car behind you, let the officer know you see him/her by immediately putting on your right turn signal and pulling over to the curb.

•  Put your car in park.

•  At this point don’t be moving around going into your clothes, purse, glove box or center console to retrieve your license and proof of insurance cards.  The officer will be watching you as he/she approaches your window and they may think you are pulling a weapon or hiding something.

•  Turn on the dome light inside your car so the officer can see inside easier.

•  Roll your window down and place your hands on the steering wheel at ‘12 and two’ and wait for the officer to arrive at your window.

•  You may notice in your mirror that the officer will place his/her hand on the trunk of your car as they approach.  Do not be alarmed.  They do this as a precautionary measure to leave their fingerprints on cars in case they are harmed during the traffic stop and the offender drives away.  Many an offender has been convicted once they are tracked down because the officer’s prints were found on their car.

•  When the officer arrives at your window, he/she will tell you why they have pulled you over.  They will ask you if you have any weapons in the car.  If you do have a weapon in the car, be honest and tell the officer where the weapon is located.  Then follow the officer’s instructions EXACTLY.

•  The officer will also ask you for your driver’s license and proof of insurance, and in some states your vehicle registration card.

•  Before making any sudden moves, tell the officer where your items are located in the car and that you will get them out. This way, the officer can get in the best position to watch you retrieve your items.

•  Retrieve the items and hand them to the officer. The officer will tell you to stay in your car as they go back to their car to evaluate the situation and determine if they are going to issue a ticket or just give you a warning.

•  If you suddenly remember where something is that the officer asked for, don’t jump out of your car to go give it to them.  This behavior may alarm the officer and place them in a defensive position.  Rather, honk your horn and wave to them.  The officer will respond to you.

•  If the officer comes back to your car to issue you a ticket, they may ask you to sign the ticket.  This is simply to acknowledge that you received the ticket.  It does not imply an admission of guilt.

•  When the officer is done handing you the ticket, you should pull away first.


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Safety Topics Covered

Ladder Safety - LOTO - Confined Space - Trench Safety - Crane Safety - Fall Protection - PPE - Fuel Tank Safety - Eye Safety - Work Zone Safety - Chemical Safety - Forklift Safety - Electrical Safety - Pinch Points - Ergonomics - Material Handling - Tool Safety - Health & First Aid - Machine Guarding - Lifting & Back Health - Transport Safety - Hearing Protection - Respiratory Safety - Workplace Violence - Fire Safety - Chocking & Blocking - Walk/Working Surfaces - Hazard Communications - Bloodborne Pathogens - Flammable Liquids - Propylene Cylinders - Loading Dock Safety - Emergency Evacuation - Driving/Spotter Safety - Scaffolding Safety - Fatigue - Underground Utilities - Drum Labeling - Welding Safety - Hand Protection - Heat Stress - and more...