Springtime Yard & Field Maintenance Many industries are coming into their busiest season now--often with increased outdoor work in equipment yards, outside shops, or storage areas. Before peak activities begin is a good time to organize, repair, and clean up these areas. Time to accomplish this will probably be scarce later on. The following checklist may make this job easier: Are chemicals kept in an outside storage facility? If so, are the following in place? Is the written Hazcom Program complete and available to employees? Have all employees been trained in chemical handling and spill clean-up? Are spill clean-up materials available, and...

Respirator Fit Check - Personal Protective Equipment Although negative pressure respirators are an accepted way to reduce exposure to airborne contaminants, engineering controls should always be your first choice. Sometimes strategies such as adequate ventilation can reduce contaminants to levels where personal protection is not required. However, if you do choose this equipment, you must be certain of two things: Have you selected the proper respirator with the correct filtering media, and does it fit properly? No amount of training or respiratory equipment will provide the protection you need unless a good seal is made. Prior to entering a contaminated atmosphere, you...

Report Unsafe Equipment Equipment Hazards Your employer does its best to keep equipment in good condition, but maintenance personnel are only human and can't keep up with all the problems in the field. Some defects will go unnoticed in spite of every effort made. Those of you who work with and around machines and equipment are in a good position to notice hazardous conditions. Get in the habit of reporting things that can lead to accidents so that corrections can be made before they result in costly accidents and/or employee injuries. Keep in mind that the person who sees a situation that should...

Safety Considerations For Sandblasting Sandblasting operations can be overlooked when preparing safety plans because they are generally a small part of a larger project such as cleaning and refinishing or painting. As a result, many workers are exposed to the hazards of sandblasting without adequate protection. Even if all sandblasting equipment is properly designed and regularly inspected, users must always be alert to the hazards of these operations and take precautions against harmful exposures. Airborne dust: This is one of the most serious hazards associated with blasting operations. When evaluating this hazard, it's important to consider the concentration of dust and the...

Is Fiberglass A Health Hazard? Everyone has heard about the association between lung cancer and asbestos. Since some forms of asbestos are similar in appearance to fiberglass fibers, many people wonder if handling fiber-glass could also result in the development of cancer or other serious health hazards. Scientists have made over 400 studies of fiberglass in an attempt to answer this question. The conclusion is that it will not because its properties are very different from asbestos. OSHA confirmed these findings in 1991 when it decided to regulate fiberglass as a nuisance dust, and not as a cancer-causing agent. The state...

Preventing Welding Flashback Oxy-acetylene torches have been used for many years for cutting, welding, brazing, and heating of metals. The equipment used today is safe, but every year, hundreds of employees are injured or die as a result of improper use. Knowledge and precautions can prevent fires and violent explosions. Gas Pressure: One cause of fires and explosions is high acetylene pressure. When more than 15 pounds of pressure is used, acetylene becomes unstable and decomposes explosively. This is the major reason for using other fuel gases such as MAPP, propylene, propane, and natural gas which may be safely used at higher...

The Basics of Safety Through Several Years  Accident Investigation Through many years of accident investigation and research in the field of accident reconstruction, leaders in the field of occupational accident prevention have concluded that there are specific reasons why accidents occur. They found that worker safety is dependent on worker behavior and human factors. They developed ten safety rules and, while some of you may have heard them before, they are worth repeating: STAY ALERT - and stay alive. The more awake a worker is, the less likely he or she is to get hurt. If you are unsure how to...

Safety Rules For People Working Around Forklifts Call them what you like -- forklifts, lift trucks, bulls. They can be a large part of any industrial operation. Most forklift safety training concentrates on the operators, with good cause. They are the ones who are maneuvering the heavy, and sometimes awkward, loads through aisles, around corners and up ramps. A well-known lift truck manufacturer recently stated that 60% of injuries/fatalities involving lift trucks are sustained by co-workers, not operators. Like I said, most of the training concentrates on operator safety, not on the people who work around the lift trucks. The following 7 tips...

Excavation/Trenching Safety Each year excavation and trenching cave-ins result in more than 5,000 serious injuries and 100 deaths in the United States. The key to prevention of this type of loss is good planning. When the side of a trench decides to move it is too late to be thinking about your safety or the safety of others. Here are some good safety rules and practices to follow when working in or around excavations. Evaluation of shoring, sloping, or other means to eliminate the potential for cave-ins must be performed prior to the start of work. Consider these engineering controls at...

Lift It Twice Most of you have heard the general rules of safe lifting. Remember to "Get a firm grip on the load, keep it close, bend at the knees, use your legs to lift the load, and keep your spine in the natural position (with an arch in your lower back)". These principles always apply and should be incorporated into every lift--if possible! Given the enormous number of "risky" lifting situations that you are faced with at your place of work, you may not be able to apply these principles every time. This is why you must always remember to...