Heavy Equipment Hazards The use of heavy equipment on a jobsite is vital and necessary to the overall success of the construction project. However, unauthorized or unwise use of heavy equipment can result in personal injury, loss of life, or severe loss to materials needed to complete the project. Today we will discuss some key points to keep in mind when working around heavy equipment. Guide for Discussion Workers Always be alert to the position of the equipment around you. Only authorized personnel are to operate the equipment. Never ride the equipment unless it is designed to be ridden. Always keep away from...

Clothing - PPE The proper work clothing can make a job a lot easier and safer. Most workers never really think much about what they are wearing, but they should. It is very important to dress for the weather since most of the work is done outside or in areas without any climate control. A PPE assessment should have been completed prior to the job starting. Workers should be informed of what PPE is required on this specific job site. Guide for Discussion: The following items should help each worker how to dress properly: Weather Know the day’s forecast. Be prepared to add or...

Mobile Scaffolds Serious injuries and, in some cases, deaths have been known to result from failure to recognize known scaffolding hazards and guard against them. Scaffolding has been one of the primary tools used to perform elevated work in the construction industry. Scaffolds are useful because they allow you to gain access to work areas that are above floor level while providing a work platform. However, because of the design and configuration of mobile scaffolds—sometimes referred to as Baker scaffolds—they can become unstable when supporting a load. One of the greatest hazards associated with mobile scaffolds is the risk of overturning. Workers who...

Ladder Safety When transporting a ladder, keep the front-end elevated Side rails of a portable ladder should extend at least 3 feet above an upper landing Non-self-supporting ladders should be placed at a 4:1 ratio Make sure ladders are free from oil, mud, grease and other hazards that can cause a slip Ladders should not be loaded beyond the manufacturer’s duty rating Only use ladders for the purpose they were intended Place ladders on stable, level surfaces Protect ladders that are near passageways or driveways so that vehicles or pedestrians do not hit them A worker should always face the...

Safe Lifting STOP and THINK before picking anything up – assess the object and its weight Use proper form when lifting and carrying – wide stance, bend at knees, tighten abs, head high, chin in Lift your load using a solid two-handed grip Make sure your path is clear before you proceed Lift with your legs not your back Keep weight close to your body Pivot with your feet, don’t twist your body Do not reach more than 10 inches from your body to lift or place an object If you can, push or pull instead of lifting Use your...

CONFINED SPACES A confined space has limited means for entry/exit and can include a space that has an open top The atmosphere inside a confined space can be very different from the outside atmosphere Deadly gases may be trapped inside the space The space may lack enough oxygen to support life The space may trap excess oxygen to promote an explosion if an ignition source is introduced Never trust your senses to determine if a space is safe Always check with your supervisor before entering any space Never enter a confined space to help a downed worker...

Noise Repeated exposure to loud noise can cause tinnitus and/or hearing loss Damage caused by loud noise is irreversible and permanent Excessive vibration causes damage to inner ear hair cells so they can’t carry a signal to the brain Too much noise can make you feel tired, nervous and/or raise your blood pressure If you have to raise your voice to be heard the site may be too noisy and hearing protection is needed Consider the all the noise around you and exposure to others when deciding to wear hearing protection Banded earplugs or earmuffs are an easy solution to...

Cold Stress As wind speed increases, heat can leave your body more rapidly Keep an eye on co-workers for signs of cold stress - hypothermia affects the brain making workers unable to think clearly for themselves. Wear several layers of clothing to provide better insulation Keep layers loose so that blood can circulate to the extremities Always wear a hat or cover you head to reduce the amount of body heat that escapes Move to a warm location during breaks Avoid touching cold metal surfaces with bare skin...

Accident Investigation Establish an accident investigation team: Include employees who have been trained to conduct an effective investigation. A typical team might include: An employee from the work area where the accident occurred A supervisor from a work area not involved in the accident A maintenance supervisor or an employee who understands equipment or processes associated with the accident The safety supervisor A safety committee representative Gather information: Record the facts about the accident. Interview witnesses and others involved. Analyze the facts: Identify the accident’s causes and contributing factors. Determine how the accident could have been prevented. Report the findings:...

Close Calls Take a Close Look at Close Calls A “close call” or accident without injury is easy to shrug off and forget. But, there is a danger in brushing off accidents that don’t hurt, harm or damage. When a “close call” happens, it should immediately send up a red warning flag that something was wrong, unplanned, unexpected, and could happen again. The next time it happens, it could result in serious damage, injury or death. For every accident there are usually several contributing factors, most of which can be controlled. The best way to prevent the reoccurrence of an accident is by...