Table Saws We all recognize how important our hands are to our employability. However, every year hundreds of fingers and hands are lost to table saws. Table saws are the surest and cleanest way to lose a finger or a hand. Much of this is a result of getting used to operating a table saw and then losing respect for it. That is why it is so important that we review the common safety rules pertaining to the operation of a table saw. Guide for Discussion Two common types of saws:  Table saw; radial arm saw. General Operating Rules: Never operate without all guards...

Housekeeping Lack of proper housekeeping on the job is one safety hazard common to all construction projects until after final cleanup. Good housekeeping is one item that can help improve not only the safety on the job, but also the morale and productivity of the job. Guide for Discussion The following “General Rules” should be covered in any discussion on housekeeping: Keep scrap lumber with protruding nails separate from other debris; Bend nails over or remove from lumber. Keep all waste debris in neat piles and away from the immediate work area. Remove debris from the job on a regular basis. Keep aisles,...

Ladders Injuries in the workplace because of ladder are commonplace. Falls from ladders can be as painful as a fall from a roof; about a third of all reported falls are falls from ladders. Many of the fall related injuries result from the improper use or the use of a defective ladder. Step/extension ladders are made to access/egress upper levels, not to be used as work platforms. There are specifically designed ladders for use as work platforms such as order pickers. These ladders are constructed with a small platform and guardrail. The following safe work rules should be observed when working...

Signaling Techniques Proper signaling can greatly increase the efficiency and productivity of a construction project whether it is guiding a delivery vehicle, a forklift or a crane. Improper signaling can kill or injure workers as well as cause severe property damage on a project. The following points are recommended discussion points when discussing signaling. Guide for Discussion Know the signals. If you have to, get with the operator and coordinate what signals mean. Allow only one person to give signals. Be sure the operator knows who the signal person is. The signal person must: Always be in a position to see both the operator and...

Working in Confined Spaces Working in a confined space is a unique and serious hazard. There is no halfway problem:  Either there is or isn’t a problem. By one definition, a confined space is one that is large enough and arranged so that an employee can fully enter and work, has limited or restricted entry or exit and which is not primarily designed for human occupancy. Insert company policy. See WAC 296- 809 for Confined Space rules. Guide for Discussion Primary Hazards: Oxygen deficiency.   Exposure to toxic substances. Combustible or Explosive. Safety Procedures: Test for oxygen deficiency. Sample for combustible gases. (Most combustible gas meters will not...

Wrenches Wrenches—a very good name for this tool in that all too often it is the condition of a worker’s back after misusing a wrench. (Wrenched back, get it?) It is not only a back that can be injured, as we will see after our discussion. Guide for Discussion Proper Care Inspect on a regular basis Replace sprung jaws, cages and faces Replace all bent handles Keep the jaws sharp Keep the wrench clean and free of grease and oil. Proper Use Always use the proper size wrench for the job. Never use a shim to make a wrong size wrench fit a nut. ...

Hand Protection Someone commented that the “hands and fingers are the instruments of the mind.” If that is true, it must become very difficult to be productive when your hands are injured or lost as a result of an accident. Whatever the construction craft, a worker must be able to use both hands in order to get the job accomplished. Guide for Discussion Causes of Hand Injuries: Inattention. Taking chances. Exposure to rough materials. Stacking of heavy materials (i.e., getting your hand or fingers caught between materials). Cut by sharp objects. Mashed (or hit by) tools. Burns. Caught in machinery. How to Protect Your...

Working Around Cranes A crane is one of the most versatile and important pieces of equipment usually found on a construction job. It can be used to accomplish a lot of otherwise heavy lifting tasks. However, it can also be one the most dangerous since it can lift heavy loads over large areas of a project. Today we will discuss some of the important safety points about working around cranes. Guide for Discussion Always be aware of the swing radius of the crane Never walk within the swing radius of the crane Never work under suspended Besides the crane boom could fail. ...

Horseplay Introduction: Nearly everyone has heard a practical joker say “This one is gonna kill ya.” Well, hopefully it never will. However, practical jokes invite danger. The building trades industry is potentially dangerous and anything that unnecessarily increases the chance of an injury must be eliminated. Horseplay benefits no one and usually only builds up resentment and fosters retaliation. Practical jokes should be discouraged.  At some point, if they continue they need to be reported. Guide for Discussion Examples of Horseplay Scaring someone. Air hosing someone. Wrestling with someone. Boxing. Goosing. Dropping objects next to someone. Throwing water on someone. Throwing objects...

Floors and Other Openings Injuries in the workplace because of holes in walking and working surfaces are commonplace. Slips, trips and even falls from one level to the next can be as painful as a fall from a roof. The following items should be considered when dealing with floors and other types of openings. Guide for Discussion Hazard Identification: Floor Openings (2”x2” minimum at any depth) Temporary openings Plumbing Ventilation (Vault Ceilings?) Skylight wells Manholes Holes in Ground (Trenches and Excavations) Wall/Window Openings Temporary guardrail system Washington Fall Protection Standards Methods of Protection Use of standard guardrails Use of covers Able to...