Toolbox Talks | OSHA Safety Manuals - Part 15
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Tree Trimming Safety Tree trimming operations require climbing, pruning, and felling trees. Hand and portable power tools such as loppers, trimmers, and chainsaws make the necessary cuts. Aerial lifts and chippers bring workers to the right height and clean up the worksite. The two leading causes of tree trimmer deaths are electrocutions and falls, so extra care and training is needed for work at heights and near power lines. Energized overhead or downed power lines can cause electrocutions if you come into direct or indirect contact with them. Don’t use conductive tools, ladders, or pole trimmers where they may contact overhead power...

Foundry Worker Safety Foundries are a source of many hazards. There is a hot work environment and the potential for burns or fires around furnaces and crucibles.  Molten metals create fumes.  Sand molding materials can create silica dust.  Chipping, sandblasting, and grinding create dust.  Conveyors, crushers, and stamping machines pose a caught/crush hazard. This combined activity creates a noisy atmosphere.  Workers need proper work techniques, adequate ventilation, and personal protective equipment (PPE) to stay safe. PPE protects you from the foundry environment. Wear leather shoes, gloves, and safety glasses with a side shield.  A hat with a brim protects you from spatters....

Lockout/Blockout If you operate, clean, service, adjust or repair machinery and equipment, be aware of the hazards to which you’re exposing yourself. Any powered equipment that could put you in danger is a hazard that can be prevented when lockout/blockout procedures are followed. Before working on or near energized equipment, visually inspect the work area to identify energy sources. Go through every step of the process to make sure accidental equipment activation won’t take you by surprise. If you identify an energy source, follow appropriate lockout/blockout procedures. Never touch or operate power-activated equipment unless you’ve been trained and are authorized to...

Engulfment In many worksite situations, workers are at risk for engulfment hazards. Engulfment results when a worker is surrounded and overcome by a granular substance such as soil, sand, gravel, sawdust, seed, grain or flour or if submerged in a liquid such as water or a chemical. Engulfment causes physical harm when the material has enough force on the body to cause injury or death by constriction, crushing, or strangulation. Respiratory hazards associated with engulfment includes suffocation from breathing in a fine substance that fills the lungs or from drowning in a liquid. Trenches or excavation pits at construction sites pose an...

Handling Powder Actuated Tools (PATs) Safely A powder-actuated tool (PAT) is a tool that gets its power from an explosive charge. The tool uses the expanding gas from the explosion to drive a fastener into materials such as masonry, concrete, steel, and other hard surfaces. Only trained, competent, and authorized persons are permitted to operate a powder-actuated tool (also known as explosive-actuated tools). The training should be in accordance with the specific tool manufacturer’s criteria. A card verifying training should be issued to the authorized person after training is completed. Unauthorized or improper use of a powder-actuated tool could result in...

Animal Processing Safety Animal processing facilities combine the hazards of working with live animals along with moving machinery and cutting tools. If you work in an animal processing plant, get training on animal handling and the equipment and processes you will be using. Animals can be unpredictable, so keep your distance during transport and entry to the processing plant. Keep animals calm. Contact with stressed animals can lead to kicks, bites, and scratches. Wear steel-toed shoes with slip-resistant soles to protect your feet. Sturdy work gloves protect your hands. Stunning of animals can be accomplished by an electric stun gun, electric wires, a...

Dry Cleaner Safety Dry cleaners use chemicals, heat, and steam to clean and press clothing and other fabrics. While helping their customers look spotless, dry cleaners need to be aware of their workplace hazards. The use of chemicals is the primary hazard in a dry cleaner. Almost all dry cleaning is done with perchlorethylene (PERC), a solvent. Inhaling PERC can lead to serious health effects such as liver and kidney damage, dizziness, headache, sleepiness, confusion, nausea, difficulty in speaking and walking, unconsciousness, and death. PERC is also a suspected carcinogen. To avoid overexposure, use PERC in closed-loop dry cleaning equipment that controls the...

Butcher Safety Butchers prepare a variety of meat products, but safety needs to be the number one ingredient behind the meat counter. When moving boxes of cut meats and carcasses, use proper handling techniques to prevent strains and sprains.  Use carts and other lifting devices for heavy items.  Lift with the legs while keeping your back straight.  Hold the loads close to your body and make more frequent trips with lighter loads. Place meat cuts on a work surface that allows you to work comfortably without overreaching or bending your back.  You may need different surface heights for different tasks.  Cutting, trimming, and...

Boiler Safety Workers that use, maintain, and service boilers know that they can be potentially dangerous. Boilers are gas-fired or electric closed vessels that heat water or other liquid to generate steam. The steam is superheated under pressure and used for power, heating or other industrial purposes. Though boilers are usually equipped with a pressure relief valve, if the boiler fails to contain the expansion pressure, the steam energy is released instantly. This combination of exploding metal and superheated steam can be extremely dangerous. Only trained and authorized workers should operate a boiler. Workers should be familiar with the boiler manufacturers operating...

Bike Messenger Safety Bike messenger workers provide fast delivery service for documents and packages, usually in big city environments. Cars, trucks, trolleys, trains, buses, and pedestrians are just some of the hazards that face bike messengers. The need for fast, efficient service in dense urban areas requires bike messengers to keep their eyes on safety while they are cycling the streets. ALWAYS wear your bike helmet; it can protect you from head injuries in the case of an accident. The helmet should fit snugly and sit flat on top of your head, not tilted backward. Buckle the chin strap securely and ensure...