Trenching and Shoring Construction trenching for buried utilities, pipelines, water transport, and other activities may be hazardous. Trenches are usually deeper than they are wide and the walls may become unstable and collapse on top of workers. Trench cave-ins occur when dirt, sand, and rocks collapse into the trench. These materials can engulf, injure, or kill workers in the trench. Soil can be very dense and heavy. When it engulfs workers, it can break bones, immobilize and restrict breathing, or suffocate them outright. First, get training in trenching and shoring procedures. If workers will be entering a trench 5 feet or deeper, you...

Vehicle Backing The California Highway Patrol (CHP) reports the most common type of vehicle accident is a backing accident.  Due to limited vision out of the back windows or around long truck beds and equipment bodies, drivers may not see other vehicles, obstacles, or even coworkers and pedestrians when they are driving their vehicles backward.  Whether in a parking lot, on the road, a construction site, or an agricultural field, workers who learn the proper techniques can help prevent backing accidents. Before you back your vehicle, do a vehicle walk around to check underneath and all around it for obstructions and other...

No Shortcut to Safety Everyone takes a shortcut at one time or another. You cross the street between intersections instead of using the crosswalk or jump a fence instead of using the gate. But in many cases, a shortcut can involve danger. If you have the habit of taking dangerous shortcuts, break it. At work, it can be deadly. An iron worker who tried to cross an opening by swinging on reinforcing rods, slipped and fell 20 feet onto a concrete floor. If he had taken a few moments to walk around the opening, he’d still be tying rods. If you are told...

Hoisting Safety Hoisting is used to lift and lower loads using a drum or wheel with ropes or chains wrapped around it. Hoists can be powered manually, electrically, or pneumatically. Hoists effectively move heavy and/or awkward equipment, but they require training and safe work procedures. To operate a hoist, you must be properly trained. Know the rated capacity of your hoist; it should be clearly labeled on the equipment. Read the manufacturer’s operating instructions and warnings. Get training in how to use the hoist machine and how to properly rig and safely maneuver loads. Perform regular maintenance on the hoist and lifting...

Flagger Safety on Construction Sites As the weather gets nicer, there tends to be an increase in outdoor construction jobs. Many of these construction operations necessitate equipment and worker activity to take place in areas of moving traffic. How can construction site managers insure that their equipment and their workers are protected while working in these traffic areas? How do they know when a flagger should be in place? According to the Construction Safety Orders, flaggers are required at locations on a construction site where barricades and warning signs cannot control the moving traffic. In these required situations, flaggers must be placed...

Residential Wood Framing Residential wood framing exposes workers to fall hazards, power tool injuries, and other general construction hazards. Wear proper personal protective equipment for framing jobs.  Work gloves to protect your hands.  A hard hat protects your head from bumps and dropped items.  Safety glasses protect your eyes from flying debris.  Work boots with a heel and slip resistant sole prevent falls. The wood pieces used for framing can be large and heavy.  Stack job materials near the work area.  Use mechanical lifting devices or use a team to lift when you can. Don’t lift and move loads that are too heavy...

Personal Hygiene Personal hygiene is the basic concept of cleaning, grooming and caring for our bodies. While it is an important part of our daily lives at home, personal hygiene isn't just about combed shiny hair and brushed teeth; its important for worker health and safety in the workplace. Workers who pay attention to personal hygiene can prevent the spread of germs and disease, reduce their exposures to chemicals and contaminants, and avoid developing skin allergies, skin conditions, and chemical sensitivities. The first principle of good hygiene is to avoid an exposure by forming a barrier over the skin with personal protective...

How to Use an Eyewash You’ve probably grown accustomed to the eyewash in your workplace.  But, if you had an eye emergency, would you really know how to use it? Train NOW. Workplaces with chemicals that cause corrosion, severe irritation or permanent tissue damage, or are toxic when absorbed, require an eyewash station. Safe work practices and personal protective equipment (PPE) including gloves, coveralls, safety glasses, goggles, and/or a face shield prevent eye injuries. If you have an eye emergency, notify a coworker right away. Have someone activate 911. Get to an eyewash station immediately.  The station should be within 10 seconds travel...

Multi-employer Worksites When more than one employer operates at a single site, OSHA considers it a multi-employer worksite. A construction site is an example of a multi-employer worksite with multiple contractors assigned the work, but not all at the same time. Employers at multi-employer worksites need to know their responsibilities, assigned roles, and accountability for employee health and safety. Note that a multi-employer worksite differs from a dual-employer worksite, where an employee has two employers at the same time. For example, a temporary agency employee that is assigned to another employer’s worksite. On multi-employer worksites, all of the employers must work together...

Masonry and Concrete Saws Masonry saws are used to cut tiles, bricks, and blocks of stone, concrete, and other materials. Concrete saws are used to cut channels or openings through concrete blocks, slabs, and walls. Both types of saws can be hand-held, mounted on a stand, or wheeled by hand or motor and may be powered by electricity, compressed air, or fuel. Working with saws can expose workers to hazards such as cutting blades, kick-back, push-back, pull-ins, and dust; training and proper work practices are the key to safety. Workers require training on the safe use of masonry and concrete saws. Cutting...