Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCI) are devices designed to prevent accidental electric shock and electrocution by preventing ground faults. They also protect against electrical fires, tool/appliance overheating, and destruction of wire insulation. GFCI’s are required by building code in “wet” locations like kitchens and bathrooms and by OSHA at construction sites. The most common electric shock hazard, ground faults can cause severe electrical shock or electrocution. In normal conditions, electricity runs in a closed circuit; electricity flows out on the "hot" wire and returns on the "neutral" wire, completing the circuit. A ground fault occurs when the electrical...

Carbon Monoxide What is Carbon Monoxide? Carbon Monoxide (CO) is a poisonous, colorless, tasteless, odorless gas. CO gas is generated as a waste product of the incomplete combustion of coal, wood, oil, and other petroleum based fuels (e.g. gasoline, propane, etc). CO gas, although odorless, usually occurs in a combination of combustion by-products that have distinctive odors. The primary source of CO gas is the internal combustion engine. CO gas is also generated in industrial operations such as auto repair, oil refining, steel and chemical manufacturing. Hazards of Carbon Monoxide Health Hazards: CO is a chemical asphyxiant which means that it reduces the blood’s ability...

Getting High On Safety Constructing new buildings, especially high rises, can be hazardous work not only for those who work on the structure but also for anyone on or around the work site. Before construction begins, a competent person should conduct a hazard assessment of the project, noting where injuries or accidents could possibly occur. Then a plan should be developed to eliminate or safeguard against those hazards. All project workers should be informed of the hazards and be trained in safety practices and procedures to follow so that the project can be completed without an injury incident. As falls are the...

Cleaning Products Can Lead to Asthma In 2013, a report published by the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) estimated that more than 974,000 adults have asthma caused or aggravated by substances they use or are exposed to at work. This number represents about 40% of all adult asthma sufferers in California. This condition is referred to as “Work Related Asthma” (WRA). WRA can trigger an asthmatic response in workers who already have asthma or even be the cause of new-onset asthma. The asthma is caused or triggered by substances called asthmagens or sensitizers. The more the body is exposed to an...

Food Handling Food handling in restaurants, catering firms, food service vendors, fast food chains and grocery store kitchens involves a variety of cooking and preparation techniques. Chefs, cooks, and food service workers need to be aware of hazards in the kitchen to serve safety with their cuisine. Kitchens can be busy, hectic places, so watch workers and the workflow to prevent slips, trips and falls. Have designated entry and exit doors. Walk in the kitchen area; don’t run. Place mirrors in areas that may have blind corners. Warn other workers when you are behind them or “coming through.” Service may need to...

Cuts, Lacerations, and Punctures Cuts, lacerations, and punctures are common injuries in the meat packing and butchering industry.  Knives, slicers, grinders, and sharp bones are all potential hazards that can be minimized with the use of personal protective equipment (PPE), inspections, and safe work practices. Cuts are usually clean openings in the skin while lacerations have jagged edges.  Punctures create shallow or deep holes in the skin.  Cuts and lacerations often have free flowing blood while puncture wounds often close on their own, reducing bleeding.  For shallow puncture wounds, remove the object if it is small and easy to do so.  If...

Tire Wear The condition of your tires is one of the most important mechanical factors in vehicle safety. There are four ways you can improve the safety and performance of your tires. Keep tires properly inflated. Check them at least monthly to notice if tire pressure appears to be getting low. Incorrect tire pressure can cause uneven tire wear, poor handling, excessive heat build up, and possible tire failure. Check your vehicle manual for recommended tire pressures. If you have new tires installed, check their pressure. Recommended tire pressures can vary depending on the brand of tire. When you check tire pressure,...

Asbestos in Construction What is Asbestos? Asbestos is the name given to a group of naturally occurring minerals. Asbestos differs from other minerals, in that it forms long thin fibers instead of crystals. There are six different minerals, divided into two groups, included in the asbestos family. The two groups are Serpentine and Amphibole, and are based on the differences of their crystalline structure. Serpentine forms a sheet or layered structure. Amphiboles form a chain-like structure. Asbestos fibers are naturally occurring and stay airborne very well. Where do you find asbestos? Asbestos is used in many products because of their high tensile strength, flexibility,...

Gas Cylinder Safety Gas cylinders require special safety precautions. Know what the chemical is inside the cylinder in order to work with it safely. Be aware of the mechanical hazards associated with keeping the chemical under pressure in a metal cylinder. Chemicals contained in gas cylinders may be flammable, corrosive, poisonous, inert, or a combination of any of these. Read the Safety Data Sheet (SDS) for the chemicals in each cylinder you store and use. Understand the concentration of the chemical, the amount, and the storage pressure to work with it safely. The SDS should provide you information on proper storage and segregation...

Rebar / Impalement Protection Steel reinforcing bars, or rebar, are a common hazard on construction sites. The thin steel bars can stick out from construction projects and pose a hazard to workers who can cut or scratch themselves on the sharp ends. Workers that stumble or fall onto the exposed steel bars can be pierced or impaled on them, resulting in serious internal injuries and death. To protect workers from this hazard, OSHA requires that rebar and other projections on the worksite "be guarded to eliminate the hazard of impalement." Guarding from rebar impalement hazards must be done when workers will be...