According to the US Geological Survey, there is a 60% chance that a 6.7 magnitude or greater earthquake will occur in California in the next 30 years.  An earthquake of this size can pose an immediate hazard to worker safety, strain public services and disrupt business.  The best way to survive an earthquake, or any other emergency, safely is to prepare, plan, and practice. First, prepare your workplace for an earthquake.  Large equipment such as boilers, tanks, and machines need to be secured properly so they will not fall over in an earthquake.  Furniture such as bookshelves and file cabinets along...

Save Your Back When Working In Awkward Positions We have all been told to avoid back injury by bending our knees when we lift, keeping the load close and avoiding twisting motions. These safety rules may be appropriate for simple, direct lifting of materials, but what about back care when you are working in awkward positions? Work tasks that require you to reach or stretch away from your body while handling materials can also put excessive strain on the vertebral discs and soft tissues in the back. An awkward position is a work posture that distorts the spine from its natural curves,...

Why Use A Safety Can For Gasoline? Gasoline is an extremely flammable liquid fuel. It should always be handled and stored properly in order to reduce the likelihood of fires and explosions. Personal injuries ranging from first-degree burns to fatalities can result from improper handling and storage practices. Safety cans are designed to control the flammable vapors of gasoline and to provide a safe and convenient means for storage and transfer. Underwriters Laboratories (UL) approved safety cans should be used to carry, dispense, and store gasoline in quantities up to five gallons. Failure to use approved metal containers for flammable or combustible...

Spontaneous Ignition Many people do not believe it can happen. For no apparent reason, fire erupts, usually during off-hours. It does happen. It's called spontaneous ignition, and preventing it is part of your job. Spontaneous ignition occurs when a combustible object is heated to its ignition temperature by a chemical reaction involving the oxygen in the air around us. This "oxidation" process creates heat that, if not dissipated, will build up until ignition occurs. Generally, this can happen when the materials are left in piles and the heat being generated in the pile cannot be released into the air. A number of materials...

Protective Headwear One serious blow to the head can leave an otherwise strong and healthy person permanently brain-damaged or disabled for life. At best, a blow on the head can give you a whopper of a headache. Therefore, it is crucial to protect it from the impact of falling objects, painful bumps, and in some cases, from high-voltage electric shock. ANSI-approved head protection is generally required when there is "a potential for head injury from falling or moving objects" and where employees' heads are exposed to electricity. Hard Hats: The American National Standards Institute has established guidelines for helmets, the latest of...

Workplace Electrical Safety May is National Electrical Safety Month, but electrical safety in the workplace deserves daily attention. Electrocutions occurring between 1982 and 1994 were studied by the National Institute of Occupational Safety & Health (NIOSH) in 1998. The NIOSH researchers, Kisner & Casini, analyzed 224 electrocutions which resulted in 244 workplace fatalities. These fatalities accounted for approximately 7% of all workplace deaths. The information they learned provides valuable lessons for everyone that works with or around electricity. Younger males die most often. Victims ranged in age from 17- 70 years, 99% of them were men, 64% died prior to age 35,...

The Care & Feeding Of Wire Rope Crane activities are among the most sensitive operations a company will ever encounter. Each and every lift must be planned carefully to avoid the risk of serious and costly accidents. Crew members should consider all factors prior to making the lift, including the capacity of the crane, all its rigging, and the condition of its wire rope. Wire rope is designed to be used in a specific manner and must be maintained properly. Allowing wire rope to become damaged or worn can result in possible failure. Avoid wire rope failure by keeping the following...

Springtime Yard & Field Maintenance Many industries are coming into their busiest season now--often with increased outdoor work in equipment yards, outside shops, or storage areas. Before peak activities begin is a good time to organize, repair, and clean up these areas. Time to accomplish this will probably be scarce later on. The following checklist may make this job easier: Are chemicals kept in an outside storage facility? If so, are the following in place? Is the written Hazcom Program complete and available to employees? Have all employees been trained in chemical handling and spill clean-up? Are spill clean-up materials available, and...

What Is A Hazardous Material Or Chemical? At one time or other, you and your co-workers have received training on the "Hazard Communication Standard" alerting you to the chemicals in use at your worksite. But everyone should review this information now and then, as a reminder of the need to be cautious. Hazards from chemicals and other materials are everywhere we look-at work and at home. To protect yourself, you should know what type of exposure a particular chemical or material presents. Hazardous materials or chemicals can be classified into two groups, based upon their characteristics, physical hazards and health hazards. Examples...