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...

Power Tool Safety Power tools get jobs done with efficiency and reduced effort. But with power comes responsibility. Power tools can cause injury and even death if they are not used properly. Appropriate training, safe work practices, and power tool maintenance are key to preventing accidents. Only trained workers should use power tools on the job. Training should include reviewing the instruction manual, how to inspect the tools before each use, and following the manufacturer’s maintenance schedule. When maintaining and inspecting power tools, keep the followings tips in mind: Use properly sized fittings and parts for the power tools. Keep tool cutting edges...

Landscaping Safety Job tasks change seasonally for a landscaper, but power and hand tools and exposure to bugs and the elements last all year long. Know safe work practices to avoid cuts, punctures and amputations. Protect yourself from critters, sun, heat, and cold that you encounter outdoors. Cuts, punctures, and amputations are common injuries for landscapers. Power equipment like mowers, blowers, trimmers, cutting blades, trenchers, and tillers have rotating and cutting parts that can cause these severe injuries. Read instructions and get training on each specific model of equipment you use. Keep your hands, feet, hair, jewelry, and clothing away from moving parts. Before you...

Scaffold Safety Scaffolds - such as suspended systems from buildings, supported systems from the ground, and aerial systems on mobile equipment - are common to many construction projects and allow workers to do their jobs at elevated heights. But, those who work on scaffolding systems are at risk for falls or falling objects that could cause serious or even fatal injuries and employers can be cited and fined.  However, when workers have received proper training and education in scaffold systems, fall protection equipment, and proper scaffold work practices, they can work safely and feel safe at elevated heights. A Cal/OSHA defined “competent...