Working Safely Around Forklifts Forklift vehicles are not like automobiles; they’re about twice as heavy, due to the counterbalance weight needed to carry large loads. Because forklifts are so heavy, when a pedestrian worker gets injured by a forklift vehicle, the injury is often very serious and sometimes fatal. To avoid becoming a victim of a forklift accident, be constantly aware of the forklift activities around you both in your immediate work area and in other areas of the workplace you may need to go. Forklifts don’t maneuver like automobiles. Forklifts can turn in a very small radius. They’re rear-wheel driven, so...

Hazardous Material Disposal Many businesses generate wastes that are considered hazardous or harmful to human health or the environment because they are flammable, corrosive, reactive, or toxic. Due to the harmful potential of hazardous materials, workers must remain aware of the safety hazards and proper handling and disposal procedures in order to protect the environment, themselves, and comply with state and federal regulations. Workers that generate or handle hazardous waste require training on the hazards and safe, proper handling of these materials. Training should cover the procedures for collection, labeling, and storage of the hazardous waste before it is transported for final...

Garage Door Installers Garage door installers often work alone to take down old doors, install new ones, and wire automatic openers. The many steps and tools for this job require attention to safety. Wear your safety glasses to protect your eyes from falling or flying debris. Work gloves provide a good grip on doors while they protect you from sharp metal edges. Coveralls protect your body from accidental cuts and scrapes. Work boots protect your feet from dropped tools and materials while adding a good grip for climbing ladders. Have the proper tools before arriving at the job site. Hammers, screwdrivers, and vise...

Falls With predictable regularity, falls continue to be a leading cause of accidents and deaths on the job. Falls include those on the same level (floor, ground), as well as from one level to another (stairs, ladders, roof, etcetera). They can be caused by either or both of two reasons - an unsafe action of an individual (hurrying, overreaching, improper use of equipment, etc.) or unsafe condition of the situation (poor housekeeping, unguarded opening, surface condition, etcetera). Good footing is the best way to avoid falls and good housekeeping is the best way to ensure good footing. Trash, wires, and slippery areas...

Drive Safely Motor vehicle accidents are one of the leading causes of deaths in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control. However, proper driver education, seatbelts, following speed laws, obeying the rules of the road, and paying attention to the road and fellow drivers can help reduce the risk of being injured or killed in a motor vehicle accident. The California Highway Patrol reports the most frequent accident causes on California roads include unsafe speed, unsafe following, improper turns, and inattention to the road. Following posted speed limits on roads and highways and reducing excessive speed improves your ability to...

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...