Working in Confined Spaces Working in a confined space is a unique and serious hazard. There is no halfway problem:  Either there is or isn’t a problem. By one definition, a confined space is one that is large enough and arranged so that an employee can fully enter and work, has limited or restricted entry or exit and which is not primarily designed for human occupancy. Insert company policy. See WAC 296- 809 for Confined Space rules. Guide for Discussion Primary Hazards: Oxygen deficiency.   Exposure to toxic substances. Combustible or Explosive. Safety Procedures: Test for oxygen deficiency. Sample for combustible gases. (Most combustible gas meters will not...

Extension Cords Safety-Take No Chances! We use extension cords almost every day both at work and at home. These are very useful devices, but they can present a fire or shock hazard when either worn out or used improperly. Types of extension cords Extension cords come in either two or three-wire types. Two-wire extension cords should only be used to operate one or two small appliances. Three-wire cords are used for outdoor appliances and electric power tools. The third wire on this cord is a ground and this type of cord should never be plugged into any ungrounded electrical outlet. Only grounded extension...

Wrenches Wrenches—a very good name for this tool in that all too often it is the condition of a worker’s back after misusing a wrench. (Wrenched back, get it?) It is not only a back that can be injured, as we will see after our discussion. Guide for Discussion Proper Care Inspect on a regular basis Replace sprung jaws, cages and faces Replace all bent handles Keep the jaws sharp Keep the wrench clean and free of grease and oil. Proper Use Always use the proper size wrench for the job. Never use a shim to make a wrong size wrench fit a nut. ...

Don't Gamble With Personal Fall Arrest Equipment  Unsafe fall arrest equipment contributed to the fatal 150-foot fall of an Oregon construction worker recently. Burn holes in the worker's fall arrest straps and a faulty self-retracting lanyard were blamed for the failure. These could have been discovered if adequate equipment inspections had been conducted. Would you gamble with your life? A lot of people do just that when they fail to inspect their personal fall arrest equipment daily. They gamble that the equipment will save their life if they fall. Wearing fall arrest equipment without inspecting it, provides a false sense of security. This...

Hand Protection Someone commented that the “hands and fingers are the instruments of the mind.” If that is true, it must become very difficult to be productive when your hands are injured or lost as a result of an accident. Whatever the construction craft, a worker must be able to use both hands in order to get the job accomplished. Guide for Discussion Causes of Hand Injuries: Inattention. Taking chances. Exposure to rough materials. Stacking of heavy materials (i.e., getting your hand or fingers caught between materials). Cut by sharp objects. Mashed (or hit by) tools. Burns. Caught in machinery. How to Protect Your...

Office Safety Many workers think that the office environment is the safest workplace. But, a safe office workplace requires hazard control, good housekeeping, and safe work practices. Arrange your office to allow clear walkways and aisles throughout the rooms and near exits. Attach tall and heavy office furniture to the wall to avoid tipovers in an earthquake. Do not store heavy items or hang pictures over your head in your office or cube. Close file cabinet drawers, file doors, and pull-out work tables when not in use. To avoid jamming your fingers or hands, make sure that cabinet and desk drawers do...

Warning: Welding May be Hazardous to your Health You’ve heard the expression, “You are what you eat.” Well, with welding, one could say you are what you breathe. Welding smoke is a complex mixture of very small, condensed solids (fumes) and gases. The base and filler metals, fluxes, coatings, and shielding gases all contribute. Even chemical changes to the surrounding atmosphere from the intense radiation and heat can add to the mix. The effects of welding smoke on a person will depend on the particular components of the smoke and how much of it the welder breathes. Some effects may occur shortly after...

Working Around Cranes A crane is one of the most versatile and important pieces of equipment usually found on a construction job. It can be used to accomplish a lot of otherwise heavy-lifting tasks. However, it can also be one the most dangerous since it can lift heavy loads over large areas of a project. Today we will discuss some of the important safety points about working around cranes. Guide for Discussion Always be aware of the swing radius of the crane Never walk within the swing radius of the crane Never work under suspended Besides the crane boom could fail. Never...

Warehouse Safety Warehouses range from product distribution centers to popular retailers that sell oversize and bulk products. Whether it is an industrial, commercial or retail facility, warehouse workers should follow safety guidelines for loading docks, conveyor systems, forklifts and pallet jacks, material storage and handling, and good housekeeping. Products enter and exit warehouses through truck and loading dock systems that are usually at a height from the ground. When loading and unloading materials, workers should pay special attention to avoid falls from elevated docks and ramps; yellow striping can draw attention to edges. Trucks delivering goods should be treated cautiously while they...

Horseplay Introduction: Nearly everyone has heard a practical joker say “This one is gonna kill ya.” Well, hopefully it never will. However, practical jokes invite danger. The building trades industry is potentially dangerous and anything that unnecessarily increases the chance of an injury must be eliminated. Horseplay benefits no one and usually only builds up resentment and fosters retaliation. Practical jokes should be discouraged.  At some point, if they continue they need to be reported. Guide for Discussion Examples of Horseplay Scaring someone. Air hosing someone. Wrestling with someone. Boxing. Goosing. Dropping objects next to someone. Throwing water on someone. Throwing objects...