Importance of Safety Training Routine work can dull alertness and a relaxed attitude can replace the caution that existed when the job was new and interesting. In many jobs the same route is traveled daily over the same roads or the same tasks are repeated with little conscious thought. Without some periodic reawakening to the ever-present hazards, lethargy deepens and the odds of an accident occurring can increase. Workers may not always recognize the importance of safety training or think of it as unnecessary because they’ve "been doing it for years." But an important benefit of periodic safety training is the reminder...

Safe Storage and Disposal of Oil- or Solvent-Soaked Rags Oil and solvent-soaked rags must be stored and disposed of properly to prevent combustion fires. It is important to maintain proper fire extinguishing equipment and smoke detectors in all areas where flammable and combustible materials are being used and stored. Oil-soaked rags are a spontaneous combustion hazard because as the oil oxidizes, heat is released. If the heat is not dissipated, it can build up and ignite the rags. Special oily-waste cans should be used to store oil-soaked rags. These containers allow air to flow around the rags, thus dissipating the heat. The...

The Silent Dangers of Confined Space Workers tend to put their faith in most indoor or confined atmospheres, thinking someone else has checked for safety.  Air, whether life sustaining or killing, is usually colorless, odorless, and tasteless.  The atmosphere in a confined space, for example, may seem like any other.  But that is one work place that must never be taken for granted.  Confined spaces have fooled scores of workers killed or injured every year because they thought someone had checked for safety or because they “followed their noses” and guessed the air smelled OK.  The air may look safe and...

Don’t Fall for Injuries 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,...

Welding Safety Welding hazards pose an unusual combination of safety and health risks.  By its nature, welding produces fumes and noise, gives off radiation, involves electricity or gases, and has the potential for burns, shock, fire, and explosions. Some hazards are common to both electric arc and oxygen-fuel gas welding.  If you work with or near a welding operation, the following general precautions should help you to work more safely. Weld only in designated areas. Only operate welding equipment you have been trained to use. Know what the substance is that’s being welded and any coating on it. Wear protective clothing to...

Eye Protection Seeing is Believing In just the blink of an eye, an incident can injure or even blind a worker who is not wearing proper protective eyewear. The type of eye protection-safety glasses, goggles, face shields, or helmets must meet the requirements of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). In hazardous workplaces, street wear eyeglasses should only be worn in conjunction with ANSI-approved additional cover protection. Eye safety requirement signs should be posted for anyone entering a work area that requires industrial-quality eye protection. Warning signs should be placed near machines, equipment, or process...

Prevent Injuries from Falling Objects Objects falling from above and striking people below have caused serious industrial injuries and account for a number of fatalities every year.  Although the exact number of “falling object” injuries is difficult to determine, documents produced in several recent court cases suggest that the practice of “high stacking” materials and supplies poses a serious safety threat to those below. Provide Adequate Warning - Workers or customers below depend on those working above for their safety.  If you’re going to be doing work overhead, warn those in the area; either verbally or with signs, ropes or barricades.  For...

Common Sense Safety There are a number of safety problems common to most workplaces and job sites that can be solved with a little common sense.  Planning and thinking ahead can help eliminate most of these hazards.  Take a close look at your workplace with these suggestions in mind. Eliminate junk piles.  Organize a cleanup program to remove trash, broken parts, and scrap from work areas, walkways, storerooms, and neglected corners. Look for materials that have been stacked improperly.  An unstable stack is a real danger to anyone who may be near if the material suddenly falls.  Check such things as wood...

Preventing Heat-Related Illnesses When the body heats up faster than it can cool itself, mild to severe illnesses may develop. It’s important to recognize the symptoms of heat-related illnesses and understand how to prevent, control and respond to their effects. Air temperature, humidity and clothing can increase the risk of developing heat-related illnesses. So can age, sex, weight, physical fitness, nutrition, alcohol or drug use, or pre-existing diseases like diabetes. How can you prevent or control heat-related illnesses? Drink water - Drink small amounts of water frequently, about a cup every 15-20 minutes. (Alcohol increases the loss of body fluids.) Limit exposure time...

Preventing Repetitive Motion Injuries Computers are as common in the workplace as telephones. We use them for everything: creating letters and forms, writing reports, editing, electronic mail and surfing the Net. Computers require our hands and arms to be used more than ever. Repeating the same motion over and over again at high speeds with little rest, and applying force to muscles, joints, or tendons while in an awkward angle may be putting more stress on those body parts than is necessary and can increase the chance of developing repetitive motion injuries (RMIs). An ergonomically designed, adjustable workstation is one of the...