Preventing Strains & Sprains Lifting, pushing, and overreaching are common causes of strains and sprains. Any job that requires you to sit or stand bent in an awkward position for long periods of time can cause excess stress and strain on muscles. Most strains and sprains affect the back, arms, and shoulders. However, there are some very simple things you can do to prevent or minimize body strains and sprains. Many strains and sprains occur because of poor material handling. Workers lift things that weigh too much or they lift incorrectly. Lift correctly by bending your knees, not your back. Carry loads...

Keep Up With Ladder Safety Ladder safety begins with selecting the right ladder for the job and includes inspection, setup, proper climbing or standing, proper use, care, and storage. This combination of safe equipment and its safe use can eliminate most ladder accidents. Always check a ladder before using it. Inspect wood ladders for cracks or splits. Inspect metal and fiberglass ladders for bends and breaks. Never use a damaged ladder. Tag it "Defective" and report it to your supervisor. When setting up a ladder, make sure its straight and sitting firmly on the ground or floor. If one foot sits lower, build...

Practice Good Housekeeping Good housekeeping is one of the surest ways to identify a safe workplace. You can tell how workers' feel about safety just by looking at their housekeeping practices. Good housekeeping isn't the result of cleaning up once a week or even once a day. It's the result of keeping cleaned-up all the time. It's an essential factor in a good safety program, promoting safety, health, production, and morale. Whose responsibility is housekeeping? It's everyone's. Clean work areas and aisles help eliminate tripping hazards. Respecting "wet floor" signs and immediately cleaning up spills prevents slipping injuries. Keeping storage areas uncluttered...

Workplace Distractions Some workplace distractions and interruptions are unavoidable but others – if not properly controlled or regulated -- could lead to injuries, lost productivity, and a decrease in worker morale. Work interruptions are a distraction that can result in work errors or accidents. Before addressing or responding to another person, workers should shut down or disengage any work tool, equipment, or processes. Job training should include instructions not to interrupt others during a critical job phase or process. Instruction manuals and procedural guidebooks should be kept on site to answer frequently asked questions and thereby eliminate the need to interrupt or distract other...

AirBag Safety Vehicle air bags (including front, side and head curtains) rapidly inflate to cushion and protect drivers and passengers in traffic accidents. Air bags have deployed 3.8 million times since first used in the 1980’s and have saved 5,000 lives. Installed in 56 million vehicles, the air bag is a supplemental vehicle safety device; the first line of defense is the seatbelt. The risk of death in an accident is reduced by 65% with seat belts alone; seat belt use in combination with an air bag reduces risk by an additional 15%. Air bag benefits are proven, but most of us...

Drywalling Safety Drywallers put the finishing touches on our home and office interiors by installing and finishing sheetrock walls. Physical stamina is required to lift, cut, and maneuver heavy sheets of drywall and fix them in place. Finishing and sanding seams is also an ergonomic and physical challenge. Consider that this demanding work is often done on a construction site and at heights, and it is clear that drywallers need to think safety on the job. Lifting and maneuvering tools and heavy, awkward sheets of drywall pose an ergonomic risk for drywallers. Maintaining good physical condition and using proper lifting techniques can...

Machine Shop Safety In a machine shop, metals and composites are cut and shaped into finished products using hand tools and machines such as saws, lathes, drills, and grinders. Common injuries in machine shops include debris in the eye, cuts, and caught/crush machine injuries. Choose proper personal protective equipment (PPE) for the machine shop.  Wear safety glasses at all times in the shop.  At any time, debris may fly out of a machine and into your eye.  Consider a face shield when you are working up close with grinding and cutting job tasks.  Wear comfortable shoes with a non-slip sole. Consider toe...

Commercial movers face safety challenges on the job. Whether moving a business across town or a family across the country, movers must focus on proper ergonomics, material handling, and proper housekeeping. Ideally, in preparation of the move, visit the sites that you will be packing from and moving into. If this isn’t feasible, consider a site checklist you can send to the client or site contact to evaluate unusual scenarios or any potential hazards. Also, prepare ahead for types of environments you will be working, such as locations on hills, narrow, winding, or flights of stairs, or other features which can make the...

Agricultural Worker Transport Agricultural workers use trucks, cars, station wagons, and buses as transportation on and off farms and fields in California. As with any motor vehicle, there is a risk of an accident and injury when using agricultural transport on the roadway. Agricultural workers need to know that there are safety rules for agricultural transport designed to keep them safe on the job. Workers should make certain that the vehicle they are using is in good operating condition and meets the safety standards required by law. Transport vehicles require functional steering, working lights and turn signals, brakes, a leak-free fuel system,...

Disposable Respirators Filtering facepiece respirators are disposable and come in various styles and designs to protect you from non-hazardous contaminants in the workplace. The filtering material in the disposable respirator can be made of cloth or paper that cleans the air as you breathe it to prevent you from inhaling irritating substances. Some filtering facepiece respirators (dust masks) are used to control nuisance contaminants such as dust, non hazardous fibers, animal dander, and pollen. Other filtering facepiece respirators can have added features for use with infectious diseases, organic vapors, chemical fumes, and nuisance odors. While disposable respirators are convenient, you should be...