Working Against Violence Perhaps workplace violence can’t be totally eliminated, but there are things that can be done to minimize it. Awareness and preparation are key factors. Evaluate the security of all work sites, establish a security plan for each location, and update the plan on a regular basis. The chance of violence is greater for certain jobs including jobs of contact with the public, working in late or early hours, exchanging money, delivering goods or services, high stress jobs, high crime areas, and if working alone or in small numbers. Initiate safety measures. Increase security with alarms, closed-circuit cameras or guards. Lock...

Safe Handling of Portable Power Drills Portable power drills are one of our most useful tools and, with care, they can be among the safest.  But electric drills can be dangerous if not handled carefully.  They can cause injuries in many ways – from being struck by flying drilling material, if chips of the materials being drilled are flung into the operator’s eyes or if the bit punctures or bores into flesh (usually a leg), and from electric shock. When drills are treated roughly, dropped or hit against things, or if they get wet, their insulation can weaken.  Without proper insulation you...

Lead in Construction In the construction industry, lead exposure is a serious issue that many workers face every day.  Lead exposure can occur during a variety of job activities.  Lead is common in a wide range of materials including paints and other coatings, lead mortars, and base metals, which may be welded on or abrasive blasted.  Lead presents a potentially serious occupational health hazard when the lead-containing particulates become airborne.  Common jobs on a construction site that might expose a worker to lead include: Renovating or demolishing structures that have lead-painted surfaces. Removing lead-based paint or spray painting with lead-based paint. ...

Avoiding Allergic Reactions to Latex Most people who encounter latex products have no health problems, but some workers, continually exposed to latex gloves and other products containing natural rubber latex, develop allergic reactions. Those who work where latex products are manufactured or who have multiple allergic conditions may also be affected. A latex allergy can result in serious health problems. Workers with ongoing exposure to natural rubber latex should follow the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health's (NIOSH) recommendations which include: reducing exposure, using appropriate work practices, training and education, monitoring symptoms, and when possible, substituting non-latex products. You can take...

Preventing Silicosis There is a general lack of awareness about the nature of the disease silicosis and about the sources of silica exposure in the worksite.  More than 1 million U.S. workers are exposed to crystalline silica (free silica).  Overexposure to crystalline silica can cause silicosis, a disabling lung disease. Sand, rock, and soil are the most common materials that contain silica.  The most common form of crystalline silica is known as quartz.  Inhalation of airborne dusts that contain crystalline silica can occur in a wide variety of settings:  mining, quarrying, and stone cutting; foundry operations; paint-blasting and sand-blasting; glass manufacturing and...

Power Press Safety A power press can present serious hazards to its operator. A power press injury can result in the amputation of fingers, hands, or arms and cause other disabling injuries. Proper safeguards, employee training, press maintenance, and inspections are vital to the prevention of injuries. A power press can be used in more than one production system and there may be several ways to safeguard each system. For operators, the greatest danger is at the point where stock is inserted, held, or withdrawn by hand. Safeguards are designed to eliminate the possibility of the operator or other workers from placing...

Insect & Spider Bites Each year many workers experience insect and spider bites serious enough to make them lose time off the job. If you are stung by a bee, remove the stinger gently (with tweezers, if possible) and avoid squeezing the poison sac.  Apply an ice pack or a cloth dipped in cold water to reduce swelling and itching.  A sting from a yellow jacket can be deadly.  These insects feed on dead animals and can cause blood poisoning.  If you have an allergic reaction to a bite, get medical help immediately. Of spiders causing serious medical problems only the black widow...

Injury and Illness Prevention Program Every employer is required by law to provide a safe and healthful workplace to his/her employees.  In accordance with the Code of Regulations, your employer needs to have an effective Injury and Illness Prevention Program (IIPP) in writing.  There is a specific IIPP required for the construction industry, the Construction IIPP.  What should you expect to see in an IIPP?  It is a written plan that has the following elements: Management commitment/assignment of responsibilities Safety communications system with employees System for assuring employee compliance with safe work practices Scheduled inspections/evaluation system Accident investigation Procedures for correcting...

Hearing Protection Devices Hearing protection devices (HPD) such as earmuffs and earplugs can be an effective measure to protect hearing in noisy work environments.  However, hearing protection devices are only effective if they are properly sized and carefully fitted into or over the ear.  The two common HPD categories are earplugs and earmuffs. There are several common types of hearing protection devices: Formable earplugs made of expandable foam.  One size fits most people. Premolded earplugs made from flexible plastics.  Often sold in different sizes, they should be selected to provide best fit for each ear. Semi-aural devices, or canal caps, consisting of...

CAL/OSHA Heat Stress Changes Over the objections of employer groups and applause from labor representatives, the Cal/OSH Standards Board approved major revisions to the state's heat illness prevention standard. Executive Officer Marley Hart said the board would request an early effective date for the revisions from the Office of Administrative Law – April 1 instead of July 1. That means that employers must revise their heat illness programs and train employees on an accelerated schedule, with barely five weeks before the changes become enforceable.  Under normal circumstances, the changes would trigger on July 1, as OAL sets effective dates quarterly and April...