Take 5 For Safety – Driving Distracted and Dozing

 


Driving Distracted and Dozing

About the only way to account for some of the one vehicle crashes is that the driver was distracted from his driving responsibility or was dozing. Neither is a reasonable excuse, of course, because every driver should know that they must be constantly alert while behind the wheel.

The responsible driver must train himself to resist these human weaknesses. We must bring ourselves to realize that it is too dangerous to let any worry over our problems distract us from our driving responsibility. If the problem is of such magnitude that we cannot “put it on the shelf” until the driving job is finished, then we’d better ask the boss to let us take time off to settle our mind.

It is important to keep in mind is that driving a motor vehicle requires us to be continually making decisions. In order to make logical decisions, we must weigh all the facts. The only way we can have all the facts is to keep our attention focused where the action is – right there in front of our vehicle.

Unless we train ourselves constantly to keep our attention on the road ahead, a lot of interesting scenes can hold our attention to the roadside. The responsible driver gives such distractions only a quick glance and turns attention back to the road ahead.

To prevent drowsiness, the most practical way is to get plenty of sleep before starting a trip and to avoid that which induces drowsiness, such as heavy meals and alcoholic beverages.

Bad air we breathe in a closed vehicle can make us drowsy as we ride along on soft, comfortable seat cushions. We should adjust our windows to admit cool, fresh air, and we should sit erect at the wheel. Slouching in the seat can increase our desire for sleep.

There are several things we can do to offset the drowsy feeling. A brief stop for coffee may do the trick – but beware of stronger stimulants, such as pep pills (amphetamines), which can have unpleasant side effects.

Cold water or an ice cube in a cloth applied to eyelids, face and neck will be invigorating and should chase away drowsiness.

Brisk exercise will be helpful in overcoming sleepiness. When a driver gets out of the seat to do a few knee bends or push-ups it may look strange to passersby, but our driver won’t be drowsy. Jogging briskly along the side of the road can restore tone to mind and muscle and bring us awake.

If we have another driver with us, we can let that person take the wheel for a while, and we can relax. If we don’t have confidence in their driving ability, we’ll wake up fast.

If there’s no other choice, remember that nothing cures sleepiness like sleep. We can pull off the road at a safe place and take a catnap that will restore our alertness in a few minutes.

Above all, we must never forget to keep constantly alert while driving.

Maalt Safety Excellence – Is It In You?

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Take 5 For Safety – Heat Illness Prevention

 


Heat Illness Prevention

Summertime is great, if you’re in a pool or in the backyard relaxing in the shade. But hot summer temperatures make construction work harder and more dangerous. This is information on how to protect your and your co-workers from the heat and first aid measures in case someone becomes ill. Heat-related illnesses include everything from uncomfortable heat rash to death caused by heat stroke. In the construction, we’re most concerned with heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heat stroke.

Heat Stroke is the most serious health problem for workers in a hot environment. The body is unable to regulate its core temperature. Victims of heat stroke can die unless treated promptly. Symptoms of heat stroke include: Hot dry skin that is pale, mottled or bright red, confusion, unconsciousness, convulsions or coma. CALL 9-1-1 IMMEDIATELY-even before rendering assistance. While waiting for emergency services, move victim to a shaded area. Fan victim; loosen clothing and cool body down with wet compresses.

Heat Exhaustion is characterized by clammy, moist skin. Victim may complain of headache, nausea, weakness or seem giddy. Move victim to a shaded area and give him water (or Gatorade) to drink. If victim is not responding, call 9-1-1. Heat exhaustion may lead to heat stroke without care.

Heat Cramps are painful muscle spasms. Move victim to cool shady area and give him Gatorade or an electrolyte solution to drink. If victim loses consciousness, vomits or if muscle cramping is severe, seek medical assistance.

Ways to stay safe in hot weather:

  • Limit caffeine (this includes coffee, colas and energy drinks) intake.
  • Limit alcohol intake.
  • Wear light, loose-fitting cotton clothing.
  • Wear sunscreen and sunglasses when working outside in the sun.
  • Eat regular, well-balanced meals, avoiding hot or heavy food.
  • Be aware that water, concrete and sand reflect the sun and make it stronger.
  • Where possible, perform the heaviest work during the coolest part of the day.
  • Build up tolerance to the heat and the work activity slowly. This takes about two weeks.
  • Work in pairs.
  • Drink more water – about a cup of water every 15 to 20 minutes – Take special care when temperatures are above 100º F or during periods of high humidity.

Remember: Do not wait until you are thirsty to drink water, drink continuously all day long. Little or no desire to drink, fatigue and headache results from loss of fluids.

Employees who are heavier, older, taking medication (even over-the-counter drugs) are more at risk of getting sick when working in hot weather.

Stay alert for early symptoms of excessive exposure to heat and tell you supervisor if you or a co-worker are experiencing any symptoms of heat – related illness.

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Take 5 For Safety – Crystalline Silica Exposure

 


Crystalline Silica Exposure

What is crystalline silica?
Crystalline silica is a basic component of soil, sand, granite, and many other minerals. Quartz is the most common form of crystalline silica. Cristobalite and tridymite are two other forms of crystalline silica. All three forms may become respirable size particles when workers chip, cut, drill, or grind objects that contain crystalline silica.

What are the hazards of crystalline silica?
Silica exposure remains a serious threat to nearly 2 million U.S. workers, including more than 100,000 workers in high risk jobs such as abrasive blasting, foundry work, stonecutting, rock drilling, quarry work and tunneling. The seriousness of the health hazards associated with silica exposure is demonstrated by the fatalities and disabling illnesses that continue to occur in sandblasters and rock drillers. Crystalline silica has been classified as a human lung carcinogen. Additionally, breathing crystalline silica dust can cause silicosis, which in severe cases can be disabling, or even fatal. The respirable silica dust enters the lungs and causes the formation of scar tissues, thus reducing the lungs’ ability to take in oxygen. There is no cure for silicosis. Since silicosis affects lung function, it makes one more susceptible to lung infections like tuberculosis. In addition, smoking causes lung damage and adds to the damage caused by breathing silica dust.

What are the symptoms of silicosis?
Silicosis is classified into three types: chronic/classic, accelerated, and acute.
Chronic/classic silicosis, the most common, occurs after 15-20 years of moderate to low exposures to respirable crystalline silica. Symptoms associated with chronic silicosis may or may not be obvious: therefore, workers need to have a chest x-ray to determine if there is lung damage. As the disease progresses, the worker may experience shortness of breath upon exercising and have clinical signs of poor oxygen/carbon dioxide exchange. In the later stages, the worker may experience fatigue, extreme shortness of breath, chest pain, or respiratory failure.

Accelerated silicosis can occur after 5-10 years of high exposures to respirable crystalline silica. Symptoms include severe shortness of breath, weakness, and weight loss. The onset of symptoms takes longer than in acute silicosis.

Acute silicosis occurs after a few months or as long as two years following exposures to extremely high concentrations of respirable crystalline silica. Symptoms of acute silicosis include severe disabling shortness of breath, weakness, and weight loss, which often leads to death.

Where are construction workers exposed to crystalline silica?
Exposure occurs during many different construction activities. The most severe exposures have occurred during abrasive blasting with sand to remove paint and rust from bridges, tanks, concrete structures, and other surfaces. Other construction activities that may result in severe exposure include: jack hammering, rock/well drilling, concrete missing, concrete drilling, brick and concrete block cutting and sawing, tuck pointing, tunneling operations.

How is OSHA addressing exposure to crystalline silica?
The current OSHA permissible exposure limit (PEL) for respirable crystalline silica (quartz) is 100 µg/m3 as an 8-hour time-weighted average (TWA) [29 CFR**1910.1000]. OSHA also requires hazard communication training for workers exposed to crystalline silica, and requires a respirator program until engineering controls are implemented. Additionally, OSHA has a National Emphasis Program (NEP) for Crystalline Silica exposure to identify, reduce, and eliminate health hazards associated with occupational exposures.

What can employers/employees do to protect against exposures to crystalline silica?

  • Replace crystalline silica materials with safer substitutes, whenever possible.
  • Provide engineering or administrative controls, where feasible, such as local exhaust ventilation, and blasting cabinets. Where necessary to reduce exposures below the PEL, use protective equipment or other protective measures.
  • Use all available work practices to control dust exposures, such as water sprays.
  • Wear only a NIOSH-certified respirator, if respirator protection is required. Do not alter the respirator. Do not wear a tight-fitting respirator with a beard or mustache that prevents a good seal between the respirator and the face.
  • Wear only a Type CE abrasive-blast supplied-air respirator for abrasive blasting.
  • Wear disposable or washable work clothes and shower if facilities are available. Vacuum the dust from your clothes and change into clean clothing before leaving the work site.
  • Participate in training, exposure monitoring, and health screening and surveillance programs to monitor any adverse health effects caused by crystalline silica exposures.
  • Be aware of the operations and the job tasks creating crystalline silica exposures in your workplace environment and know how to protect yourself.
  • Be aware of the health hazards related to exposures to crystalline silica. Smoking adds to the lung damage caused by silica exposures.
  • Do not eat, drink, smoke, or apply cosmetics in areas where crystalline silica dust is present. Wash your hands and face outside of dusty areas before performing any of these activities.
  • Remember: If it’s silica, it’s not just dust.

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Take 5 For Safety – National Weather Service Alerts

 


National Weather Service Alerts

Spring is here and we’re getting into the Tornado season for this area. It’s important to review what the various National Weather Service alerts mean.

A Severe Thunderstorm Watch
That means that conditions are favorable for a severe thunderstorm in the area(s) covered under the watch. A Severe Thunderstorm Warning That means that a severe thunderstorm has been spotted in the area either visually or via Doppler Radar. This could mean high winds, lightning and heavy rain.

A Tornado Watch
That means the conditions are favorable for a tornado in the area(s) covered under the Tornado Watch. You do not need to take cover, but you should keep an eye on the conditions and stay near a radio/tv/weather radio.

A Tornado Warning
That means that a tornado has been spotted in the area covered either visually by someone on the ground or via Doppler Radar. That means take cover immediately.
If you have a basement or a storm shelter in your home that is a good place to go. If you’re not sure where to go or what help in determining the best place, checkout the FEMA website at www.fema.gov for detailed information on how to determine the safest place to be.

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Take 5 For Safety – Back safety

 


Back Safety

Introduction: I BET YOU DIDN’T KNOW that the best way to prevent back injuries is to develop good habits that reduce the unnecessary strain placed on the back.

Background: Back injuries are on an alarming rise. Employees can do numerous things to help reduce back strain. Making your employees knowledgeable of correct lifting procedures. Equipment is available to assist in lifting that will decrease their chances of a back injury.

Avoid Lifting and Bending whenever you can:

  • Place objects up off the floor. If you can set something down on a table or other elevated surface instead of on the floor, do it so you won’t have to reach down to pick it up again.
  • Raise/lower shelves. The best zone for lifting is between your shoulders and your waist. Put heavier objects on shelves at waist level, lighter objects on lower or higher shelves.
  • Use carts and dolly’s to move objects, instead of carrying them yourself. (Remember that it is better on your back to push carts than it is to pull them.)
  • Use cranes, hoists, lift tables, and other lift-assist devices whenever you can.
  • Use proper lifting procedures:
  • Since you can’t always avoid lifting, try different ways to reduce the amount of pressure placed on the back. Bending the knees to keep your spine in a better alignment and takes away the lever principle forces. Instead of using your back like a crane, you allow your legs to do the work.
  • Follow these steps when lifting:
  • Take a balanced stance with your feet about a shoulder-width apart. One foot can be behind the object and the other next to it.
  • Squat down to lift the object, but keep your heels off the floor. Get as close to the object as you can.
  • Use your palms (not just your fingers) to get a secure grip on the load. Make sure you’ll be able to maintain a hold on the object without switching your grip later.
  • Lift gradually (without jerking) using your leg, abdominal and buttock muscles and keeping the load as close to you as possible. Keep your chin tucked in so as to keep a relatively straight back and neck.
  • Once you’re standing, change directions by pointing your feet in the direction you want to go and turning your whole body. Avoid twisting at your waist while carrying a load.
  • When you put a load down, use these same guidelines in reverse.
  • Reduce the amount of weight lifted. Better to load several small boxes than one extremely heavy load.
  • Get help if the shape is too awkward or the object is too heavy for you to lift and move by yourself!

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Take 5 For Safety – Emergency Response Planning

 


Emergency Response Planning

Introduction: I BET YOU DIDN’T KNOW that your employees’ ability to respond to an emergency situation is increased by more than 90% if they have been properly trained and are aware of key personnel in the event of an emergency situation.

 

Background: Employees should know what actions need to be taken if there is ever an onsite emergency occurs. Developing and documenting an Emergency Response Plan is an OSHA requirement. It should be specific to your workplace once you evaluate and identify potential emergency conditions and include evacuation policies and procedures, emergency reporting procedures, and an alarm system. Get your employees involved in the developing plans as they know first-hand the hazards that are confronted in the daily operations. After it is documented, review it with all employees to make sure they know what to do before, during, and after an emergency.

 

What must an employee know: It is critical that employees know who the emergency coordinator is and that this person has the authority to make decisions during an emergency. The coordinator is responsible for evaluating a situation to determine whether an emergency exist that requires activating emergency procedures, overseeing emergency procedures, notifying and coordinating with outside emergency services, and directing shutdown of utilities or company operations.

 

Training

After developing the Emergency Response Plan make sure employees are fully aware of the procedures and properly trained. Some employee need to be designated to assist in the safe and orderly evacuation of all personnel. Review the plan with all employees when:

* It is first developed;

* Or an employee is initially assigned to work task or different work assignments;

* Or if an employee’s responsibilities change;

* Or if the plan changes.

 

Plan review, Coordination, and Up-date

Have your plan reviewed by local emergency responders in your areas to ensure its completeness and to improve its effectiveness. Hold practice evacuation drills to make all employees familiar with the emergency procedures, exit routes, and assembly locations so if an actual emergency occurs, they will be able to respond properly and safely. Drills should be conducted at least semi-annually to keep all employees prepared and could include outside resources such as fire and police department when possible. After each practice drill get employee feedback to improve the effectiveness of the plan.

 

Review the Emergency Response Plan on a regular basis and update it whenever:

* There is a change in emergency response or responsibilities.

* A change in the layout or design of the workplace.

* New equipment, hazardous materials, or processes are introduced that affect evacuation routes.

* New types of hazards are introduced that require special action.

* A new employee is hired.

* After a real emergency has occurred to check for effectiveness.

 

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Take 5 For Safety – Think the Job Through Safely

 


Think the Job Through Safely

Introduction: I BET YOU DIDN’T KNOW that for years, safety experts have tried to implement programs to prevent worker injuries, and government has passed many regulations to help OSHA enforce workplace safety. But all of the laws, programs and rules in the world can’t keep you from injury – if you don’t think.

Background: Statistics reveal that for every on-the job accident caused by unsafe conditions, there are at least four that can be attributed to unsafe acts.

What must an employee know: What an employee does or fails to do can directly affect personal their safety. “Thinking” is a personal action that no one else can do for you. “Failure to fully think the task through” has been referred to as the hidden safety hazard or unsafe act that contributes to workplace accidents. Unsafe acts include both actions that are taken, as well as those failed to take to avoid risk exposures or accidents. So what are some of the reasons we fall into this trap of not thinking – before we act?

* Anger: Anger is another common problem and we all get angry at times. However, if you get mad enough you may not think straight, act in haste, and act unsafely. If you feel yourself getting angry – stop and think about the situation, before you act or respond in anger. Count to 10 or take a deep breath before you do anything else.

* Confusion: If you find this happening, stop what you are doing and think. If you don’t understand the instructions you have been given – ask. It’s not wrong to ask questions, but it could be a hazard if you don’t – if it exposes you or others to danger.

* Daydreaming: Daydreaming or inattention on the job is dangerous and it could kill you. If this is happening to you, force yourself to focus and concentrate on the task at hand. Don’t allow your attention to drift and thoughts to wander.

* Fatigue: Fatigue often gets in the way of straight thinking too. If you are tired, it’s often hard to think things out clearly. You can avoid this problem by getting enough sleep, eating properly, and keeping yourself fit.

* Indifference: This can also lead to accidents. Don’t let yourself get in a rut. If you feel your job is becoming routine -think about ways to improve things.

* Worry: This is a common problem for all of us, and no one is completely free of it all of the time. However, worry can be very distracting unless you learn to control it. There is no magic formula for controlling worry, but if you have a serious problem that you are preoccupied with – talk to your supervisor about it. He may not be able to completely solve it for you.

Keeping your attention focused on what you are doing will enable you to work safely, more enjoyable and more productively. “Thinking the Job through Safely is well worth thinking about”!
 
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Take 5 For Safety – Encountering Severe Weather in Your Vehicle

 


Encountering Severe Weather in Your Vehicle

Introduction: Across the United States, the news reports tell of the severe weather devastation and tragedies in 2012. As the seasons change, safety and preparedness for weather emergencies must be foremost in our minds. Would you know what to do if you were caught by surprise in by a tornado or other severe weather condition while in your car?
 
National safety agencies have provided excellent advice and some safety tips if you become stuck in a vehicle for different types of weather situations:
 
Tornadoes
* If you are traveling in a vehicle, get out immediately and make your way to the lowest floor of a nearby, secure building or storm shelter.
* If there is no shelter around, do not try to outrun the tornado in your vehicle. Make your way to a ditch or depression and cover your head with your hands.
 
Floods
* Do not drive into a flooded area as the road underneath could have washed away.
* If water does rise around your vehicle, abandon it quickly and move to higher ground if you can do so safely. Use caution as six inches of moving water can make you fall.
* Six inches of water can reach the bottom of many cars. This much water can cause loss of control and possible stalling. A foot of water may float a vehicle and two feet of rushing water can carry away most vehicles, even sport utility vehicles and pick-up trucks.
 
Severe Thunderstorms
 
* If you cannot get inside a house or building, staying in a hard top automobile is better than being outside.
* Try not to touch the metal in the car, in case of a lightning strike. The steel structure of a hard-topped vehicle does provide some protection from storm thrown debris and hail.
 
As the severe weather approaches, remember; listen to your local radio or television newscasts for weather updates and instructions.
 

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Take 5 For Safety – The Three Point Rule

 


THE THREE-POINT RULE

Falling while getting into or out of heavy equipment, a truck or tractor cab, hooking up air and electrical lines, or mounting or dismounting trailers is a sure way to get seriously hurt. Even an ankle sprain can make it difficult for you to use the clutch. Minor injuries can cost you big in terms of lost income and downtime. No matter what type of access system your vehicle has available, use the THREE-POINT system to significantly reduce the chance of a slip or fall. The THREE-POINT system means three of your four limbs are in contact with the vehicle at all times-two hands and one foot, or two feet and one hand. The THREE-POINT system allows you to have maximum stability and support, thereby reducing the likelihood of slipping and falling.

DO’S

  • Wear shoes with good support — not sandals, bare feet or high heels.
  • Exit and enter facing the cab.
  • Slow down and use extra caution in bad weather.
  • Get a firm grip on rails or handles with your hands.
  • Look for obstacles on the ground below before exiting.

 
DON’Ts

  • Don’t climb down with something in your free hand. Put it on the vehicle floor and reach up for it when you get down on the ground.
  • Don’t rush to climb out after a long run. Descend slowly, to avoid straining a muscle.
  • Don’t ever jump out. You may land off balance or on an uneven surface, and fall.
  • Don’t use tires or wheel hubs as a step surface.
  • Don’t use the doorframe or door edge as a handhold.
  • Don’t become an injury statistic.
  • Don’t get complacent!

The only person who can prevent a fall is you! 
 
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Take 5 For Safety – Identifying Fatigue

 


Identifying Fatigue

Fatigue is the condition of being physically or mentally tired or exhausted. Extreme fatigue can lead to uncontrolled and involuntary shutdown of the brain.

Here are some things to look for in your co-workers to help identify fatigue. Everyone needs your help, because in most cases, people who are under significant fatigue can’t identify it themselves. These include:

  • Their job performance slows.
  • Their job quality is reduced.
  • They can’t recall their last thought, conversation, or what they did a moment ago.
  • They have trouble solving problems.
  • They make errors.
  • They have a near-miss accident.
  • They have trouble focusing.
  • The head droops.
  • They can’t stop yawning.

When you’re fatigued you will make errors in judgment. Your mind or eyes can be off task and you can make a critical error.
 
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