Take 5 For Safety – Safety Around Conveyors

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Safety Around Conveyors

A conveyor is a machine that transfers material from one area to another by use of stationary framework and rotating or vibrating belts, rollers, chains, etc. Conveyors may or may not be motorized and can be used overhead, underground or at working height. Transfer methods may include belts, buckets, or other material-specific carriers. Conveyors can be hazardous due to the nature of the moving parts and transferred material. Caution needs to be used when working with or around them.

Things You Can Do to Improve Safety around Conveyors
* Verify machine guarding is in place and in good condition at all times.
* If working around an overhead conveyor, check for basin-type guarding under the conveyor – Move away if none are in place and always wear a hard hat.
* Keep all loose clothing, long hair and jewelry away from conveyors at all times.
* Identify pinch-points and all rotating or moving parts before approaching the conveyor.
* Never perform maintenance work without performing the required Lockout /Tag-out procedure.
* Verify there is a way to stop the conveyor in case of emergency such as emergency pull-cords, typically installed adjacent to the conveyor path.
* Never overload the conveyor; always conduct preventive maintenance tasks, as scheduled; ensure adequate lubrication; keep accurate maintenance records.
* Inspect the condition of belts, chains, links and gears; verify there is no fraying of the belt.
* Stand away from the conveyor, if possible, to avoid being struck by material and flying debris.
* Always wear the proper Personal Protective Equipment for the job – Eye protection is highly recommended in most cases; coveralls, leather gloves, hard hats and steel-toed boots are other forms of applicable PPE

Questions to Generate Discussion
* What tasks cause the highest risk for injury when working with a conveyor?
* What improvements can be made to conveyors that would improve the safety of these tasks?


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Take 5 For Safety – Pinch Points

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Pinch Points

General Info

A pinch point is produced when 2 objects come together and there is a possibility that a person could be caught or injured when coming in contact with that area. Pinch points commonly impact fingers/hands, but can impact any area of the body. The injury resulting from a pinch point could be as minor as a blister or as severe as an amputation or death. Conveyors, gears, loaders, compactors and other moving equipment are examples of machinery with pinch points.

Common Causes of Injuries from Pinch Points
* Not paying attention to the location of hands and feet
* Walking or working in areas with mobile equipment and fixed structures
* Loose clothing, hair or jewelry getting caught in rotating parts or equipment
* Poor condition of equipment and guarding
* Dropping or carelessly handling materials or suspended loads
* Not using the proper work procedures or tools
* Reaching into moving equipment and machinery

Safety Controls for Pinch Points

* Machine guarding: Verify all guarding is in place and effective
* Personal Protective Equipment: Heavy-duty leather gloves, metacarpal guards, forearm guards, etc.
* Pre-work inspection: Identify potential pinch points before starting work
* Stay in employee designated areas: Always make sure mobile equipment operators know your location.
* Lockout/ Tag out: Always make sure mobile equipment is de-energized before starting any maintenance work
* Alertness: Drowsiness leads to inattentive work habits and shortcuts
* Operating manuals and work procedures: Always review these before starting work; pinch points may also be identified in these documents

Questions to Generate Discussion:

* What are the most common sources of pinch points in your work area?
* What improvements can be made to machine guarding?


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Take 5 For Safety – Hearing Protection is for Everyone

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Hearing Protection is for Everyone

Why? Everyone is exposed to loud noise at some time in their lives—even babies! Lawn mowing, fitness classes, truck and tractor pulls, airplanes, table saws, rock concerts, snowmobiles—all these environments can be too loud. The decibel is a unit used to express sound level, and “loud noise” means sounds that are more than 80 decibels. Loud noise can be very hazardous to your health and particularly to your hearing. Over time, exposure to loud sounds on a regular basis can result in permanent hearing loss. You often don’t know you have the hearing problem until it is too late to do anything about it. Sudden, VERY loud noises, like explosions, can cause instant hearing loss.

Why is hearing loss a problem? Imagine being cut off from all the things that are important to you—friends, family, TV, radio, MUSIC! It’s not a comforting thought. When you’re born, your hearing is as good as it will ever be, so you need start protecting it as soon as you can. Hearing loss due to loud noise is preventable, but it is NOT treatable once you have it.

So what kind of hearing protection should I wear? Either earplugs or earmuffs are fine. For noise exposure outside of the workplace, most types sold in safety stores or hardware stores will block out enough noise to protect your hearing. Pick a style that you like the look of and feels comfortable to wear.

Really, what’s the BEST hearing protector? The best hearing protector is one that you will want to wear for the entire time you’re exposed to noise.

How should they fit? Earplugs should fit snugly in your ear canal and someone looking at you should have a hard time seeing them. If they stick out too far, they’re not blocking sound. Earmuffs should fit close to your head, with no gaps. There is another style of hearing protector called the “banded” earplug—it’s an earplug (that can go into the ear canal or sit over it) on a headband.

How long do they last? Foam (“disposable”) earplugs will last for about 10 wearings; other earplugs will last about 1 year. The custom molded type, made of medical silicone, will last about 3-4 years. Earmuffs will last about 4-5 years, but you must replace the cuff (the part that sits right on your skin) every year. The oils and sweat from your skin will make the plastic of the cuff deteriorate.

Questions to Generate Discussion
* What tasks do you carry out that require hearing protection?
* Give an example of a task that would require you to wear ear muffs rather than ear plugs.
* Where can you get hearing protection?


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Take 5 For Safety – Forklift Safe Work Pratices

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** Forklift Safe Work Practices

Forklifts are excellent labor saving devices. They save time and reduce the likelihood of injury associated with manual material handling activities. However, forklifts can become very dangerous if operated by a reckless or untrained operator. All operators should receive safety training prior to being allowed to operate a forklift.

Forklift accidents tend to be very serious, involving both personal injury and damage to property. These accidents can be avoided if operators use some common sense and follow safe operating procedures. Do not operate a forklift until you have been properly trained and authorized to do so.

Basic Forklift Safety Practices

Here are a few common safety rules to follow during forklift operation:
1. Use the seat belt. It will keep you secured in the seat in the unplanned event of a tip over.
2. A parked forklift should have the forks flat on the floor with the controls set to neutral and with the parking brake set.
3. A forklift is considered to be “unattended” if the operator is more than 25 feet away or if the forklift is out of the direct vision of the operator. Unattended forklifts should be parked with the power turned off.
4. When operating the forklift on inclines, the load should always be on the uphill side of the incline. Drive forward going up the incline. Drive backward going down the incline.
5. When traveling without a load on the forks, keep the forks approximately four to six inches off the floor.
6. Never allow anyone to walk underneath a raised load.
7. Stop at all blind corners to check for other traffic in the area. This includes other forklifts and pedestrians. Honk your horn and look before you proceed.
8. If carrying a tall load that blocks your forward vision, drive in reverse and turn your head so you can see where you are going.
9. If operating around other forklifts maintain a three-forklift length distance between forklifts and never attempt passing.
10. Never drive a forklift up to the back of a person who is unaware that the forklift is behind them.



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Take 5 For Safety – Avoiding Heat Stress

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Avoiding Heat Stress

The sun and warm weather of summer can also bring special hazards for those working outdoors. The combination of heat, humidity and physical labor can lead to illness. The two most serious forms of heat-related illnesses are heat exhaustion (primarily from dehydration) and heat stroke. Signs of heat exhaustion or heat stroke need immediate attention. Recognizing those warning signs and taking quick action can make a difference in preventing heat illnesses.

The following are guidelines all employees should follow during the warm weather months:
1. Understand what heat stress is and be able to recognize the symptoms. It is a signal that says the body is having difficulty maintaining its narrow temperature range. The heart pumps faster, blood is diverted from internal organs to the skin, breathing rate increases, sweating increases, all in an attempt to transfer more heat to the outside air and cool the skin by evaporation of sweat. If the body can’t keep up then the person suffers effects ranging from heat cramps to heat exhaustion, and finally to heat stroke.
2. Symptoms of Heat Exhaustion include headaches, dizziness, lightheadness or fainting; weakness and moist skin; mood changes such as irritability or confusion; upset stomach or vomiting.
3. Symptoms of Heat Stroke include dry, hot skin with no sweating; mental confusion or loss of consciousness; seizures or convulsions. Seek professional assistance immediately.
4. Dry clothes and skin do not mean that you are not sweating. In dry climates, you might not feel wet or sticky, but you are still sweating. On a very warm day, you can lose as much as two liters of fluid.
5. Beat the Heat. Help Prevent the ill effects of heat stress by:

* Drinking water or Gatorade frequently and moderately (about eight ounces every 15 minutes.)
* If possible, avoid direct sunlight or other heat sources.
* Try to plan your day to tackle more strenuous jobs during the cooler morning hours.
* Utilizing the ventilation or fans in enclosed areas.
* Rest frequently in cool, shaded areas.
* Avoid alcoholic or caffeinated beverages and eat lightly.
* Remembering that it takes about one to two weeks for the body to adjust to the heat; this adaptation to heat is quickly lost — so your body will need time to adjust after a vacation or extended absence.
* Wearing lightweight, light-colored and loose fitting clothes.
* Wear wide brimmed hard hats, neck protectors (Chill-Its) and sunscreen

Be prepared to act. In the event you recognize these symptoms in yourself or a co-worker, immediately notify our supervisor and contact emergency professionals.

While waiting for First Aid or Medical Aid, you should:
* Move the worker to a cool shaded area
* Loosen or remove heavy clothing
* Provide small sips of cool drinking water
* Fan and mist the person with water

Questions to Generate Discussion
For your jobs practices, what are common and practical controls to prevent heat illnesses?


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Take 5 For Safety – Common Safety Mistakes

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Common Safety Mistakes

Some of the most dangerous situations arise out of common mistakes that can be easily avoided. This tailgate focuses on some of the more common (and commonly overlooked) safety issues that should be prevented to help improve safety performance.

Lack of Housekeeping: It may seem simple, but a messy/dirty work area makes for an unsafe work environment. Pallet banding lying on the ground, spilled oil and obstructed walkways all result in thousands of injuries each year.

Not using Lockout/Tag out on equipment needing repair: Thousands of injuries are caused each year by the failure to lockout or tag out equipment and machinery needing repair. Often times someone knew ahead of time that the equipment was not functioning properly. It is imperative to disable the equipment as soon as someone knows it is not functioning properly. This will ensure the equipment does not cause injury or an unsafe work environment.

Improper use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE): It is a common, yet incorrect practice to wear hard hats backwards, or to put hearing protection in improperly. A walk around a shop might find face shields that are scratched to the point where visibility is poor. All of these are examples of failures in the proper use of Personal Protective Equipment. PPE is the last line of defense in protecting the employee. Therefore, the improper use of PPE, or failure to maintain and replace defective PPE, increases the likelihood of injury.

Not having a process or plan: Most workplace injuries occur when work being done is not part of a normal process. It is important to have a work plan for non-process work. No matter how it is done, planning the work and asking ‘What if…?” questions will help identify hazards and implement controls to prevent injuries.

Complete daily hazard assessments and review with your crew before commencing work.


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Take 5 For Safety – Electrical Hazards – High Voltage Electrical Burns

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More than 1000 employees are killed and another 30,000 injured each year from electrical shock. Hands are frequently involved in an electrical injury since they are the most common source of contact with the electrical current. However, damage to other parts of the body may be more extensive and life threatening. Severe electric shock can result in cardiac arrest due to ventricular fibrillation, massive fluid loss into swollen tissues, and kidney failure caused by an overload of muscle protein from damaged muscle and infections.

Electrical injuries are often more severe than they appear to be from the outside. Injury occurs not only at the contact site, but also along the path the electricity takes, and at the exit location.
Frequently, there is also extensive muscle damage that will not be evident from a visual examination of the skin. These deep tissue injuries cause severe swelling that require a deep incision extending from the hand to the shoulder to relieve the pressure. If this is not done, the mounting pressure from the swelling will shut off the blood supply by compressing the arteries, rapidly destroying any remaining healthy tissue. Extensive dead skin removal is often necessary to prevent massive infection. Deep burns result in unsightly scars that will often continue to enlarge for 12-18 months after the burn occurs. These scars are not only a cosmetic problem, but may seriously interfere with joint function because motion increases the tension across the wound, which tends to produce even more scar tissue.

More than 90% of fatalities occur when contact is made with a “hot” wire, or energized equipment housing by a person who was well-grounded. Most of these injuries would probably have been prevented if a GFI — ground fault interrupter — had been installed on the circuit. A GFI is not an overcurrent device, but is placed across the line to continuously monitor the current flowing from the source and compare it to the current returning to the source. If the difference is 6 milliamperes or more, it opens the circuit almost instantly. This is important because it has been determined that 100 milliamperes flowing through the body for only 2 seconds can cause death by electrocution. 100 milliamperes is not much current when you consider that a portable electric drill draws 30 times that much. Incidentally, the “let go” threshold that causes freezing to the circuit is about 20 milliamperes. Make sure that the equipment you are working with has a GFI — it could save your life.

To work on high voltage (over 600 volts), you must have a minimum of two years of training, experience with high voltage circuits, have demonstrated that you are familiar with the work to be performed, and the hazards involved with high voltage work according to OSHA.

Other safety requirements that must be followed include using insulated gloves for current over 300 volts, eye protection, and lockout/tagout if working on energized parts of equipment or systems. Conductive measuring tapes, ropes, or similar devices obviously cannot be used around exposed conductors, and conductive fish tapes cannot be used if they will be entering enclosures with exposed conductors.


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Take 5 For Safety – All Terrain Vehicle (ATV) Safety

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All-Terrain Vehicle (ATV) Safety

ATVs have become popular for work and recreation on many farms and ranches. Unfortunately, reported cases of serious injury and death have increased along with their increased use. Most of these injuries and deaths can be attributed to improper use of ATVs. Make ATV safety a priority on your farm or ranch.

An ATV is not a toy. Children should not be permitted to operate ATVs without specialized training and then they should be allowed to only operate an ATV of an appropriate size. Contact the ATV Safety Institute to enroll in a course.
* ATVs with an engine size of 70cc to 90cc should be operated by people at least 12 years of age.
* ATVs with an engine size greater than 90cc should only be operated by people at least 16 years of age.
* Wear appropriate riding gear: DOT-, Snell ANSI-approved helmet, goggles, gloves, over-the-ankle boots, long-sleeve shirt and long pants.
* Read owners manuals carefully.
* ATVs are not made for multiple riders. Never carry anyone else on the ATV.
* Any added attachments affect the stability, operating and braking of the ATV.
* Just because an attachment is available doesn’t mean that it can be used without increasing your risk of being injured.
* Do not operate the ATV on streets, highways or paved roads.


* Are tires and wheels in good condition?
* Are controls and cable operational?
* Does the chain have proper slack and is it lubricated?
* Is riding gear (including a helmet) available and worn?


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Take 5 For Safety – Why Seat Belts?

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Why Safety Belts?

Whether you are driving to work, driving a truck or driving a powered industrial truck at work, safety belt use is important each and every time you get behind the wheel.

Why Safety Belts?

To understand the value of safety belt use, it’s important to understand some of the dynamics of a crash. Every motor vehicle crash is actually comprised of three collisions.

The Car’s Collision
The first collision is known as the car’s collision, which causes the car to buckle and bend as it hits something and comes to an abrupt stop. This occurs in approximately one-tenth of a second. The crushing of the front end absorbs some of the force of the crash and cushions the rest of the car. As a result, the passenger compartment comes to a more gradual stop than the front of the car.

The Human Collision
The second collision occurs as the car’s occupants hit some part of the vehicle. At the moment of impact, unbelted occupants are still traveling at the vehicle’s original speed. Just after the vehicle comes to a complete stop, these unbelted occupants will slam into the steering wheel, the windshield, or some other part of the vehicle interior. This is the human collision.

Another form of human collision is the person-to-person impact. Many serious injuries are caused by unbelted occupants colliding with each other. In a crash, occupants tend to move toward the point of impact, not away from it. People in the front seat are often struck by unbelted rear-seat passengers who have become high-speed projectiles.

The Internal Collision
Even after the occupant’s body comes to a complete stop, the internal organs are still moving forward. Suddenly, these organs hit other organs or the skeletal system. This third collision is the internal collision and often causes serious or fatal injuries.

So, Why Safety Belts? During a crash, properly fastened safety belts distribute the forces of rapid deceleration over larger and stronger parts of the person’s body, such as the chest, hips and shoulders. The safety belt stretches slightly to slow your body down and to increase its stopping distance.

The difference between the belted person’s stopping distance and the unbelted person’s stopping distance is significant. It’s often the difference between life and death.


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Take 5 For Safety – What is Safety

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What is Safety?

When posed with the question “what is safety”, the answer may appear obvious. One person’s answer or perception of safety may be quite different from another’s. This perception of safety is often based on one’s own occupation and or experiences. If you work in industry or construction, your perception of safety may be comprised of a combination of OHS Regulations, site regulations, company policy and the latest Toolbox Talk. If you’re in the aviation industry, your perception would find basis from Transport Canada and the Canadian Aviation Regulations.

How about someone that works in a small business or some other occupation were safety regulations, rules and procedures are simply not in place and are rarely if ever spoken of? What level of risk do these people navigate through on a daily basis? Take driving for example; many of us drive, we jump in or cars and trucks daily and take off down the road. Many of us have driven for years without so much as a speeding ticket. When you consider the number of vehicles on the road, it’s amazing how relatively few road accidents there are.

The laws, regulations and rules of the road are probably the most universal example of a system of safety in our society. A singular system we can all reference a perception of safety on. We take driving for granted, we do it automatically.

So then, back to the question, “what is safety?” Is it a set of rules and regulations or is it a perception. Do you feel “safe” while driving? Maybe so, at times more or less than others.

Rules, regulations and procedures provide the lattice or structure for which we reference our perception of safety on. When we add a regulation or another procedural rule as the recommended remedy to an incident, we add complexity to our safety system. However, rules, regulations and procedures don’t think, people think. Like driving, we do it automatically. Safety is created and exists in our minds.

The more we learn, practice, share and mentor each other on the aspects of safety in our workplace and lives, the safer we become. Not by adding rules, rather by sharing experiences. By sharing and creating a broad and increasing knowledge of safety, we create and sustain a vibrant safety culture. A culture that encourages and supports one another to think safety, thereby empowering each individual to navigate safely through an ever expanding set of circumstances and variables encountered through the workday and our daily lives.


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