Take 5 For Safety – Seat Belts

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Seat Belts

Seat belts, when used properly, hold the operator in the seat and helps contain them inside the rollover protection structure (ROPS) in the event of a collision or tip-over. The seat assembly, which includes the seat belt and mounting hardware, should be inspected regularly. Inspection is recommended during the pre-shift walk around and as instructed in the manufacturer’s operation & maintenance manual. Include the following items when inspecting the seat belt:

* Inspect the seat belt mounting hardware for wear or damage Replace any mounting hardware that is worn or damaged
* Inspect mounting bolts

Tighten mounting bolts if the bolts are loose
* Inspect the buckle for wear or damage

Replace the seat belt if the buckle is worn or damaged
* Inspect the seat belt webbing for wear or damage

Replace the seat belt if webbing is worn or damaged
* Inspect seat belt buckle and retractor(s) for proper function
* Inspect the seat belt label for date of installation

Replace the seat belt if seat belt buckle or retractor is not functioning

Recommend replacement at three years service life

Additional inspection for three point seat belt (if equipped)
* Inspect shoulder loop web guide

Adjust shoulder loop hardware and/ or remove obstruction
* Inspect the seat belt height adjuster

Replace the seat belt if the height adjuster is not functioning

Consult your dealer for the replacement of the seat belt and the mounting hardware.

* Perform inspections of the seat belt and mounting hardware before operating the machine
* Replace any damaged or worn parts
* Wear seat belt at all times while operating the machine
* Sponge the webbing clean with mild soap and water. DO NOT use bleach, dye or industrial detergents


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Take 5 For Safety – Aerial Work Platforms

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Aerial Work Platforms

General Precautions

– Do not operate a lift without proper training in the safe use of the Equipment

– Know and follow all manufacturer instructions

– Make sure the operation and maintenance manual is on the machine

– Ensure all safety decals are readable and understood

– Never override mechanical, hydraulic, or electrical safety devices

Before Operating the Machine

– Perform a safety walk around inspection of entire machine

– Check the function of all operational controls

– Check the operation of all safety devices

– Inspect the operating area for hazards – at ground level and above ground level

Avoid Falls

– Wear an approved personal fall protection device attached to the manufacturer’s approved tie off point to protect against being pulled out or ejected from the basket or platform

– Do not exceed the operating load limits specified by the manufacturer (Include the weight of any tools and materials when calculating load)

During Machine Operation

– Be aware of all power lines in or near the work area

– Watch for obstacles on the ground which may affect stability

– Be sure to use a ground spotter

– Do not allow anyone to work beneath the elevated platform

– Do not position yourself between the rails of the basket and overhead hazards, such as joists or beams


– Wear fall protection devices and required PPE at all times

– Ensure that the counterweight is uphill from the platform basket when loading or unloading any boom style lift on any slope or ramp

– Always secure the basket or boom to the truck with a nylon tie-down strap to prevent rotation while transporting

Thought Provoking Questions

– Have you ever experienced a near miss? If so, describe the possible impacts if it had been an actual accident

– What can you do to keep your co-workers safe on the jobsite?


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Take 5 For Safety – Back Protection

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Back Protection

General Information

Back injury is one of the leading causes of lost-time or restricted duty in the workplace and can lead to years of discomfort and disability. A back injury can be cumulative, as a result of repetitive motion over time, or acute due to a sprain or muscle pull, for example.

There are many factors that contribute to cumulative back injury. They include:

– The amount of repetitive motion

– The maximum lifting load

– The duration the load is to be carried

– The body height, weight, strength and gender

– The position of the body to the load when lifting or carrying

Things to Help Avoid Back Injury

Every industry and work environment presents its own unique back safety

hazards. Some jobs require a lot of lifting, while other jobs require a lot of sitting.

To help ensure back safety, follow these guidelines:

1. Wear back braces if required to lift and carry heavy loads or if the back needs to be supported for long periods.

2. Avoid twisting and turning; use legs to position and move the torso. Move the work area closer to avoid unnecessary twisting and reaching.

3. Avoid leaning or bending over for extended periods. This causes fatigue and weakness in the lower back over time.

4. Stretch and exercise the back before starting work each day.

5. Inspect the work area for slip, trip and fall hazards.

6. Inspect steps and stairs before climbing; use handrails whenever available.

7. Lift with the legs. Position the body so the load is centered and supported by the body before lifting and carrying.

8. Seek alternative work methods or rotating schedules if repetitive motion and sustained lifting are causing back discomfort or pain.

9. Avoid sudden jerks and pulls on a load that could cause a muscle sprain or herniated disc.

Thought Provoking Questions

– What activities exist in your workplace that could cause back injury?

– What can be done in your work area to minimize causes for back injury?


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Take 5 For Safety – Personal Protective Equipment

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Personal Protective Equipment

General Information

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is gear that can be worn to help minimize or eliminate injury. It can be worn to help prevent sudden injuries (bumps, falls, pinches, etc.) or injuries that occur over time (lower-back injuries, carpal tunnel syndrome, etc.).

It is very important the user understands the intended purpose of the PPE and verifies that it fits properly.

Types of PPE
There are many types of PPE developed for various hazards and industries. PPE will not be fully effective unless it fits properly and is worn correctly. The type of PPE will depend on the area of the body at risk and the type of hazard (e.g. projectile, heat, chemical exposure, fumes, elevations, confined space, etc.).

Area of Body

Types of PPE


Safety goggles and glasses, weld masks, face shields


Ear muffs, ear plugs

Respiratory system

Respirators, Nuisance (dust) masks, ventilated hoods


Protective helmets, bump caps, hairnets


Fall restraints, reflective vests, aprons, back braces


Heavy-duty work gloves, rubber (latex) gloves, protective sleeves, wrist supports


Steel-toed foot wear, metatarsal covers, chaps


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Take 5 For Safety – Pre-Shift Checklist

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Pre-shift Checklist

General info

This Tool Box Talk has been developed to give the reader a list of criteria to check before starting work each day. It is for general application, and some processes, equipment and industries may not be represented. Always check with your supervisor regarding start-up questions or concerns, if not addressed below.

* Verify machine guarding is in place and working properly 

* Verify there are no leaks or spills in or around equipment; check condition of hoses (pneumatic, hydraulic, oil, air)
* Verify emergency stops are in place and appear to be functional (for stationary equipment)
* Verify brakes are functional (including parking brake) for mobile equipment
* Verify the equipment is clean, no loose objects, rocks, debris that could fall and cause injury
* Verify bolts, belts, gears, attachments and other removable parts are properly attached and fastened
* Verify fluid levels meet manufacturer’s requirements
* Verify lighting and audible alarms are working properly
* Operate or exercise large parts (booms, arms, buckets) a few times to prepare the equipment for all-day operation
* Verify the status of repairs made prior to shift start to reduce chances of loose or unattached tooling, buckets or implements
* Verify fire suppression equipment, spill kits and other emergency response supplies are available

Work Environment
* Verify walkways and means of egress are not obstructed and there are no slip, trip or fall hazards
* Verify lighting is acceptable to do the work
* Verify Personal Protective Equipment is available and ready to wear
* Verify tools and personal belongings such as a lunch pail or thermos are stored safely and can be accessed safely
* Communicate with the prior-shift operator, if available – Share safety concerns as well as operational details of the day


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Take 5 For Safety – Machine Safety – Before Operations

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Machine Safety—Before Operations

Pre-Start Procedures

– Always perform a pre-shift walk around inspection

– Clear all personnel and obstacles from the machine path.

– Turn battery disconnect switch to “ON.”

– Clean and secure all windows and doors.

– Adjust mirrors for optimum vision.

– Adjust seat for pedal operation and operator’s height and weight.

– Inspect and fasten seatbelt or harness.

– Sound horn prior to start-up.

– Start engine from operator’s compartment only.

After Starting Machine

– Allow engine to warm up at low idle.

– Conduct monitoring system test per Operation and Maintenance Manual (if applicable).

– Check panel indicator lights and gauges frequently.

– Check transmission oil level (if applicable).

– Perform brake checks (per Operation and Maintenance Manual).

Preparing to Move

– Sound horn according to site regulations (allowing three to five seconds after to enable anyone to get out of the way).

– Raise all lowered implements

– Push on the service brake pedal and disengage parking brake.

– Unlock transmission and move control lever to desired gear.

– Release the service brake pedal


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Take 5 For Safety – A Healthy Worksite

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A Healthy Worksite

General info

A healthy worksite should be clean and safe and promote the overall well being of the employees and visitors. It reduces the exposure to job hazards and communicable diseases that can lead to lost time or restricted duty, increased expenses and lost productivity. Healthy worksites also promote employee morale and reduce employee turnover.

Characteristics of a Healthy Worksite
* Provide clean bathrooms, wash stations, eating areas and running water: Make sure there are proper toiletries and cleaning supplies available.
* Hands-free plumbing and waste receptacles are best.
* Make the work environment as visual as possible: Eliminate slip, trip and fall hazards. Use signs, colors and shapes to denote locations, aisle ways and means of egress.
* Ensure there is good ventilation in work areas proportional to the risk involved with the work.
* Establish and adhere to all Personal Protective Equipment requirements.
* Ensure blood-borne pathogen training has been provided and response kits are available. Limit the use of smoking and oral tobacco to designated areas only.
* Establish a pre-shift stretching routine to keep muscles loose.
* Make sure Material Safety Data Sheets are available and accessible to all employees.
* Ensure spill response and fire suppression equipment is available.
* Provide Emergency First Responders and have at least one designated for each work area.
* Set high cleanliness and housekeeping standards: Do not let dirt and debris accumulate.
* Keep waste receptacles from over-filling: Designate the type of waste that should go into each waste receptacle, and establish good recycling procedures.
* Implement a comprehensive auditing program that assesses compliance to expectations; most Healthy Worksites have an effective auditing process.

Questions to Generate Discussion:

– What are some other characteristics of a healthy worksite? Can you identify examples in your work area?


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Take 5 For Safety – Mounting and Dismounting Equipment

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Mounting and Dismounting Equipment

General info

Mounting and dismounting equipment is one of the most dangerous activities associated with equipment. The reason for this is due to a variety of factors:

o Rushing and not paying attention to foot or hand placement

o Slippery or obstructed surfaces

Things You Can Do to Reduce Injuries Due to Mounting and Dismounting 
ALWAYS read the Operation & Maintenance Manual for proper mount and dismount procedures
* Inspect the ground before climbing up or down. Note where feet will be placed to avoid a twisted or sprained ankle
* ALWAYS check the condition of the steps, ladders and rails for mud, water, ice, dust or any other material that could cause slips
* Always maintain three points of contact when mounting and dismounting equipment – This means always have two feet and one hand or two hands and one foot in contact with the machine at all times
+ Doing so means not carrying items when mounting or dismounting equipment
+ If carrying items up and down from the cab is necessary, place the item(s) on a bench or a ledge of the equipment and stagger step the items up or down with the extra hand while maintaining three points of contact, or you can also use a rope to raise or lower the items

* ALWAYS mount and dismount while facing the equipment
* Inspect the condition of rails and guarding for damage and effectiveness
* Always close and latch gates, as required, for fall protection
* Close doors to the equipment in case the outside grab bars are used as handles while climbing in or out

DO NOT RUSH – Take the time needed to properly enter and exit the equipment; do not skip steps or rungs in the ladder

Questions to Generate Discussion:

– What is the top reason for slips and trips while mounting and dismounting your equipment?

– In what condition are the steps, ladders, and handrails on the machines that you use?


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Take 5 For Safety – Lightning Strikes

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Lightning Strikes

The average bolt of lightning carries over 100,000,000 volts and can reach out over

100 miles. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), lightning is one of the leading weather-related causes of death and injury in the United States. It is estimated that the Earth is struck by this incredible electric force more than 100 times every second. The odds of being struck by lightning in your lifetime are 1 in 3,000.

There is a great deal of misunderstanding and misinformation regarding this powerful natural phenomenon. Let’s explore some of the facts.
* Some forms of lightning originate and release from high up in the thunderstorm cloud. This lightning can strike far away from the actual rain storm – up to 5-10 miles in front or behind the storm. Many people are struck by lightning without realizing they are in a lightning risk area.
* If you can hear thunder, you are within 10 miles of a storm and are within reach of lighting. This is the time to seek shelter.
* Rubber-soled shoes provide absolutely no protection from lighting.
* Buildings that are not equipped with grounded plumbing or electrical wiring are unable to conduct electrical current and do not offer protection from lightning.
* This means that you are still vulnerable if you seek shelter in a bus stop, shed, golf hut, park pavilion, etc.
* Stay away from tall objects if caught in a storm. Trees are one of the worst forms of shelter from lightning. They offer a false sense of security and, if anything, attract lightning.
* An automobile can offer protection by acting like a Faraday cage, provided that the occupants do not touch the metal of the car while inside.
* When lightning strikes it can easily travel through electrical wire. Avoid using electrical devices (computers, hair dryers, etc.) during a storm to prevent injury.

So, what if you are caught in a vulnerable place during a storm?
* If you begin to feel the hair on your body or head begin to rise, this could be a sign that the positive charge of your body is reaching up to the negative charge of the sky. A strike could be imminent. Stay low and seek shelter. If caught in the open, crouch low. Do not lie on the ground. You are more apt to receive a secondary shock from the ground if lightning strikes near you.
* If someone is struck, they do not contain an electric charge. Provide first aid immediately and be prepared to provide CPR. Call emergency response services.

Questions to Generate Discussion

– When is the best time to seek shelter from a thunderstorm?

– Is it possible to be struck by lightning even when it is sunny?


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Take 5 For Safety – Extending Tire Life

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Extending Tire Life

Modern tires are engineered to be incredibly tough and withstand extreme temperatures and pressures. By taking some time to understand tire care, the life of your tires can be extended.

There are three things that lead to premature tire failure.

Tire Use – How aggressively are you driving? For some industrial vehicles, this may not be applicable; however, for automobiles, semi trailers and forklifts, the way you drive can protect your tires. Avoid hard turns and aggressive starts and stops that can peel away a lot of tread wear.

Tire Pressure

o Low pressure – Under inflated tires flex a great deal during rotation, building up heat. Flexion and heat lead to premature breakdown of the rubber. Under inflation also results in uneven tread wear.

o High pressure – Over inflation will result in the center of the tread bulging outward. Premature center wear can develop.

o High temperatures and low temperatures can affect tire pressure. Be sure to check your tire pressure if there is a significant change in temperature.

Tire Preventive Maintenance – Make sure to rotate tires based on the manufacturer’s recommendations. The more evenly you can wear out the tire, the longer they last. Check your tires for:

o Cracks – Indicates that the tire rubber is degrading from oxidation.

o Bulges – Indicates that the reinforcement belting has broken inside the tire.

o Chips/Gouges – This is an area of weakness that could give out when the tire is placed under high work loading or pressures.

o Tread Wear – Most tires have tread indicators, or wear bars, at intervals between the treads. When the tread is level with the indicator then it’s time to replace the tires. Look for uneven wear. This could mean that the tire is under or over inflated. It could also indicate that the vehicle requires an alignment.

o Tire Pressure – Tires lose air through permeation. On average, a tire will lose one or two pounds of air per month in cool weather, and more during the warmer months. Tire pressure should be checked when cold. Manufacturer pressure recommendations are set on cold tires.

Questions to Generate Discussion

– If a tire does not have a wear bar, what is an alternative way to determine wear?

– How often should tires be rotated?


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