Take 5 For Safety – Foot Safety – It’s a Shoe In for Safety

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Foot Safety – It’s a Shoe in for Safety

The foot is something that doesn’t get much attention unless there is a problem. Therefore, to avoid possible injury, it’s important to think about safeguarding the foot before undertaking any job.

Workers may be exposed to various hazardous conditions on the job, including slippery surfaces, climbing hazards, handling or working around heavy equipment and machinery and working around electricity. These different working conditions may require different safety footwear to protect the foot–and the worker–from injury.

When choosing safety footwear, you must select the legally approved shoe or boot required for the job activity, equipment, and situation. Some situations may require metal-toed boots to protect the top part of the foot. These steel-toed shoes provide extra protection over the top of the foot and can make a difference in preventing an injury in an accident.

Safety shoes or boots with impact protection should be worn when workers carry or handle materials such as heavy packages, objects, parts or tools and for other activities where objects may fall onto the foot. Workers should be required to wear safety shoes or boots with impact protection when their work involves wheeling carts that carry heavy materials; handling heavy, bulky tools (paper, fabric, carpet, lumber etc.); working around heavy pipes or in situations where a heavy object may roll over a worker’s foot.

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Take 5 For Safety – Give Jacks, Lifts and Hoist the High Safety Priorty They Deserve

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Give Jacks, Lifts, and Hoists the High Safety Priority They Deserve

Each year serious injuries and deaths occur in the workplace as a result of unsafe use of jacks, stands, lifts, and hoists. Although safety responsibility for these devices must be shared between employer and employee, the ultimate responsibility for safety lies with the individual worker. Even where there is close supervision, the worker makes the final decision on how to do the job.

Jacks

Workers must select a jack with the rated lifting capacity that equals or exceeds the load it will support. Jacks must be placed on a firm, level surface perpendicular to the load in order to work efficientially. If the jack slips out from under a load, workers may not have enough time to get out of the way, so adjustable stands or other substantial support should also be placed underneath the load so that it will not fall if the jack slips or fails. It should be clear to workers that they should never enter beneath or work under a load that is supported only by jacks. If a jack is bent or defective, it should be tagged and removed from service.

Hoists

Only workers who have been trained in the proper use of hoists should be allowed to operate them. The lifting capacity of the hoist must be clearly marked and visible to the operator, and cage-controlled hoists must be equipped with effective warning devices. Before operation, operators should check that the hoist chains or ropes are of sufficient strength and length to safely lift or otherwise handle the load. On a chain hoist, they should make sure the hook has a safety clip so that if the chain is given slack the hook won’t come loose. The oil level on hydraulic hoists should also be periodically checked. Operators should understand that they are prohibited from carrying loads over people, and any hoist malfunction should be reported to their supervisor immediately.

Lifts

Lifts should be marked with the name of the manufacturer, the approval number issued by the Division of Industrial Safety or statement of compliance with ANSI B153.1-1974 (or if manufactured after 8/17/94, compliance with ANSI B153.1-1990), and date of installation. No one should be inside a vehicle that will be lifted and workers should stand to one side as the lift operates, making sure the doors, hood, and trunk of the vehicle are closed before the lift. The load should rest squarely on the lift and not overload the lift’s capacity. The floor under the lift should be free of oil or grease to prevent slipping hazards. Oil levels on hydraulic lifts should be checked periodically and lifts removed from service if there are any indications of malfunctioning.

Many accidents don’t just happen, they’re caused by unsafe work practices or taking chances. Give jacks, stands, lifts, and hoists the high safety priority they deserve.

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Take 5 For Safety – How Workers Get Hurt

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How Workers Get Hurt

Accidents can happen anywhere and at any time. Many workplace accidents and injuries can be prevented if workers know the causes of accidents and they are taught how to protect themselves to avoid injury. Although no one wants to get hurt at work, there are four major sources of injury on the job.

Overload
The number one cause of on-the-job injuries is physical overload. These injuries, usually to the back, are caused by lifting (too heavy a load or lifting improperly), straining, overreaching, bending, and twisting. To protect your back against injury from overload, learn and use proper lifting techniques, never bend or twist while lifting or carrying, and whenever possible, use a mechanical aid or get help with the load from another worker.

Hitting or striking
The second most common cause of worker injury is being hit by or hitting against an object. The best way to protect against these accidents is to be alert to the potential hazards and to use appropriate protective equipment (hard hats, eye protection, gloves). Be aware of your body and the space around you. Give yourself enough clearance when passing by or ducking under equipment or going through a passageway.

Falls
To avoid injuries from falls, be sure that your footing is firm and wear slip-resistant soled shoes. Watch where you’re walking. Don’t walk backward to direct equipment or leap from one level to another. Make sure you can see over the load you carry and that walkways are well-lighted and clear of obstacles. Clean up spills or grease spots and use handrails when walking on stairs.

Machine Accidents
The fourth major cause of on-the-job injury is machine-related accidents, that is, getting caught by moving machine parts. When working around any moving equipment (a machine that rotates, slides, or presses) always use safety shields, guards, and lock-out procedures. Work only on a machine that you have been trained to use. Never wear jewelry or loose-fitting clothing that could get caught in the moving equipment.

Be alert to the hazards you face on your job and learn what you should do to protect yourself against accidents and injuries and follow your company’s established safety guidelines.

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Take 5 For Safety – Insect & Spider Bites

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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 and brown recluse are considered serious threats. The black widow has a shiny black body, about the size of a pea. With legs extended, it’s about an inch long. Females have a red or yellow hourglass mark on their underside. The black widow spider is partial to outdoor latrines and other places that attract flies. The black widow spider will attack with even the slightest provocation. Its bite is less painful than a pinprick, and does not cause a hole in the skin, but soon, intense pain and stiffness set in. Symptoms also may include fever, nausea, abdominal pain and chills. For children and the elderly, black widow bites can be lethal.

Also beware of the brown recluse spider. When it comes to insect bites, the bite of the brown recluse spider is one of the most feared. This yellowish-tan to dark brown spider is 1/4-1/2 inch long. It has a characteristic fiddle-shaped mark on its upper body. Its bite can have painful, disfiguring, and even deadly results. Within hours of a bite, victims may suffer severe pain and stiffness, fever, weakness, vomiting or a rash. The recluse’s venom destroys cells and clots blood, blocking blood vessels and leading to gangrene. Within 24 hours, the wound erupts into an open sore ranging from the size of a thumbnail to that of an adult’s hand. Anyone bitten by either spider should seek medical help immediately.

Experts say, spiders typically don’t go looking for human prey. Spiders are generally shy and try to avoid contact with humans. Leave them to their dark, secluded spaces – under rocks, in debris piles, sheds, closets and attics, and there’s no worry. Invade their space, though, and risk a bite. Spiders will attack if trapped or if pressed against the skin.

Not all people react the same way to these spider bites. The variation may be due to the amount of venom injected or the person’s physiology or immune system. The first line of treatment if you suspect a bite is to apply a cold compress. However, if you have a bite and experience other side effects, get medical treatment immediately.

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Take 5 For Safety – Saws/Grinders – Portable Abrasive Saws & Grinders

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Saws/Grinders – Portable Abrasive Saws & Grinders

Many workers have been near an operating portable abrasive saw or grinder without ever realizing their danger. Personal safety can be endangered by several functions of this type of machinery – by the power source, blade, or wheel or from a disk failure or hazard from flying or airborne particles.

Before use, tools, cords and accessories should be inspected to insure safe operation. The equipment operator should be protected from electrocution by a ground-fault circuit interrupter or an assured equipment grounding conductor program. No one should ever be permitted to use an electrical tool in wet or damp areas. Operators of compressed air and hydraulically operated tools should make certain that supply pressure does not exceed the tool manufacturer’s recommendations. Excessive pressure can rupture hoses, damage tools, and increase operating speed beyond safe limits.

Some abrasive saws are gasoline powered and should only be used in well ventilated areas. Operators of gasoline powered equipment should comply with all flammable liquid storage or transportation guidelines, and follow applicable regulations.

Here are some blade, wheel and disk tips worth remembering:
* Never use an unguarded tool
* Never force a blade, wheel or disk onto a tool
* Never use a blade, wheel or disk that has been dropped or otherwise damaged
* Never use excessive tool force
* Never stand in front of an operating tool
* Never exceed the safe maximum operating speed marked on the blade, wheel or disk

Workers should also be aware of the airborne health hazards which can come from abrasives and bonders in blades, wheels, or disks and also from the materials on which the saws and grinders are used. They should be instructed in the use of any personal protective equipment, including face or eye shields and respirators, necessary to protect them from physical or airborne hazards when working with or around portable abrasive saws and grinders.

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Take 5 For Safety – Be An Extra-Safe Driver

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Be An Extra-Safe Driver

Those who drive for a living would be the first to agree it can be mighty dangerous out there on the nation’s crowded roads. Although the common factors of inexperience, recklessness, and aggressive driving contribute to many vehicle accidents, it doesn’t explain why so many professional drivers get into accidents. A driver may be trained, experienced, and competent behind the wheel, but the very flood of vehicles competing for space on the roads today presents added danger to all drivers. Even the very best drivers must learn to operate their vehicles with life-saving EXTRAS.

Drivers should take extra care with maintenance by keeping their vehicles in good operating condition. Before getting behind the wheel, do a simple walk around the vehicle to insure that tires are properly inflated and have good tread, check that lights are clear and working, and see that windshields are clean and wipers blades are sharp.

Once inside the vehicle, drivers should take the extra time to check the gas gage, adjust the mirrors, seat, and seatbelt to a comfortable position and, if it’s an unfamiliar vehicle, locate the lights, brakes, and wipers. Horns, flasher lights, and other warning devices are not just accessories but vital parts of the extra safety built into any vehicle, so make sure they operate properly.

On the roadways, be extra careful by driving defensively. Following the rules of the road can help you concentrate on what you should be doing…driving. Stay out of the other vehicle’s blind spot and avoid tailgating. Instead, keep a safe distance from other drivers by maintaining that extra safety cushion of driving space between your vehicle and those around you. Three full seconds between you and the vehicle ahead of you is considered safe under most conditions. Obviously, you must keep alert to the condition of the weather and road, and drive only as fast as those conditions allow.

Be extra cautious by staying alert and expecting the unexpected. Watch out for and anticipate other drivers, pedestrians or children on or near the road. Safe drivers scan constantly for hazards, predicting how they may be affected by a hazard and pre-determining how to avoid or reduce it.

The ever-changing variable of the road and other vehicles can make drivers instantly vulnerable to accidents. If drivers don’t practice these life-saving extras on the road, they might personally discover why vehicle deaths and serious injuries now total more than all the wartime wounded and fatalities since 1776.

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Take 5 For Safety – Prevent Injuries From Falling Objects

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Prevent Injuries From Falling Objects

Objects falling from above and striking people below have caused serious industrial injuries and account for a number of fatalities every year. Although the exact number of “falling object” injuries is difficult to determine, documents produced in several recent court cases suggest that the practice of “high stacking” materials and supplies poses a serious safety threat to those below.

Provide Adequate Warning – Workers or customers below depend on those working above for their safety. If you’re going to be doing work overhead, warn those in the area either verbally or with signs, ropes or barricades. For those below, it’s their responsibility to be aware of the work being done overhead and observe the warnings and barricades.

Secure The Load – If you’ll be lifting a load to a higher level, make sure the load is balanced and secured so it won’t slip off. Restraints such as nylon strapping bands can be used to secure overhead goods. In some cases, merchandise to be stacked on top of racks can be shrink-wrapped in plastic to provide stability and keep loose boxes and other items from falling. If using plastic wrap, remember that the plastic may stretch because of the high heat at the top of the racks and may cause the load to shift. Another safety precaution is to provide netting on stored items or restraining bars to keep the load in place. If you’re placing a load on a scaffold or platform, make sure there are guard rails or toe boards to prevent material from fall off.

Moving A Load – Never lift, lower or swing a load over anyone’s head! Block off areas where loads are being lifted or lowered. Have a “spotter” in the adjoining aisle where items might be pushed off racks or platforms during moving or stacking of materials. If possible, restrict these stacking and heavy moving operations to hours when fewer people are present.

Practice Good Housekeeping – Keep tools and other materials away from edges and off of railings or sills. Stack them on a flat surface; crosstie or cover them, if necessary, to keep them in place. If you’re working overhead, watch that you don’t kick, throw or sweep material off that could fall on anyone below.

Whenever there’s a risk of falling objects at a worksite, an employer is required to provide protection for workers and visitors to the site. Hard hats and safety shoes are examples of personal protection against falling objects.

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Take 5 For Safety – Working Against Violence

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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 those involving contact with the public, working in late or early hours or in high crime areas, exchanging money, and delivering goods or services. High-stress jobs and jobs in which the worker is alone or in a small group also carry a risk of violence.

Initiate safety measures. Increase security with alarms, closed-circuit cameras or guards. Lock doors to limit public access. Increase visibility with lighted entrances and exists. Shields worker with windows, partitions or high and wide counters. Alter cash handling policies or install drop safes. Arrange furniture so workers can’t be trapped by an attacker. Remove potential weapons from desktops (scissors, staplers, and paperweights).

Hire responsibly. No one should be hired without a reference check.

Clearly communicate company policy about violence and reprisals. Employee manuals should clearly explain what behavior is acceptable, what is not, and what will be done by whom, if violence occurs. It should contain written criteria for reporting incidents and repercussions if an incident occurs. Employer response should be predictable and consistent.

Create clear levels of authority and procedures for dealing with the risk of and response to violence in advance. If a threat of violence is identified, potential victims or targets should be alerted along with others who may be affected, such as supervisors or front office personnel.

Train workers to recognize early signs of potential violence. The most commonly mentioned warning signs are: a history of violent behavior, an obsession with weapons, carrying a concealed weapon, verbal threats of harm, being paranoid, being a loner, obsessive involvement with the job, holding a grudge, workplace physical actions, bizarre comments or expressing extreme desperation over recent family, financial or personal problems. Employees should take all threats seriously and report any bizarre or suspicious behavior.

Give workers training in nonviolent response techniques and conflict resolution, to reduce the risk of volatile situations leading to physical violence. Training should also be given in how to respond to a violent situation.

Workplace violence takes a toll on both employers and employees. It affects not only those assaulted, but also those who are witnesses. It can negatively affect the future reputation of a business.

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Take 5 For Safety – Crane Safety – Don’t Get Caught in the Crush

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Crane Safety – Don’t Get Caught in the Crush

Crushing accidents occur when the body or any part of the body is squeezed between two moving objects or caught between one moving and one stationary object. Minor crushing accidents can cost workers in many ways, in pain, disability, and the loss of a job. Major crushing accidents can even cost a life.

There are some simple things workers can do to lessen their chance of experiencing crushing injuries. The first and most important thing is for workers to know when they are placing themselves or any of their body parts in a situation of possible injury.

Workers must always be aware of where they are in relation to moving equipment around them. When in these situations, workers must allow enough room to compensate for equipment failure or operator error. Workers should stay within the equipment operator’s vision at all times.

Workers should make it their business to stay out from under any load to avoid the possibility of being crushed from above. “If it’s in the air, it’s dangerous.” Employers should never permit a load to be raised, lowered, or swung over a worker’s head. It is also the workers’ responsibility to shut-off, lock-out, or tag-out all energy sources, and to test to assure that they are dead, BEFORE attempting to work on or clear equipment capable of any movement or activation.

Workers are the most important pieces of equipment in the workplace; make sure they are kept safe and in good operating condition.

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Take 5 For Safety – Practice Good Housekeeping

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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 reduces the chances of disease and fire as well as slips, trips, and falls. Accumulated debris can cause fires, and clutter slows movement of personnel and equipment during fires.

Other housekeeping practices include keeping tools and equipment clean and in good shape or keeping hoses and cables or wires bundled when not in use. Broken glass should be picked up immediately with a broom and dustpan, never with bare hands. Be aware of open cabinet drawers, electric wires, sharp corners or protruding nails. Either correct the unsafe condition if you are able and it is safe to do so, or notify the person responsible for overall maintenance that something should be done.

How a workplace looks makes an impression on employees and visitors alike. A visitor’s first impression of a business is important because that image affects the amount of business it does. Good housekeeping goes hand-in-hand with good public relations. It projects order, care, and pride.

Besides preventing accidents and injuries, good housekeeping saves space, time, and materials. When a workplace is clean, orderly, and free of obstruction; work can get done safely and properly. Workers feel better, think better, do better work, and increase the quantity and quality of their work.

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