Take 5 For Safety – Sharpen Your Safety Awareness

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Sharpen Your Safety Awareness

Sharp instruments and tools are essential to many kinds of work, but sharp or pointed objects can be hazardous and often cause painful injures. Injuries include cuts, punctures, nicks, and gashes that can lead to serious infections or diseases. These injuries can be prevented through employee training, protective gloves, machine guards, and proper equipment maintenance.

Prevent injuries from sharp objects by taking safety precautions:
* Select the right tool for the job. Use sharp items only as they were designed. Sharpen cutting tools and knives on a regular basis. Dull blades require more force and may be more likely to slip, cutting the handler
* Wear gloves resistant to punctures, cuts, or moisture. Choose gloves based on the hazards normally expected for the task.
* Let falling objects fall. Don’t grab for falling cutting tools, sharp instruments or glassware. Its better to clean up a mess or replace the item rather than risk injury or infection
* Store sharps safety. Take the time to ensure that instruments can be reached easily but pose no threat of injury. Don’t carry loose sharp items in your pocket. Store cutting instruments in drawers or racks when not in use.
* Follow cleanup precautions at all times. Dispose of defective sharps and chipped or cracked glassware properly. Wear gloves, or use a damp towel to pick up broken glass.
* Don’t reach into wastebaskets or disposal containers with bare hands, they could contain broken glass or sharps. Sharp material poking through bags can easily cut unprotected hands or legs. Check disposal bags before lifting to see if they are overloaded or likely to break. Lift plastic bags from their tie-off point and paper bags by their edges whenever possible and hold bags away from the body. Never “bear hug” a bag.
* Make sure guards are in place on machinery with cutting blades.

Improper handling of sharp objects is one of the leading causes of injuries from them. Don’t rush or take shortcuts when handling sharp equipment or tools. Protect yourself and others by handling sharp objects safely.
* Know the risks
* Follow safe handling and disposal procedures
* Report all injuries and get proper medical treatment

Protecting yourself and your co-workers is an important part of your job. The right combination of attitude and action can prevent most injuries from sharp instruments and tools.


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Take 5 For Safety – Sharp and Cutting Tool Safety

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Sharp and Cutting Tool Safety

Hand-held sharp and cutting tools are frequently used in the workplace. The tools range from scissors, razors, saws, and knives to pruners, chisels, and snips. While these tools are very different and can be used for a wide variety of jobs, they have some common hazards and safety precautions. Horseplay should be forbidden around sharp and cutting tools.

Sharp and cutting tools can cause cuts and puncture wounds, if they’re not handled properly. Workers should be trained in the tool manufacturer’s directions for proper use, including how to inspect, maintain, and sharpen the tool. For some tools, workers must wear personal protective equipment such as safety glasses and well-fitting gloves.

In order to choose the right tool for the job, workers should consider not only the job task but the type, hardness, and size of the material on which they’ll be working. Substituting the wrong tool for the job can lead to an accident or injury. Workers should use only quality tools that are sharp and in good condition. If a tool is broken, dull or damaged, it should be tagged as such and taken out of service.

The most important rule to remember about using sharp and cutting tools is to ALWAYS cut away from the body and face. When cutting with one hand, workers should know where their other hand is. If a sharp tool is dropped, workers should be taught not to try to catch it but allow it to fall, making sure that their legs and feet are out of the way.

The safe way to work with a sharp or cutting tool is to concentrate on the task at hand, making straight, even cuts without rocking, prying or twisting the tool. Hammering or applying excessive force or pressure to sharp and cutting tools can cause them to slip. Keep in mind, that some materials or outdoor conditions can also make tools slippery.

Workers need to be careful when transporting and storing sharp tools. Workers should be instructed not to carry a sharp tool in their pocket; to use a sheath, belt or apron; and when there is a pause in work, to hold the tool at their sides but a safe distance from their body. When walking with a sharp tool, the tool should be carried with the blade down and away from the body. When climbing with a sharp tool, tool belts or buckets with hand lines should be used so workers can have both hands to grip the ladder. When passing a sharp or cutting tool to another worker, tools should be passed with the hand first and the blade down; they should never be tossed from one worker to another.

When not in use, sharp or cutting tools should be stored in a sturdy tool box or on a tool rack with the sharp edges suitably covered. Otherwise, they should be placed near the back of work benches to keep handles or blades from extending over the edge.


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Take 5 For Safety – Safety Rules for Power Tools

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Safety Rules for Power Tools

Portable electric power tools are just what their name implies, power tools. Because theyre powerful workers need to be aware of their limitations and potential hazards.

Use and maintain tools with care. Keep them sharp and clean for their best and safest performance. Follow the manufacturers instructions for lubricating and changing tool accessories. Use the right tool for the job. Dont force a small tool or attachment to do the job of a heavy-duty tool. It overstrains the tool and overloads the motor. Keep guards in place and follow lockout/tagout procedures. Unless its designed for it, never use a portable electric tool where there are flammable vapors or gases present.

If the tool is equipped with a three-prong plug, it should be plugged into a three-hold electrical receptacle. If an adapter is used to accommodate it to a two-prong receptacle, the adapter wire must be attached to a known ground. Never remove the third prong.

Keep the cord in good condition. Keep it away from heat, oil, and sharp edges. Never carry a tool by its cord, or yank the cord to disconnect it from a receptacle and never carry a plug-in tool with your finger on the switch. Report any defective or broken plugs and insulation on cords. Take the tool out of service to be repaired or replaced.

The greatest hazard of power tools is electric shock, so make sure the tool is properly grounded before its turned on. Its dangerous to use power tools in damp or wet locations or if the worker is perspiring. Moisture helps electricity flows more easily through the body. Rubber gloves and footwear are recommended when working outdoors where its damp.

Wear proper clothing and personal protective equipment when working with power tools. Loose clothing or jewelry that can get caught in moving parts. Safety glasses or goggles can protect against flying particles or chips from entering the eye. Keep others out of the plane of rotation so they wont be hit by flying particles.

Keep your balance and proper footing when working with power tools, being careful not to overreach. When youve finished with the tool, put it down or store it so that it cant cause an injury to another worker. Keep the work area well lit and clean. Cluttered areas and benches invite accidents.


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Take 5 For Safety – Safety is a Common Language

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Safety is a Common Language

Our companies workforce includes diverse nationalities, ethnicities, and languages. This diversity ensures that a broad range of skills are brought to the workplace; it can also cause challenges, increased injuries, and fatalities when workers speak different languages. There are effective strategies to ensure that safety is the common language in the workplace.

Workers may be afraid they will lose their jobs if they report hazards, injuries, or question authority and the unsafe acts of others. If they are undocumented they may fear retaliation or deportation. Different cultures and viewpoints also affect how workers receive safety messages and training. Try these options to encourage workers to participate in your safety program:
* Emphasize safety leadership and communication, including managerial commitment to workplace safety.
* Educate workers about their rights and the fact that they cannot be retaliated against for reporting safety hazards.
* Involve workers in the process of developing safety policy and training programs to ensure their needs are met.
* Choose supervisors or trainers familiar with each culture and language to customize the messages and delivery so they are properly received.

Employers are required to train employees on the tasks and hazards in the workplace. They must also ensure employees understand safety training because what they see and do fully reinforces that training. Follow these best practices for effective training of all adults in the workplace:
* Provide safety training and materials (http://www.statefundca.com/Home/StaticIndex?id=http://content.statefundca.com//safety/safetymeeting/SafetyMeetingTopics.aspx) in the appropriate language(s).
* Use frequent and focused training, versus longer training sessions with multiple topics.
* Use hands-on exercises and skill drills.
* Use videos (http://www.statefundca.com/Home/StaticIndex?id=http://content.statefundca.com//safety/SafetyVideos.asp) and pictures to teach, versus lecture and written materials.
* Train in small groups with similar spoken languages to make employees more comfortable.
* Provide one-on-one training sessions to demonstrate safety requirements and ensure employees understand these requirements.

Do not send workers to do a job until they prove they have mastered the necessary skills and understand the required safe work practices. Use these techniques to judge the effectiveness of your training:
* Watch your workers—eyes and body language can tell you if employees are confident in their training or skills. Offer more training and practice when needed.
* Have employees demonstrate complex job tasks to ensure they understand the correct procedures.
* Provide safety resources, such as safety data sheets, policies, and standard operating procedures in multiple languages.
* Post hazard symbols and safety signs on hazardous equipment and work areas. Symbols effectively convey essential hazards and warnings to everyone in the workplace. Use them to emphasize training programs, and safe work practices.

Proactive safety efforts such as fitness programs, warm-up exercises, and ergonomic evaluations are examples of positive ways to reduce injury rates. Supervisor and employee language skills can be a proactive investment in workplace if you:
* Provide English lessons to improve the understanding of written policies and work procedures.
* Select supervisors with second language skills who can build a rapport with workers and gain commonly used “key” safety phrases.

All workers bring different viewpoints, culture, language, and skills to the workplace. Planning ahead, customized training, and programs (http://www.statefundca.com/Home/StaticIndex?id=http://content.statefundca.com//employers/NewBusiness/safetycenter/IIPP.asp) specific to employee needs can universally translate to a safer workplace.


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Take 5 For Safety – Safety Data Sheets

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Safety Data Sheet

What is a Safety Data Sheet (SDS)?
A Safety Data Sheet is a document that contains information on the chemical make-up, use, storage, handling, emergency procedures and potential health effects related to a hazardous material. The SDS contains much more information about the material than the label on the container. SDSs are prepared and written by the manufacturer of the material.

What is the purpose of an SDS?
The purpose of an SDS is to inform you of:
* The material’s chemical make-up.
* The material’s physical properties or fast acting health effects that makes it dangerous to handle.
* The level of protective gear you need to wear to work safely with the material.
* The first aid treatment to be provided when someone is exposed to the material.
* The preplanning needed for safely handling spills, fires, and day-to-day operations.
* How to respond to accidents.

What information is on the SDS?
There are 9 categories of information that must be present on an SDS. These are:
* Chemical Identity
* Health Hazard Data
* Manufacturer information
* Precautions for Safe Handling and Use
* Hazardous ingredients
* Exposure controls/personal protection
* Physical and chemical properties
* Fire and Explosion Hazard Data

Reactivity Data
Even with all of the above information on an SDS, it might not have everything you need to know about a material. For example, health hazard information is usually presented in general terms. Your health and safety specialist should be able to help you find more information if it is needed.

Why is an SDS hard to read?
Originally, SDSs were intended to be used by industrial hygienists, chemical engineers and safety professionals. Now, SDSs are used by employers, employees, emergency responders and anyone else requiring information on a material. Some SDSs look very different from others. This is because law specifies the content of the SDS, but the format is left up to the manufacturer of the material.

When would I use an SDS?
You should always know the hazards of a material before you start using it. For most people who work with a material, there are sections of the SDS that are more important than others. You should always read the name of the material, know the hazards, understand the safe handling and storage requirements, and understand what to do in an emergency.

Hazard Communication Standard
SDSs form the cornerstone of this standard. The Hazard Communication standard requires employers to; maintain an inventory of hazardous materials, provide employees training on the potential hazards associated with a material, obtain and maintain SDSs for each material onsite, establish proper methods and types of labels, and inform contractors of the hazards that their employees may be exposed to in their work area.


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Take 5 For Safety – Safety Communications

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Safety Communications

One of the requirements of an Injury and Illness Prevention Program (IIPP) is the section on safety communications. The purpose of this section is to design ways to tell people about the particular safe work practices for your workplace. Merely training people to work safely is not enough.

The way we communicate about safety will influence whether or not people understand and participate in the safety process. Some of the creative ways that you can communicate the importance of safety to your staff include:
* Introducing your safety program during new hire orientations.
* Including examples of safe behaviors in a company newsletter/company-wide communication.
* Posting safety posters throughout your facility.
* Communicating safety tidbits at start-up/staff meeting.

The return on investment (ROI) of effective employee safety programs and communication is significant.
* OSHA estimates that the indirect costs of an injury are 110% to 450% of the direct costs.
* Research also shows that every dollar invested in workplace safety saves three dollars.

Involving Your Team in Safety Communications

Empowering your team to help develop creative ideas on how to communicate your safety program will also go a long way in motivating continued commitment. Employee safety communication is not just communicating rules and policies, it is also about creating a culture of safety to prevent accidents and ill health. Find ways to involve employees in safety programs by:
* Calling for safety committee volunteers as first aid or health and safety representatives.
* Asking employees to submit safety suggestions and ideas for safety campaigns.
* Crafting messages that help change employee beliefs, perceptions, and behaviors by showing them it is worth the extra effort to work safely.

Help create an atmosphere that fosters safety as second nature—every employee that works safely as a result of effective safety communication makes a difference.


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Take 5 For Safety – Safety Audits

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Safety Audits

Periodic workplace safety audits prevent injuries and accidents. Audits are important to effective safety management as a continuous process of workplace safety planning, analysis, and correction when needed.

Most injuries in the workplace occur due to unsafe behaviors rather than unsafe conditions. Audits focus on safety programs and behaviors while safety inspections focus on the facility, equipment, and tools. Audits help analyze employee behavior and their understanding and compliance with safety procedures and programs.

Safety audits may be scheduled or unannounced. The safety audit team can include management, supervisors/leads, project teams, and even employee committees. Conduct audits wherever employees work, such as group/team work areas, individual workspaces, in the office, facility, or field locations.

Audits include observations of employee working habits doing a variety of job tasks. Auditors walk through the workplace focusing on given job tasks and observe employee behaviors. Are employees following procedures such as conducting grounding and lockout/tagout? Are they wearing required personal protective equipment? Are they lifting properly and following good ergonomics? Include immediate feedback to employees during your audit: praise safe work behaviors and provide guidance and correction for unsafe acts.

Audits review safety programs, policies, and procedures to check that they cover employee job tasks and hazards. If the policies are not adequate or too complex, new procedures should be written. Audit the employee training program, ensuring that it prepares employees for their job tasks by providing compliance training and specific training for higher hazard or complex job tasks.

Include a way to document observations and recommended corrective items in a safety audit. Assign follow up corrective actions and present findings to a responsible individual or management team. Communicate the results of your audit with employees. This includes the positive observed behaviors, observations that required improvement, and information on what corrective actions were taken.


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Take 5 For Safety – Safely Handling of Electronic Waste

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Safely Handling of Electronic Waste

Electronics are now as much a part of our daily lives as any other consumer product. As each new product comes to the market, our old electronics, spent batteries, and other accessories become electronic waste (e-waste), and head to the waste pile.

Most companies have an area to stockpile equipment and supplies before final disposal. Some companies and public entities even specialize in handling e-waste for re-use and recycling. There are risks to handling e-waste, including physical injuries due to lifting, cuts from sharps, and exposure to hazardous dusts and chemicals that can pose health effects. To minimize injury, it is important to learn how to store, handle, and process e-waste safely.

The first concern with e-waste is potential exposure to chemical dusts and vapors, if the products are damaged or broken apart. Exposures to lead, mercury, cadmium, beryllium, and flame retardant compounds pose both short and long-term health effects. The risks include damage to the nervous system, reproductive system, birth defects, lung disease, and thyroid problems. In particular, use extra caution with the following equipment types and hazards:

Lead Dust

Mercury Vapor

Cadmium Dust

Beryllium Dust

Flame Retardant Dust

Cathode Ray Tubes
Circuit Boards

Fluorescent Tubes

Ni-Cad Batteries
Circuit Boards
Cathode Ray Tubes

Circuit Boards

Plastic Cases and Parts

Always wear your Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) when you work with e-waste:
* Sturdy work gloves protect your hands from cuts and scrapes while you move and store equipment.
* Chemical-resistant disposable gloves prevent skin contact with harmful dusts and chemicals.
* Safety glasses prevent dust and flying objects from damaging your eyes.
* Coveralls protect your skin and clothing.
* Sturdy work boots protect your feet from sharp punctures and heavy objects that might crush your toes.
* Consider using a respirator, depending on the area ventilation and type of operation, to protect against harmful dusts and fumes.

Minimize e-waste dust in the workplace by using good housekeeping practices. Keep the work area clean by storing items properly to minimize breakage or leaking; store batteries in sealed plastic containers and keep equipment neatly stacked or in boxes. Use wet-wipe/wet-mop methods or a vacuum with a High-Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filter to clean equipment and storage areas. Avoid using brooms that can stir up dust into the air. Don’t touch broken glass with your bare hands; be sure to wear gloves and use tools to pick up and dispose of sharp glass and metal.

Use good hygiene practices after you have handled e-waste. Always wash your hands before eating or drinking so that you do not potentially ingest hazardous dusts or chemicals. Change clothes and shower to remove dusts from your hair, skin, and clothing. Change your shoes or leave them outside so that you don’t track contaminants into the office, car or home.

Use good body postures and lifting techniques when you are working with e-waste. Use carts, dollies, and boxes with handles to move equipment. If you have to lift electronic components, use your leg muscles and keep your back straight. When possible, store materials between shoulder and knee heights to prevent strains caused from reaching too high or too low.

Be sure to review all state and federal laws regarding the handling and disposal of e-waste and other toxic substances. By learning about the types of e-waste and hazards you handle, and by using safe work practices, good housekeeping, and proper storage and handling techniques, you can stay safe and prevent injury while working with e-waste.


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Take 5 For Safety – Personal Protective Equipment

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Personal Protective Equipment – Dressed for Protection

One way to prevent injury at work is to wear proper personal protective gear. Some protective equipment is necessary for specific jobs, while other items are necessary for any work. Employers should know the hazards their workers face on the job, then provide the proper equipment to protect against those hazards. It’s important that workers be trained on how to use and care for the equipment so it will provide maximum protection.

Hard hats should be worn by all workers where there is a danger of flying, falling, and moving objects. Hard hats can mean the difference between life and death. A bolt, rivet or tool dropped through a floor opening can hit a worker below with great force and cause serious injury.

Safety boots with metal toe-caps protect the feet of the worker who handles heavy loads or who works around moving equipment. Rubber boots with hard toes and puncture-proof inner soles protect the feet and legs of those who work with wet concrete. Kneepads protect cement finishers and others who work on their knees for long periods.

Eyes can be damaged from chemical splashes, dust or flying particles. Protect eyes by wearing approved goggles or face shields. A pair of eyes are not for gambling. Wear eye protection when working around chemicals, while cutting material, when using power equipment and when spraying or sanding.

For some jobs, respirators are necessary to prevent noise and throat irritation or to prevent ingesting dangerous chemicals or vapors. The type of respirator to use depends on the nature of the work. Respirators should be worn when there will be a lot of dust, vapors or gases emitted into the air.

Even if the job will only take a few minutes, that’s all it would take for a chemical or fragment to fly into an unprotected eye or a heavy object to fall on an unprotected head or foot. Wearing appropriate personal protective gear will greatly lessen a worker’s chance of injury on the job.


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Take 5 For Safety – Safe Lifting Techniques

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Safe Lifting Techniques

Back injuries account for about one in every five job-related injuries in California workplaces. Disabling back injuries are no laughing matter for workers who lose time from work or from personal activities. The sad truth is that most of the pain and lost time can been prevented if you are aware of how the back functions and how to lift safely to protect your back.

The back is a network of fragile ligaments, discs, and muscles which can easily be thrown out of order. The back’s complex design breaks down when it’s forced to perform activities it was not designed to do. Lifting with the back twisted or bent just begs for a pulled muscle or ruptured disc. One sure way to risk injuring the back is to lift heavy or bulky loads improperly or unassisted. Never be afraid to ask for help with loads that you know you cannot lift safely. Lift with good sense and a little extra help from a co-worker or mechanical aid when necessary.

If you decide you are capable of lifting a light load, make sure you lift correctly.
* Move in so that your feet are close to the base of the object to be lifted.
* Face the object squarely. Bend your knees and squat over the item to be lifted. In this position, the back gets added lifting strength and power from the legs and arms.
* Move up close to the item, because the backbone must act as a supporting column, and it takes the least strain close in.
* Tilt the item on edge with its long axis straight up so that the center of the weight is as high as possible above the ground.
* Still squatting, the legs should be set with feet pointed right at the load. With the back straightened, the worker may then grasp the load with both arms and slowly stand up with it, pushing up with the leg muscles. If you can’t lift slowly, you can’t lift safely.

A good way to learn the right from the wrong way to lift is to practice lifting correctly a few times. You will notice that the correct way to lift is the easiest way to lift the load, with the least strain and awkwardness. To lift the wrong way will, over time, cause injury and pain. The back can be damaged quickly but can take a long time to heal.


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