Take 5 For Safety – Eye Protection

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Eye Protection

The most common eye hazards are flying particles, a hazard typical of many machine operations such as grinding, sawing, welding, and so on. Dusts, sparks, fumes, and splashes can all cause eye injuries unless we wear the appropriate protective eyewear.
When choosing “safety glasses” the primary consideration is to ensure that the glasses provide necessary impact protection and that they meet or exceed the ANSI Z87.1-1989 standard. Both frame and lens must meet this standard. The idea is to prevent flying and splashing objects from penetrating the lens or entering your eye. Damage to your sight is nothing to fool around with. Here are some common questions most often heard regarding safety and sun glasses:
* Why do I need to have my glasses meet the ANSI Z87.1-1989 standard? What about using sun glasses that claim they provide impact protection from a shotgun blast? They cost a lot more that those safety glasses… they must be safe. These glasses may provide impact protection but have never gone through the testing rigors of approved safety glasses. Without official tests being done, you cannot ensure that they will provide the maximum protection. Always look for an ANSI Z87.1-1989 stamp on the glasses.
* But my dark glasses help protect my eyes from the sun, don’t they? That may be true if the glasses have ultraviolet (UV) and infrared (IR ) protection-radiation which constitutes the two invisible ends of the electromagnetic spectrum. In fact, if the dark glasses do not provide UV and IR protection, they may be causing more damage than you know. Dark lenses allow the pupil to dilate (open) and let more light into the eye. This increases the exposure to harmful radiation if your eyewear doesn’t filter it out.
When working out in the sun for any length of time, you may want to select glasses that provide both (UV) and (IR) protection. Overexposure to UV radiation from welding arcs can cause “welders’ flash” while IR overexposure can cause thermal damage to the eyes resulting in cataracts and other eye problems. High doses of UV and IR radiation, such as from welding operations, can even cause partial or total blindness.
* What if I work both inside buildings and out of doors? You may need two pairs of approved safety glasses if your work requires eye protection–one with a clear lens and the other with dark lens. Again, look for the ANSI Z87.1-1987 stamp. You may also want UV protection for your clear safety glasses if you wear them while working in the sunlight.
* Can I use my dark safety glasses for welding, cutting or brazing operations? Unless they are specifically rated to use during those operations, this is never advisable. You need glasses with adequate, appropriate shading when you weld, cut or braze.

The use of correct eye protection is not only a matter of jobsite safety regulations. It is a very personal matter because it involves your children, spouse and relatives–as well as friends and co-workers. Will they have time to take care of you if you lose your eye-sight? Would you want them to?

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Take 5 For Safety – A Single Second

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A Single Second

* It takes a minute to write a safety rule.
* It takes an hour to hold a safety meeting.
* It takes a week to plan a good safety program.
* It takes a month to put that program into operation.
* It takes a year to win a safety award.
* It takes a lifetime to make a safe worker.
* But it takes only a second to destroy it all – with one accident.

A Positive Attitude
Humans instinctively seek to avoid pain and death. And yet, we may behave in a manner that is a threat to our well-being. There are a couple of reasons why this occurs. The first is lack of knowledge. What you do not know, can hurt you!. The second reason we may act in a risky manner is attitude. Now might be a good time to do a quick self-analysis. What is your attitude toward safety?
When asked, some may say they are all for it. Others may complain about any safety effort being made. The difference between the two is one of attitude. Your attitude affects almost all that you do and how you do it.
Have you ever noticed that people who are successful in life, or are just happy, tend to have a positive attitude? And so it is with safety. Look at it this way. . . safety rules and procedures are written to protect you from harm. They are not written to make your work life more uncomfortable or inconvenient. After all, safety equipment and training costs your employer additional up front money.

If you cooperate in safety matters, not only is there a lesser likelihood of you getting hurt, you will not be doing battle with the boss who is just trying to do his job by enforcing the safety rules. In addition, you should feel more confident on the job knowing you have a better chance of making it thorough the day without injury. Less fear of injury and the boss no longer on your back has to brighten your day!

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Take 5 For Safety – Back Injury Prevention

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Back Injury Prevention

There are approximately 400,000 back injuries each year. They are the leading source of lost time injuries and cost billions of dollars annually, not to mention the hours, days, or even months of disabling pain. In construction work, material is constantly being moved or lifted, and most often the lifter is one of you! This makes learning and practicing the basics of back safety extremely important.

1. Get as close to the load as possible. The further the load is from the centerline of your body, the greater the strain imposed on your back. If need be, squat down to lift the load and pull it between your legs. This gets it closer to the center of your body and helps prevent the need to bend at the waist. However, since your leg muscles are the largest muscles in your body, they are the biggest energy consumers. Repeated squatting can be very fatiguing, and reduces a person’s ability to lift in this manner for any length of time. In addition to lifting the load, you are also hoisting the majority of your body weight. For repeated lifting, other strategies must be used.
2. Avoid picking up heavy objects placed below your knees. Try to see that heavy objects are placed and stored above knee level and below shoulder level. If you suspect the load is too heavy to be lifted comfortably, do not chance it. Use a mechanical aid, break the load down into its component parts, or get help. The most common cause of back injury is overloading.
3. Keep your back straight. This means don’t bend at the waist when reaching to lift an object. Keep the natural arch in your lower back, which distributes the load evenly over the surface of spinal disks, and is less stressful than if the disk is pinched between vertebras. Bending principally from the hips is acceptable if you maintain the arch in your back, rather than bending at the waist.
4. Glue your hand to your thigh. If you carry a load in one hand, such as when carrying a toolbox, place your free hand on the outside of your thigh and mentally “glue” it into position. This will help you maintain correct back alignment rather than lifting and tilting to one side. When carrying a heavy load, side bending can be just as stressful to the spine as bending forward.
5. Tighten your stomach muscles. This technique helps prevent your spine from twisting. If you lift a load and need to place it off to one side, turn by moving your feet. After repeated lifts you might find yourself getting a bit sloppy and forgetting to move your feet. You can overcome this tendency if the place you set the load down is at least one step away from where it is lifted. If you wear a back support belt, wear it low on your trunk and loosen it when you are not lifting.
6. Stay in good physical condition. A protruding stomach is an extra load carried away from the centerline of the body, and prevents you from keeping a lifted object close-the number one rule for back care. When you bend at the waist to lift, due to the leverage principal, the load is up to 10 times heavier than its actual weight. A “pot belly” puts extra, stressful weight on the spine.
7. Stretch and loosen up before work. Research has shown that trunk flexibility and mobility is significantly lower in the morning than later in the day, increasing the number and severity of back strains at this time. A few minutes of stretching can warm up cold stiff muscles and tendons and help you avoid an injury. All professional athletes know this-“construction athletes” should too!

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Take 5 For Safety – The Ten Commandments of Good Safety Habits

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The Ten Commandments of Good Safety Habits

In most everything we do, we find a “trick” to make the process easier and faster. After we develop these tricks, they become work habits in our everyday activities. Developing everyday safety habits can keep you injury free through the year.

Here are ten safety habits to live by:

1. Set Your Own Standards. Don’t be influenced by others around you who are negative. If you fail to wear safety glasses because others don’t, remember the blindness you may suffer will be yours alone to live with.

2. Operate Equipment Only if Qualified. Your supervisor may not realize you have never done the job before. You have the responsibility to let your supervisor know, so the necessary training can be provided.

3. Respect Machinery. If you put something in a machine’s way, it will crush it, pinch it or cut it. Make sure all guards are in place. Never hurry beyond your ability to think and act safely. Remember to de-energize the power first before placing your hands in a point of operation.

4. Use Your Own Initiative for Safety Protection. You are in the best position to see problems when they arise. Ask for the personal protective equipment or additional guidance you need.

5. Ask Questions. If you are uncertain, ask. Do not accept answers that contain, “I think, I assume, I guess.” Be sure.

6. Use Care and Caution When Lifting. Most muscle and spinal injuries are from overstrain. Know your limits. Do not attempt to exceed them. The few minutes it takes to get help will prevent weeks of being off work and in pain.

7. Practice Good Housekeeping. Disorganized work areas are the breeding grounds for accidents. You may not be the only victim. Don’t be a cause.

8. Wear Proper and Sensible Work Clothes. Wear sturdy and appropriate footwear. These should enclose the foot fully. Avoid loose clothing, dangling jewelry, and be sure that long hair is tied back and cannot become entangled in the machinery.

9. Practice Good Personal Cleanliness. Avoid touching eyes, face, and mouth with gloves or hands that are dirty. Wash well and use barrier creams when necessary. Most industrial rashes are the result of poor hygiene practices.

10. Be a Positive Part of the Safety Team. Willingly accept and follow safety rules. Encourage others to do so. Your attitude can play a major role in the prevention of accidents and injuries.

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Take 5 For Safety – Workplace Fires

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Workplace Fires

The potential for fire is present in any workplace. But, if you’re aware of the causes and conditions, if you’re prepared, and if you think before you act, the risk of a workplace fire and its damaging effects – on you, your co-workers or your company – can be minimized.

Following good housekeeping practices is crucial to fire prevention. That means keep heating and electrical equipment clean, clear, and in good repair; regularly clean ducts and fume hood filters; keep ovens and ranges clean and free of spilled fats, sugar, sauces, etc.; keep paper products, aerosols, and other flammable materials away from heating elements; and store flammable liquids away from heat sources, exits or escape routes. To avoid electrically-caused fires, check, replace or have professionally fixed any appliance with frayed or loose cords and wires or cords that get hot during use. Avoid running cords or wires under rugs and carpets or near a heat source; and keep them out of doorways where they can become worn.

Ensure that fire protection equipment (i.e., sprinklers, smoke/heat detectors, alarms, fire hoses, fire extinguishers, and fire blankets) are maintained, available for use, and not impaired or concealed. Make sure fire extinguishers correspond to the potential risk. Know where they’re located and how to use them.

Besides training in fire prevention and protection, make sure you understand company emergency communication and evacuation procedures. Know the location of fire alarms and the telephone numbers for emergency response personnel. Report a fire, even if it seems minor. Fire fighters would rather arrive and find nothing to do than be called after it’s too late to save individuals or property. Keep in mind that all workers are responsible for preventing fires, but not everyone is expected to fight major fires. Fire fighting is best handled by trained professionals.
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Take 5 For Safety – Workplace Fires

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Workplace Fires

The potential for fire is present in any workplace. But, if you’re aware of the causes and conditions, if you’re prepared, and if you think before you act, the risk of a workplace fire and its damaging effects – on you, your co-workers or your company – can be minimized.

Following good housekeeping practices is crucial to fire prevention. That means keep heating and electrical equipment clean, clear, and in good repair; regularly clean ducts and fume hood filters; keep ovens and ranges clean and free of spilled fats, sugar, sauces, etc.; keep paper products, aerosols, and other flammable materials away from heating elements; and store flammable liquids away from heat sources, exits or escape routes. To avoid electrically-caused fires, check, replace or have professionally fixed any appliance with frayed or loose cords and wires or cords that get hot during use. Avoid running cords or wires under rugs and carpets or near a heat source; and keep them out of doorways where they can become worn.

Ensure that fire protection equipment (i.e., sprinklers, smoke/heat detectors, alarms, fire hoses, fire extinguishers, and fire blankets) are maintained, available for use, and not impaired or concealed. Make sure fire extinguishers correspond to the potential risk. Know where they’re located and how to use them.

Besides training in fire prevention and protection, make sure you understand company emergency communication and evacuation procedures. Know the location of fire alarms and the telephone numbers for emergency response personnel. Report a fire, even if it seems minor. Fire fighters would rather arrive and find nothing to do than be called after it’s too late to save individuals or property. Keep in mind that all workers are responsible for preventing fires, but not everyone is expected to fight major fires. Fire fighting is best handled by trained professionals.

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Take 5 For Safety – Workplace Fires

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Workplace Fires

The potential for fire is present in any workplace. But, if you’re aware of the causes and conditions, if you’re prepared, and if you think before you act, the risk of a workplace fire and its damaging effects – on you, your co-workers or your company – can be minimized.

Following good housekeeping practices is crucial to fire prevention. That means keep heating and electrical equipment clean, clear, and in good repair; regularly clean ducts and fume hood filters; keep ovens and ranges clean and free of spilled fats, sugar, sauces, etc.; keep paper products, aerosols, and other flammable materials away from heating elements; and store flammable liquids away from heat sources, exits or escape routes. To avoid electrically-caused fires, check, replace or have professionally fixed any appliance with frayed or loose cords and wires or cords that get hot during use. Avoid running cords or wires under rugs and carpets or near a heat source; and keep them out of doorways where they can become worn.

Ensure that fire protection equipment (i.e., sprinklers, smoke/heat detectors, alarms, fire hoses, fire extinguishers, and fire blankets) are maintained, available for use, and not impaired or concealed. Make sure fire extinguishers correspond to the potential risk. Know where they’re located and how to use them.

Besides training in fire prevention and protection, make sure you understand company emergency communication and evacuation procedures. Know the location of fire alarms and the telephone numbers for emergency response personnel. Report a fire, even if it seems minor. Fire fighters would rather arrive and find nothing to do than be called after it’s too late to save individuals or property. Keep in mind that all workers are responsible for preventing fires, but not everyone is expected to fight major fires. Fire fighting is best handled by trained professionals.

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Take 5 For Safety – Workplace Distractions

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Workplace Distractions

Some workplace distractions and interruptions are unavoidable but others – if not properly controlled or regulated — could lead to injuries, lost productivity, and a decrease in worker morale.

Work interruptions are a distraction that can result in work errors or accidents. Before addressing or responding to another person, workers should shut down or disengage any work tool, equipment, or processes. Job training should include instructions not to interrupt others during a critical job phase or process. Instruction manuals and procedural guidebooks should be kept on site to answer frequently asked questions and thereby eliminate the need to interrupt or distract other workers.

External noise from tools, mobile equipment, and processes can be distracting in industrial and construction work environments. In work situations where loud or constant noise is unavoidable, hearing protection devices can eliminate or decrease unwanted and distracting noise. In other work environments even not-so-loud sounds can be a distracting annoyance. Constantly ringing phones, conversations, and loud faxes, copiers, and printers can distract workers from their job tasks or — depending on the level or duration of the noise — can contribute to workplace stress.

Electronic devices such as cell phones, IPODS, and PDAs can be the source of serious distractions in some work environments. Check with your supervisor to find out if these electronics are allowed where you work. If these devices are approved in your workplace, as a courtesy to your co-workers, make sure you keep your cell phone on a low volume or silent when you work. To maximize work safety and performance, turn email notifications off and disable instant messaging. Don’t answer the phone or emails when you’re in the middle of a task – let it ring to voicemail then check messages later — preferably on your break time.

In some work environments wearing a headset with low volume music can be relaxing to workers and help them to safely focus on their work. However, wearing headphones on a construction or industrial site can be dangerous if it prevents workers from hearing warning signals, mobile equipment backup alarms, and safety instructions.Walking around while talking on the phone or wearing a headset distracts your attention from safety and could result in a slip or fall or cause you to run into or be struck by something or someone.

Workplace distractions and interruptions are common, but training can help you remember to keep your mind on the task at hand. Speak up about repeated and/or unsafe distractions and think and take responsibility for not interrupting or distracting others.

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Take 5 For Safety – Working Safely with Chemicals

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Working Safely with Chemicals

Chemicals come in various forms and can affect those exposed in different ways. A chemical can take the form of a mist, vapor, liquid, dust, fume or gas. The type of chemical, the way it is used, and the form that it takes determine its effect and what should be done to avoid harmful exposure.

Some basic safety precautions should be understood and followed including:
* Know what to do in an emergency. If there is a leak or spill, keep away from the area, unless you know what the chemical is and how to safely clean it up. Know where emergency protective equipment and supplies kept and how to use them.
* Use appropriate protective clothing and equipment (glasses, aprons, boots, gloves, etc.) as required or as necessary.
* If the clothing becomes contaminated by the chemical, shower or wash the skin areas exposed. Change and decontaminate clothing (or dispose of clothing if it is designed to single use).
* Do not take contaminated clothing home to be laundered because by doing so, it could expose family members to the contaminant.
* When working with chemicals, always wash hands thoroughly before eating. If necessary, shower and change clothes before going home.
* Never take food into the work area where chemicals are being used or stored.
* If work will be done in an area where there is a possibility of exposure to toxic substances, use a buddy system or establish an emergency communication system. A worker can be dangerously exposed or overcome by a chemical and need immediate assistance.
* Keep the workplace clean to reduce the risk of contamination. Where possible, wipe up and absorb the contaminant, using proper protective equipment as required. Clean up spills immediately and dispose of contaminated material properly. With some chemicals a vacuum is recommended for clean up rather than a broom or compressed air. The idea is to collect and confine the contaminant, not just spread it around.

Workers should know the companys system for identifying hazardous chemicals. They should know and understand the specific health and safety hazards of the chemicals with which they work and follow the recommended safety precautions. All workers should be trained in proper chemical storage and disposal procedures and know what to do for first aid and emergencies.

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Take 5 For Safety – Working Safely Around Forklifts

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Working Safely Around Forklifts

Forklift vehicles are not like automobiles; they’re about twice as heavy, due to the counterbalance weight needed to carry large loads. Because forklifts are so heavy, when a pedestrian worker gets injured by a forklift vehicle, the injury is often very serious and sometimes fatal. To avoid becoming a victim of a forklift accident, be constantly aware of the forklift activities around you both in your immediate work area and in other areas of the workplace you may need to go.

Forklifts don’t maneuver like automobiles. Forklifts can turn in a very small radius. They’re rear-wheel driven, so their rear end swings out wider than an automobile’s pathway. So, always give a forklift PLENTY of room to maneuver. Don’t stand near a forklift when it begins to move. Their extra weight means a forklift can’t stop as fast as an auto. Don’t try to squeeze by an operating forklift; their unexpected movements can crush you between the vehicle and a stationary object.

Forklifts have limited visibility. The forks and lifting mechanism block the line of sight for the driver. If there’s a load on the lift, visibility is even more limited. So, it’s up to YOU, the pedestrian, to watch for and avoid forklifts. Don’t rely on the forklift driver to see you. If you MUST move around near an active forklift, maintain eye contact with the driver at all times. And, always provide enough space for the forklift to move safely out of your way.

Never stand near or under loaded forklift tines/forks. Forklifts can drop their load or knock over a stack of materials, causing a possible caught/crush injury. Always wait until a forklift is idle and the parking brake is ON, before entering an active forklift working zone. Evaluate work areas around you to ensure that forklift activities can’t impact you. For example, a forklift in one aisle can push a product off a shelf from that side of the aisle into the adjacent aisle you may be in and crush you.

Listen carefully and look both ways before you step out from an aisle, around a corner, or across a pathway. Avoid crossing in front of a moving forklift and don’t try to “beat” one to a crossing. Install mirrors in blind entry areas to help pedestrians and forklift drivers keep track of each other. Paint wide, safe pathways on work area floors to separate pedestrians from forklift travels zones. Adequate lighting can also ensure that drivers and pedestrians see each other.

Finally, stay alert and work at a safe pace; distracted or hurrying workers and quick paced forklift driving can lead to an accident or injury. Get periodic training on forklift safety to remember safe work practices and the consequences if you don’t follow them. If there are forklifts present where you work, think about your surroundings and how you can keep yourself safe from a forklift injury.

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