Take 5 For Safety – Machine Safety

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Machine Safety

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, over 1100 workers in the United States were killed last year by contact with equipment or by being caught up in running machinery. That’s 20% of all fatalities in the workplace. Over a thousand people killed in ways that could have been prevented.

Be alert working around or operating machinery:

The point of operation: That is where the work of the machine takes place. It’s where the pressing, cutting, punching, or boring takes place. It’s a place where no part of the body should be. The point of operation may also produce sparks or fragments that can fly toward the operator. Safety glasses are important for this type of work.

The power train: That is where energy is transferred through moving parts like gears, shafts, belts, cables, hydraulic or pneumatic cylinders. No body parts should be in these areas either. Employees should report any missing guards to their supervisor before operating this equipment.

The law requires equipment to be turned off and locked out during any maintenance to prevent someone from turning it on unexpectedly.

Workers should recognize and understand the following when working around machinery:
* The location of machine guards and points of operation;
* The purpose of color-coded machinery alerting workers to hazards and to help pinpoint missing guards;
* The danger of pinch points and the importance of guards on in-running rolls, belts, pulleys, chains, and sprockets;
* Knowing and following established lockout/tagout procedures;
* Knowing when machines have been shut down for maintenance or to clear jams;
* Assuring that machines remain off while they are shut down for maintenance;
* Knowing and observing electrical safety work practices developed by the company; and
* The importance of keeping machinery clean to prevent equipment jams.

The surest way to safeguard worker hands and fingers is for everyone to stay alert when working around machinery or moving equipment, to follow established company safety practices, and use common sense.

Always Keep Your Guard Up…When Working With Powered Equipment!!


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Take 5 For Safety – Cell Phone Safety

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Cell Phone Safety

Cell phones can be a dangerous distraction in the workplace. Just like other workplace distractions such as horseplay and chattering with co-workers, cell phones can cause us to lose focus on the task at hand. When used inappropriately these devices can get employees in trouble at work as well as potentially cause serious injury.

Recognizing and responding to unsafe cell phone use:
* To avoid committing unsafe acts, we must make safety our top priority in every task we perform.
* We must adopt an attitude that our primary goal is doing every job as safely as possible. Maintaining this attitude will help us recognize situations where use of cell phones would not only interfere in our ability to perform our tasks without injury, but also hinder us from completing our jobs in a timely manner.
* We must be able to recognize and reject the excuses we often make for texting when we know it is unsafe and/or prohibited by policy.
* Finally, we must be willing to speak up when we see people putting themselves in harm’s way by texting while performing their job duties.
* It takes “two to text.” If you are on the receiving end of prohibited or unsafe texts being sent at work, don’t respond. Let senders know, in person, that texting at work is unsafe and inappropriate and that you will not participate.
* Similar to other safety issues, putting a stop to dangerous texting or other distracting phone use requires a corporate culture of speaking up and refusing to participate. When employees help to create this type of work environment, they create a safer workplace for everyone.
Don’t tempt fate…that text can wait!!


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Take 5 For Safety – Chemical Spills

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Chemical Spills

Chemical spills can be in the form of liquids, solids such as pellets, gases, or vapors. They can be flammable (quick to burn or explode), corrosive (damaging to human tissue or other materials), or toxic (poisonous to humans and other living things).

The time to deal with a chemical spill is long before it happens, by rehearsing what you will do and obtaining the supplies you will need for self-protection and clean-up.

Here are some basic procedures for dealing with a spill:

Alert people in the area of the spill.

Call the appropriate emergency numbers, which should be posted at each telephone.

Attend to any injured persons, removing them from exposure and getting to a safety shower if necessary.

Depending on the nature of the chemical, you might need to open windows and doors to provide ventilation, close up the affected area to contain spills or turn off heat and other ignition sources.

If you are trained and authorized, use the appropriate materials to absorb or contain the spill. For instance, you might have kits to neutralize spilled acids or bases. For other chemicals, you could be required to sprinkle an absorbent litter on a spill or surround the spill with a dam.

Do not attempt cleanup under these circumstances:
* You don’t know what the spilled material is.
* You don’t have the necessary protection or the right equipment to do the job.
* The spill is too large.
* The spill is highly toxic.
* You feel symptoms of exposure.
Follow procedures, keep safety in mind!!


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Take 5 For Safety – Ergonomics

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Nearly every type of work or occupation has the potential for causing WMSDs. To prevent these injuries, it is important to understand the factors that contribute to them. Ergonomic factors refer to workplace conditions that pose the risk of injury to the musculoskeletal system of the worker.

Factors that contribute to the development of WMSDs include:
* Force – the strength to perform a task;
* Repetition – the frequency, or number of times, a task is performed during a shift;
* Posture – positioning of the body to perform a task;
* Vibration – this might come from overuse of powr hand tools;
* Temperature – extreme temperatures are more harmful to the body;

* Duration – the amount of time in a workday spent performing work tasks; and

* Non-work related issues – health, lifestyle, hobbies, and sports may add to the ergonomic risk factors.

Reducing WMSDs and/or the severity of WMSDs include:
* Reduce repetition or duration when possible. Job rotation can help.
* Understand what is adjustable at your work site.
* Report work-related pain and discomfort. When necessary, get a medical evaluation.
* Try new work methods and tools.
* Give suggestions for ergonomic job improvements.
* Exercise and maintain a healthy lifestyle.
* Use good ergonomic principles at home as well as work.
* Keep your work area organized and the area as clean as possible.
* Avoid temperature extremes.
Awkward Positions…Unsafe Conditions!!


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Take 5 For Safety – Insect Safety

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Insect Safety

As summer approaches, you may notice an increase in the number of insects buzzing around outside. People with an allergy to stinging insects will want to take extra precautions this time of year.

Up to 5 percent of Americans are at risk for a severe, potentially life-threatening allergic reaction from insect stings.

Unfortunately, most people are not aware they are allergic to insect stings or bites until after experiencing a reaction. An allergic reaction occurs when the immune system overreacts to the insect venom.

Recognize Severe Allergic Reactions:

With a serious or life-threatening response to bites or stings, call 9-1-1. The reaction may progress within minutes. Any of the following may happen:
* Shock;
* Difficulty breathing;
* Swelling including lips, tongue, ears, eyelids, palms of hands, and soles of feet;
* Dizziness;
* Disorientation;
* Stomach discomfort; or
* Hives.

When You Can’t Avoid Contact with Insects or Spiders:

• Learn bite or sting symptoms, knowing the difference between those that are uncomfortable and those that are dangerous.

Human reactions to stings and bites vary widely from those who are unaffected to others who have life threatening allergic reactions and need immediate medical attention.


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Take 5 For Safety – Hazards of Silica Dust

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Hazards of Silica Dust

Crystalline silica is a common mineral in the earth’s crust and is found in many types of rock including sand, quartz, and granite.

Crystalline silica has been classified as a human lung carcinogen. Additionally, breathing crystalline silica dust can cause silicosis, which in severe cases can be disabling or even fatal. The respirable silica dust enters the lungs and causes the formation of scar tissues, thus reducing the lungs’ ability to take in oxygen. There is no cure for silicosis. Since silicosis affects lung function, it makes one more susceptible to lung infections like tuberculosis. In addition, smoking causes lung damage and adds to the damage caused by breathing silica dust.

Due to the extensive use of concrete and masonry products in buildings today, construction workers have a potential exposure to crystalline silica. Operations such as dumping of rock, jack hammering, abrasive blasting, sawing, drilling, or demolition of concrete and masonry structures are some of the activities that could produce this exposure.

Silica sand or other substances containing more than 1% crystalline silica should never be used as abrasive blasting materials. Where silica exceeds 1% of the content, less hazardous materials should be substituted. In addition, always follow safe work practices when there is possible exposure to silica dust.

Appropriate Protection:
* Keep awareness high–which is the key to preventing silicosis. Recognize when silica dust may be generated and plan ahead to eliminate or control the dust at the source.
* Use proper respiratory protection when point of operation controls cannot keep exposures below the recommended exposure limit.
* Use Type CE pressure-demand, or positive-pressure, abrasive-blasting respirators when sandblasting.
* Wear only a N95 NIOSH-certified respirator, if respirator protection is required. Do not alter the respirator. Do not wear a tight-fitting respirator with a beard or mustache that prevents a good seal between the respirator and the face.
* Always use dust control systems when they are available and keep them well maintained.
* Be aware that high silica concentrations can occur inside and outside enclosed areas during operations such as concrete or masonry sawing or abrasive blasting.
* Do not eat, drink, or smoke in areas where sandblasting is being done or where silica dust is being generated.
* Wear disposable or washable over-garments at the work site.
* Wash your hands and face before eating, drinking, or smoking and vacuum (don’t blow) dust from your clothing.
* Shower if possible and change into clean clothes before leaving the job site to prevent contamination of cars, homes, and other work areas.
* Remember: If it’s silica, it’s not just dust.


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Take 5 For Safety – Aerial Platform Safety

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Aerial Platform Safety

Jobsites are not always at ground level. Sometimes, workers need to use aerial platforms, aerial ladders, articulating boom platforms, vertical towers, or ladder trucks to reach their work. All work has hazards and risks involved in it, but when you work at an elevated height, extra training and attention to safety procedures is a necessity.

In order to work safely with aerial platforms, get training on the operating procedures for your job site and task. Get specialized training on each aerial lift model you will use. Know the risks and hazards involved with aerial work, including your own risk of falling and the hazard of dropping objects on to coworkers below. Learn to tether your tools and equipment and ensure that coworkers underneath the platform are wearing hard hats.

Formal inspections and maintenance of aerial platforms should be scheduled based on the environment and how often the machine is used. Before performing maintenance on an aerial platform, lower it to the full down position. Switch all of the controls to the off position. Apply the brakes and/or use chock blocks. Lock out the power and bleed the hydraulic lines. Never modify or alter your aerial platform without written permission from the manufacturer because changes could alter the structure and stability. Never operate the aerial platform from a scaffold, trailer, or boat without written permission from the manufacturer.

In addition to regular inspections and maintenance, inspect the platform each time before you use it. Look for proper function of the controls. Make sure that the emergency lowering mechanism works. Watch for wear and tear. Check for proper fluid levels and no leaks. Never use equipment if it is not working properly. Tag it out of service until it can be repaired.

When you are planning your work, first ensure that the platform is appropriate to the task. Make sure that loads are within the capacity limit and are stowed properly for stability. Always use the outriggers and stabilizers required for the aerial platform and check for uneven surfaces and debris in the work area. Look for overhead obstructions and electrical lines. Avoid using aerial platforms outside in bad weather and high winds. Don’t use an aerial platform if it has to be stabilized against another building or object. Never use your aerial platform as a crane.

Before working on an aerial platform, put on the appropriate fall protection gear. Consider a fall limiter so that you do not fall too far off of the platform. Make sure that guardrails are installed and access gates are closed before you raise the platform. Keep both feet on the platform at all times and do not reach too far out. Do not use lumber or ladders to get additional height on the platform. Do not step on guardrails or gate rungs and do not climb out of the platform for any reason. If you will travel with the aerial platform, go slowly in order to watch for overhead hazards and people down below.


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Take 5 For Safety – Be Cool

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Be Cool

It’s easier to talk cool than to stay cool some summer days, but heat illness can make you sick, put you in the hospital, even kill you. Don’t try to tough it out, but use a little sense when working or playing outside on hot days—or indoors, where processes generate heat or air conditioning is inadequate.

Your reaction to the heat may take the form of a heat rash. It isn’t life-threatening, but it isn’t pleasant either, and it is a sign that the weather is affecting you. Lotions that block pores contribute to prickly heat, as do synthetic fabrics. A shower after each workshift should help, along with a sprinkling of talcum powder or corn starch.

Heat stress is another common reaction to high temperatures. Thirst, tiredness, dizziness, even trouble seeing are indications of heat stress. If the heat seems to be getting to you with one or more of these symptoms, take a break and drink some water or fruit juice to replace lost body fluids.

Heat cramps are another sign of heat sickness. They are painful muscle spasms in the arms, legs, or intestines, caused by losing salt while sweating. Again, cool down and drink some juice. Be sure that your diet during the summer includes foods to replace the salt lost. Surprisingly, such foods as strawberries, celery, and olives contain high amounts of sodium—the important part of salt—and they are great foods for this time of year.

Sometimes, due to extreme heat, a person will faint, especially when standing still in the sun. So avoid standing in one place while working outdoors. If you do faint, though, lying down for a period of time—out of the sun—should help you recover.

Heat exhaustion is a common response to working in summer weather. If you are suffering from heat exhaustion you may feel dizzy, weak, or have chills, with clammy skin and profuse sweating. You may have a headache or feel sick to your stomach. Stop working, move to a cool spot, and lie down or rest with feet slightly elevated. Drinking liquids will help. Heat exhaustion, unlike heat stress, is fairly serious and you should try to go at a slower pace for a couple of days.

Heat stroke is the most serious type of heat sickness. You should pay attention to signs of heat illness so that your reaction to the heat will never get to this stage, because it is life threatening. At this point, perspiration—and its cooling action— stops, and the skin may be hot to the touch. If a fellow worker seems to have heat stroke—appearing confused and showing poor coordination—a doctor or an ambulance should be called promptly. Move the affected person to a cool place at once. Sponge the person with cold water, apply ice packs or cold soft-drink cans, or immerse the person in cold water. Don’t stop until help arrives. If the person is conscious, offer water.

When the temperature rises, drink a lot of water, sports drinks, or juices. Skip the alcohol, which places you at a higher risk for heat stroke, and ignore the heavy milk drinks that may turn your stomach in the heat. Summertime calls for a different type of diet, too. Fruits and lightly cooked vegetables make great summer fare and will help you replace some of the elements— sodium and potassium—you lose through sweating.

If you’re working outdoors, wear light-colored, loose-fitting clothing.


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Take 5 For Safety – Are You Safe or Just Lucky?

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** Are You Safe Or Just Lucky?

How many times in the past–both on the job and at home–have you said to yourself, “Wow, that was a close one?”

No matter what area or department you work in–production, maintenance, the warehouse, or in the office–accidents can happen. That’s why we all need to be reminded from time to time to keep safety first.

We are committed to preventing accidents through safe work practices and safety education–not luck.

Think safely in everything you do.


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Take 5 For Safety – Personal Protective Equipment – Foot Protection

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Personal Protective Equipment – Foot Protection

The OSHA regulations require affected employees to use protective footwear when working in areas where there is a danger of foot injuries due to falling or rolling objects, objects piercing the sole, chemical hazards are present, and where employees are exposed to electrical hazards.

Here is an overview of some of the different types of job hazards that could require the use of protective footwear or devices:
* Heavy materials that are being cut with a saw, shear, or cutting torch can fall and strike an mployee’s foot;
* Handling heavy tools or building materials that are easily dropped or knocked over by an employee, such as when working with or around bricks, blocks, steel components, and other similar building materials, can fall and strike your foot;
* Rolling objects and equipment, such as heavy pipes, steel billets, wheeled carts, and other round objects, can roll over or onto your foot;
* Sharp objects on walking surfaces, such as nails, sharp rebar, shards of broken glass, or sharp pieces of metal, can pierce the soles or side of your shoe or boot;
* Toxic chemicals that could saturate your footwear can be absorbed through your skin.
* Working around energized electrical lines and equipment exposing workers to electrical current can travel through footwear with conductive soles.

Our company has worked to identify the jobs and tasks that present potential hazards to your feet, and require the use of protective footwear. These could include safety-toe shoes or boots, attachable toe-caps that are built into the shoe or are attachable, shoes or boots with leather sides and uppers and/or steel shanks to prevent piercing by sharp objects.

And if you feel we have overlooked an operation that presents a potential hazard to your feet, or if there is a new operation or you perform that has not been evaluated, please alert your supervisor or safety department so the hazard can be addressed.


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