Take 5 For Safety – Lifting Safely – Prepare

 


Take 5 For Safety – Lifting Safely – Prepare

Each day in some form or fashion you do lifting on the job  and at home. Lifting safely is one the most important things you can do to protect your back throughout your lifetime.
Lifting Is a Major Cause of Job-Related Back Injury

  • Lifting too much, or lifting improperly, puts too much strain on the back.

 Avoid Lifting Manually When Possible
Test the weight and stability of the object you want to move by lifting one corner slightly. If it’s too heavy for safe manual lifting:

  • Use material handling aids like dollies, hand trucks, or forklifts
  • Get another person to help you lift

Plan and Prepare Before You Lift

  • Stretch and bend gently to loosen muscles.
  • Choose the straightest, flattest, clearest route to your destination.
  • Remove anything from the route that could trip or block you.
  • Wear sturdy shoes with non-skid soles, impact gloves to provide grip, and clothing you won’t trip over.

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Take 5 For Safety – Hazard Awareness – The Little Things Count

 


Hazard Awareness – The Little Things Count

Most of us have probably heard the old saying, “It’s the little things that count.”
There are many small things that influence our lives, and ignoring them can sometimes have serious consequences — particularly when it comes to safety. We have all been trained to watch out for the big hazards that could harm us, but the little ones can sometimes cause serious injuries too.
One company became very concerned when its accident frequency showed a large increase over a three-month period. Management began an in-depth check of systems, equipment, and material that are considered to be high-hazard: heavy machinery, ventilation, toxic substances, machine guarding, etc.
To everyone’s surprise, none of these things were the cause of their accidents. Chemicals were properly labeled and stored; machines were in good repair and properly guarded; the exhaust fans, sprinkler systems, respirators, etc., were all in good working order. Instead, accidents stemmed from a variety of “little things” that had been ignored until an injury occurred. For example, they found that serious falls had been caused by:

  • A puddle of oil on the floor from a leaking forklift. No one had poured absorbent on the spill because it was “too small to worry about.” It wasn’t too small, however, to make a passing employee slip and fall when he didn’t notice it. (Furthermore, the leaking forklift needs to be repaired so this accident won’t happen again.)
  • A box of supplies that had been left on the floor in front of a shelf, instead of properly stored. It had been walked around dozens of times before someone finally tripped over it.
  • A ladder that was placed in front of an outward-opening door “just for a minute” to change a light bulb. It was knocked over by another worker coming through the door, and both he and the worker on the ladder were injured. All these “accidents waiting to happen” had been ignored because they didn’t really seem that dangerous to the workers involved. Employees all knew about, and carefully avoided, the major hazards found when repairing energized electrical equipment or bypassing machine guards.
    We often intend to report a defective tool, extension cord, or stepladder to the maintenance department but don’t take the time, or forget about. It is important to follow through on our good intentions, since these are just the sort of “little things” that can result in a serious injury to ourselves or to other workers.
    Minor injuries left untreated are also “little things” that can cause big trouble if ignored. “Just a scratch” can become infected; a speck of dust in the eye can scratch the cornea and cause severe eye damage if not attended to. So, be sure to report even seemingly minor injuries and get appropriate first aid treatment.

Little things do count and if we take a few minutes to pay attention to all the potential hazards around us we can prevent serious injuries from happening to ourselves and other employees.
 

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Take 5 For Safety – Spotters While Backing

 


 Spotters While Backing

I’m sure everyone here is aware of the dangers of blind backing. Not only is there the possibility of injuring someone, but of causing property damage. Today we’re going to review safety measures necessary to avoid such accidents. 

SPOTTERS -AN IMPORTANT REQUIREMENT

The first requirement for safe backing is to have a spotter, someone to direct the driver. A spotter is necessary when the driver or operator does not have a full view of the backing  path. This holds true for any vehicle or piece of equipment, whether it’s a batch truck backing up to a paver, a mixer truck backing into a hopper or hoist bucket, or a materials truck making a delivery. This is the important rule for drivers and operators: “Don’t back up unless you have a spotter directing your movement.” It’s an easy rule to remember. The important thing is to obey it.  

THE SPOTTER’S RESPONSIBILITIES

Let’s talk about the spotter. This person has to watch out for others as well as for himself, and make sure the vehicle doesn’t damage property. This may appear easy. It seems that all the spotter has to do is to direct a vehicle to back up when the path is clear of persons and objects. But there are dangers involved. 

Sometimes when you’re a spotter, you may have to pass behind a vehicle. If so, stop the vehicle first. As you’re passing behind it, extend your hand at arm’s length and place it against the back of the vehicle. Then if the vehicle starts to move because the driver’s foot slips off the brake or clutch pedal,  you’ll be able to feel the movement and get out of the way.  

When directing the driver, stand at the rear but well to the driver’s side of the vehicle. This gives you an unobstructed view of the entire backing path. And the driver can see you clearly. It’s important that the driver understands your signals. So get together with the driver before any backing and explain the signals you will use. In this way you can be reasonably sure there will be no misunderstanding. Always be sure to use the same signals for the same moves. Hand signals are much better than vocal signals. Because of noise, a shouted signal may not be heard or may be misunderstood.  

BE SURE YOU’RE SEEN

Always be sure that you can be seen. In addition to standing well to the driver’s side of the vehicle, wear a fluorescent vest. At night, don’t blind the driver by shining your flashlight in the rearview mirror. And, day or night, when you walk backwards, be careful not to trip. 

SPOTTERS AND DRIVERS WORK TOGETHER

Togetherness was never so important as when it comes to spotters and drivers of  heavy equipment. Working as a team, they not only protect property but the lives of their fellow workers as well. 

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Take 5 For Safety – A Close Look at Close Calls (Near Misses)

 


A Close Look at Close Calls (Near Misses)

We’ve all become familiar—perhaps too familiar—with the violent episodes on the TV or movie screen, complete with buckets of gore and dreadful screams of pain. They may raise our pulse rate momentarily, but by the time the next program or feature begins, we’ve forgotten all about it.
After all, it wasn’t “real.â€
By contrast, anyone unfortunate to have experienced or witnessed a serious accident, on the road or at their workplace, won’t forget the real blood, screams, and tears for a long time, if ever. There is a serious real-life danger, though, in accidents that don’t result in damage to persons or property, because we may tend to think of them like the movie massacre: scary for a few minutes there, but no real harm done.
This is a dangerous attitude because if we don’t notice and correct whatever condition or behavior caused that close call, it’s likely to be a closer call the next time, then closer yet, and so on. Eventually, we get the real thing with all the pain and suffering that goes with it—for the victim and for co-workers and family.
A close call or “near miss†accident, therefore, should be regarded as a red warning flag or a high fever—a sign that something is very wrong and requires attention. The list of possible near misses in a workplace may be virtually endless, but here are just a few examples:

  • A heavy object falls off a ledge or shelf and thuds to the floor a foot or so away from workers. (The next falling object may find a human target.)
  • A worker slips on a slick surface and almost—but not quite—falls. (The next person along may fall and end up in the hospital.)
  • A worker jumps back just in time to avoid being hit by an opening door. (That door will hit somebody one of these days.)

Can you think of other typical close calls—or of actual ones that have happened here?
Obviously every close call is a call for action. Sometimes it’s something you can fix right away yourself; other times it requires specialized attention. In either case, the close call should never be ignored and should always be reported. That way the next “real†accident may not happen after all.
 

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Take 5 For Safety – Mr. Nice Guy

 


Mr. Nice Guy

Why is it that a man who’s usually a gentle man in every sense of the word sometimes becomes a rude, crude boor when he gets behind a steering wheel?  This man, when he’s not driving, will step aside to let a lady precede him through a doorway.  But on the road, he’ll cuss the same lady if he thinks she cut him off.

Every day on the road we see drivers using bad manners.  What is it that turns a driver who is usually a “nice guy†into an aggressive, ill-mannered “me-first†clown when he gets behind the wheel? 

If someone is polite and friendly in a traffic situation, it seems to be contagious.  At first, the other person is surprised.  Then he smiles and seems happy that somebody was nice to him.  Usually this feeling stays with him for a while and if he has the occasion, he’ll probably be courteous to other drivers he meets.

Let’s look at a few other things Mr. Nice Guy would do in some traffic situations.  If he sees three are puddles and pools of water along the roadway, he’ll slow down as he goes through them so he won’t splash pedestrians or other cars.  If he spots a vehicle trying to come out of a driveway, he’ll stop, wave the driver out, and usually get a grateful smile in return.  When he’s behind another vehicle at a traffic light, and the light turns to green, he doesn’t lay on the horn and try to blow the other guy through the intersection.  Once in a while the other guy may stall and blowing your horn doesn’t help him one bit; it just makes him mad.

When our Mr. Nice Guy comes up behind another car at night, he switches to low beams far enough back so that the reflection in the other person’s mirrors isn’t blinding.  Also, he doesn’t wave his arms and scream at other drivers who irritate him.

Aggressive reactions only get the other drivers mad at you.  This leads to a lot of unreasonable, foolish actions and chance-taking.  The attitude of “I’ll show you, you so-and-so†is a great way to get yourself or somebody else killed.

Which is the real you?  When you’re boorish on the road, are you showing your true self?

Develop and practice patience and consideration in all situations.  You’ll be a much better person – and a much better driver, too!

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Take 5 For Safety – 12 Safety Tips for Bad Weather Driving

 


12 Safety Tips for Bad-Weather Driving

I’d like to share some of my tips to help you stay safe. You may have heard many of these tips before, but when it comes to safety, a few reminders can’t hurt.
#1 Be Prepared
You must be ready for whatever you may encounter. Yes, this is common sense. But how many of us jump in our vehicle when the weather looks nice and end up in a storm? I suggest

  • Proper clothing (loose layers of clothing, extra gloves, rain gear)
  • A flashlight in the glove box
  • A blanket, food and water
  • A bag of sand or salt and extra windshield washer fluid
  • A windshield scraper
  • Jumper cables
  • Tire chains or traction mats
  • Have at least a half tank of gas at all times during the winter
  • Plan long trips carefully—what weather conditions may you encounter?

#2 Complete a Pre-Trip Inspection
Professional drivers are required to inspect their vehicles before every trip. We do a visual, hands-on inspection and check all important items, including tires, wiper blades and fluid and lights. Check your vehicle often. Be sure to have a mechanic check it at the beginning of winter. I can’t count how many times I have stopped to help someone on the side of the road with a flat and have found their spare tire also flat. Check your spare regularly.
#3 Slow down
Many accidents occur because drivers are going too fast for road conditions. A slower speed gives you more time to react if something occurs. Extra patience and care for other drivers can help a lot.
#4 Give yourself extra space
Allow for more room between yourself and other vehicles. You should always have enough space and time to move out of harm’s way.
#5 Hold your steering wheel firmly
Sudden, sharp moves can quickly cause you to lose control of your vehicle. Keep your vehicle steady through ruts in the road, heavy wind and on ice.
#6 Brake and accelerate lightly
Try not to do anything forcefully in bad weather. When you need to slow down quickly in slippery conditions, try lightly pumping your brakes. This reduces your chance of locking your tires and spinning out of control.
If your vehicle has an anti-locking braking system (ABS), you should press and hold the brake down as far as possible in an emergency. The ABS prevents the wheels from locking, enabling you to steer around obstacles.
#7 Watch for black ice
Black ice is a dangerous road condition. It is a thin layer of transparent ice that forms when the temperature is close to freezing and sometimes makes the road look slightly wet. It is difficult to spot, so when the temperature gets close to freezing, I look for clues:

  • ice build-up on my mirror arms, antenna or the top corners of my windshield
  • the spray from tires on vehicles in front of me stops

#8 Use extra caution when approaching bridges
Elevated structures, such as bridges and highway overpasses, usually freeze first, and many are not treated with ice-/snow-melt materials (salt, sand) like the rest of the road. I’ve seen many vehicles traveling fine on the highway, but as soon as they get on a bridge, they spin out of control. Black ice is often found on bridges.
#9 Mountain driving is often hazardous
Mountain weather can be severe in winter and can change rapidly. Be ready for wind gusts and watch and/or listen for emergency vehicles and snowplows. If at all possible, do not stop in avalanche zones. Obey posted rules. Tire chains may be required for certain routes.
#10 Obey all road signs
A simple, yet effective tip. Safety authorities post this information for a reason. I’ve seen many drivers get into trouble just by ignoring a sign.
#11 If stranded or stuck, stay in your vehicle
If you get stuck in a bad storm or blizzard and you can’t see a close place to seek assistance, stay put! It’s easy to get confused in a bad storm, and you may get lost.
This is a time to use those supplies mentioned in tip #1. You should also keep moving to stay warm. To avoid carbon monoxide poisoning, keep the exhaust pipe clear of snow, and open a downwind window slightly for ventilation. Run your engine for only 10 minutes each hour.
#12 If conditions look bad, get off the road
Don’t push your luck. Use your best judgment. Listen to weather reports and warnings and react appropriately. This tip can help you avoid having to use tip #11.
The last, but certainly not the least important tip: Never Leave Without Your “Keys.” All YRC Freight drivers are trained to use the Smith System® safety education program that uses the “Five Keys to Space-Cushion Driving.”
The five keys are:

  • Aim High in Steering: Make sure you’re looking far enough ahead of your vehicle, so you have time to react to any hazardous situation.
  • Get the Big Picture: Look all around your vehicle.
  • Keep Your Eyes Moving: Continuously scan the entire area.
  • Leave Yourself an Out: Always have an escape plan for you and your vehicle.
  • Make Sure They See You: Make other drivers aware of your presence.

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Take 5 For Safety – Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

 


Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

It’s called the “silent sickness,” and sometimes it becomes a “silent killer. Carbon monoxide (CO) is a common, highly flammable gas that can kill in minutes, in high concentrations. Unlike many other chemicals, carbon monoxide has no distinctive odor, taste, or appearance. Unfortunately, the symptoms of CO poisoning-nausea, headache, and dizziness-resemble other common illnesses, and can be easily mistaken for a cold or stomach flu.

 

How It Poisons: This gas produces its toxic effects when you breathe it, by replacing oxygen in the blood stream with carbon monoxide which acts on all organs in the body, especially the brain. As carbon monoxide combines with hemoglobin, less and less oxygen is carried to the tissues. Unconsciousness usually occurs when about half the hemoglobin is saturated with CO.

 

How it’s produced: Any process that involves the use of heat, oxidation, or combustion can produce carbon monoxide. Winter months can be a dangerous time for this problem. Buildings are tightly closed, and the buildup of the gas is not usually noticed by unsuspecting employees. This dangerous gas can be a problem in buildings, repair shops, and temporary weather enclosures as well as car and truck cabs if exhaust systems are malfunctioning or leaking.

 

High Exposure Areas: The gasoline engines used around shipping docks are known carbon monoxide producers. Diesel engines are next in level of danger, followed by propane-powered forklift trucks. Employees must be particularly careful if forklifts are left running inside a truck or trailer body; hazardous CO concentrations can build up very quickly. Watch outside delivery truck drivers too as they are frequently reluctant to shut off truck engines while unloading.

 

High exposures may occur in forklift or vehicle repair shops. Offices above loading docks are also vulnerable as the gas rises, causing dizziness and nausea for employees working there. In shop areas, ventilation systems should be checked periodically to prevent poisoning from this gas. Fans should be on, motors and fan belts functioning properly. Hoses and duct work should be carefully connected and the systems checked for dents and holes which could impede the exhaust of gasses. Engines should be turned off as much as possible when buildings are tightly sealed during the winter.

 

Symptoms of CO Exposure: Symptoms to be alert for include red eyes, weakness, dizziness, headaches, and nausea. If you notice a pattern to these symptoms when engines are running in the area, carbon monoxide could be the cause. Forklifts, whether diesel, propane, or gasoline powered are significant CO producers, especially when left idling. Immediately remove anyone who is overcome from the CO exposure area. Restore breathing through CPR. Keep the person warm and resting until paramedics arrive.

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Take 5 For Safety – Alcohol on the Job

 


Alcohol on the Job

Working under the influence of alcohol is strictly prohibited. All Maalt/Vista Companies forbid alcohol or drug use on any work site or location. This means more than just not drinking on the job. Tests have shown that alcohol and drugs can still have an effect on your body up to 18 hours after you have stopped drinking. Alcohol use is a legitimate on-the-job safety issue – and not just an attempt to control off-the-clock lifestyles.
 
Alcohol is a sedative. Drinking any quantity of alcohol impairs a person’s judgment, thinking ability, and coordination to some degree. Poor concentration, carelessness, risk-taking behavior and errors in judgment can occur. Some people can “handle” alcohol better than others, but it is a fact that any alcohol consumed has some effect. Other factors which influence your body’s ability to metabolize alcohol include your weight, medications, and previous medical conditions. You may not feel it right away, but remember, alcohol affects judgment. After drinking, you are no longer in a position to assess your own capabilities.
 
What should you do about a co-worker who is drinking on the job? Should you ignore the situation or report it? Most people would ignore the situation because they do not want to cause problems on the job or do not want to get involved. People would prefer to avoid conflict at almost any cost. But look at it this way — the drinker, no matter how nice a co-worker, is not doing you any favors. It’s a fact that the drinker is less productive and more likely to be absent from work. Who has to pick up the slack? You do. It is a fact that the drinker is more likely to be involved in a serious accident that may be fatal. Who else is he or she placing at risk? You!
 
Are you allowing the drinking to continue?

  • You are – if you cover for the drinker’s poor productivity
  • You are – if you cover their mistakes.
  • You are – if you make excuses to others for them. Additional risk factors:
    A range of medications can affect work performance, particularly when mixed with alcohol. These include pain relievers, cough medicine, antihistamines and sleeping pills.
     
    Talk to your supervisor. It is your responsibility to talk to your supervisor whenever any performance or safety issues affect your job. A drinking worker could be just as dangerous as a defective piece of equipment. You wouldn’t hesitate to bring the a defective piece of equipment to your supervisor’s attention, would you?

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Take 5 For Safety – Look Out For Your Co-Workers

 


Look Out For Your Co-Workers

Take a look around at your co-workers. Some are your friends during work hours, and even after work. You know about their families, what they like and don’t like, and what they do for fun. So, be on the lookout for unsafe conditions and correct them, or report them to your supervisors as soon as possible.

 Help your fellow workers get through the day without an accident:

·         I’ll help you lift those heavy items, so you don’t have to do it by yourself. I know a back injury can mess up your home life, as well as your ability to work.

·         I’ll be sure to inspect those slings before you lift a load. I know that you are depending upon them to hold the weight of the load until it is set down.

·         I’ll clean up spills when they happen so you don’t accidentally slip and get injured.

·         I’ll make sure that all passageways and walkways are clear so you won’t trip or fall.

·         I’ll label all containers in the workplace, so you don’t use the wrong product for a job by mistake.

·         I’ll check the backup alarms on our equipment, because I can’t always see you, and I want to make sure you can hear me.

·         I’ll tag and report all tools that aren’t working properly so you won’t be injured by plugging in a tool that has a faulty wire.

·         I’ll know and practice the emergency evacuation procedures, so we can both get out of an unsafe condition together.

 Finally, I want to see you leave work exactly the way you arrived. So, if I see you doing something the wrong way, I’ll show you the right way to do it. Of course, I expect you will do the for me-after all, shouldn’t everyone on the crew watch out for each other?

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Take 5 For Safety – Unsafe Acts

 


Unsafe Acts

Most of us know that accidents are caused by only two things – unsafe acts or practices, and unsafe conditions. Some of us even know that 9 out of 10 accidents are the result of unsafe acts, or things we do when we know better. This is kind of strange if you think about it. We have more to fear from our own actions than from any other job hazards around us. Why do we deliberately expose ourselves to injury every day?

 

It Won’t Happen To Me

Basically, most of us are just thinking about getting the job done and we tend to rationalize the risk of getting injured. We think to ourselves that we have done this job many, many times this way and nothing bad has happened. Therefore, nothing bad will happen to us today. On an intellectual level, we realize there is a potential danger but decide that the risk of being injured is low. Because we have not been injured so far, we actually think of ourselves as being very safety conscious. We know the right way to do it, we realize that it is hazardous to do it this way, but what we are really thinking to ourselves is “it won’t happen to me.”

 

We Take Short Cuts

Some of us are fairly meticulous about following safe work practices, but because a job “will only take a minute” we use an unsafe method or tool. For example, not putting on our safety glasses because the job will only take a minute, or not locking out a machine because an adjustment will only take a second.

Usually we think about it just before we do something a little unsafe, or maybe quite a bit unsafe. We know better, we know the safe way to do it, but we take that little chance. In effect we are saying, “I know that this could result in an injury, but “it can’t happen to me.” Maybe it’s human nature to think that accidents always happen to someone else, but they can happen to you too. What makes you different?

Why take a chance in the first place? Only you can decide to take the time to do your job safely and correctly the first time.

 

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