Take 5 For Safety – Shop Hazards & Typical Incidents

 


Shop Hazards & Typical Incidents

An incident is defined as “any observable human activity sufficiently complete in itself to permit references and predictions to be made about the persons performing the act.” (Whew!) Therefore, it is safe to say that incidents or accidents do not usually just happen; they happen for a reason and are usually due to unsafe acts or conditions. The following is a list of incidents that have typically led to employee accidents. This list focuses upon shop work, but of course there are many other unsafe acts, conditions, or work activities that give cause for concern. Which of these conditions have you perhaps worked under in your shop or maintenance area?

1. Adjusting, or cleaning a machine while it is in operation.

2. Removing a machine guard or tampering with its adjustment.

3. Using compressed air over 30 psi to remove metal chips from work surfaces.

4. Using compressed air over 30 psi to blow dust or dirt off clothing or out of hair.

5. Working without safety glasses and/or a face shield in a designated eye-hazard area.

6. Failing to use ear plugs in work areas with high noise levels.

7. Wearing gloves, ties, rings, long sleeves, or loose clothing around machine tools.

8. Using a grinder with no tongue guard or properly adjusted work rest (1/8 in. max. clearance).

9. Lifting an object that you know is too heavy for one person to handle.

10. Using an ungrounded or non-insulated portable electric hand tool.

11. Using frayed or poorly patched electrical cords.

12. Smoking in areas where flammables or combustibles are used or stored.

13. Storing spare oxygen and acetylene bottles near each other when not in use.

14. Using cranes beyond their load limits or with a missing safety latch on the hook.

  • Have you ever engaged in any of the above actions and suffered injuries? Was it worth it?
  • Have you ever worked under any of the above conditions–and NOT suffered an injury?
  • If you’ve been lucky so far, isn’t it foolish to become complacent?

The above actions have caused many serious, sometimes fatal, injuries in shops and work places–and are just not worth the possible consequences!

Don’t be another “typical” incident statistic. Work smarter! Work safely!

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Take 5 For Safety – Was it an Accident or Was it an Error?

 


Was it an Accident or Was it an Error?

What is an accident? Briefly, it is a sudden and unforeseen event. Given that definition, can we say that the Apollo fire that killed three astronauts on the launch pad, and the Challenger disaster, were accidents?

The first Apollo fatalities were due to a fire that occurred when the spacecraft cabin was charged with pure oxygen during a test. Unfortunately, there was an electrical short under the seat of one of the astronauts. Oxygen fed the resulting fire. The men could not escape because of a poorly designed escape hatch that took too long to open even under ideal conditions. It is well known that pure oxygen atmospheres are very dangerous. It has also been recognized for many years that escape hatches must be simple to use and designed so they will open quickly.

The Challenger exploded because cold temperatures effected the performance of a seal already stressed due to an inadequate design. Previous Challenger inspections had shown that the seals were not holding up as intended during launches, and it was known that low temperatures would degrade them further.

What do these events have in common? In every case, there were experts in charge and plenty of opportunities to anticipate problems. Experience should have told them to take corrective action long before the disastrous incidents took place. So why–in spite of all the warning signs–were these conditions allowed to exist? The answer is simple: The warning signs were overlooked. So ask the question again: “Were they accidents or were they errors?”

Be alert to warnings and take heed when they are encountered. Irritated by the metal filings hitting you in the face and eyes while you grind? This is a warning that you need eye and face protection. Do you keep banging your knuckles when your wrench slips? That is your warning that an old favorite tool may be worn out and need replacing. Have you or a co-worker ever suffered an injury because you failed to anticipate and ward off possible dangers?

Think about what could go wrong before you act! If something minor goes wrong, this is a warning to stop! Consider what has gone awry. Figure out what should be done to resolve the problem, then take care of it! Accidents are usually errors on someone’s part. They are not an incidental part of the job. If you accept the mind set that they are, accidents will occur.

This is your challenge: Think about what pitfalls may come up during work tasks. Recognize the early warning signs of things going wrong. Have the strength to stand up and say:

“Hold on a minute. Let’s think about this!”

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Take 5 For Safety – Safety and Your Supervisor

 


Safety and Your Supervisor

Is job safety important to you? Some people will say yes right away. Others may feel differently, at least when this question is first posed. But survival and avoidance of pain is a basic instinct for all. You may say that safety isn’t important to you, but just wait until you get hurt. At that time, I’ll bet you will think differently.

Safety does not just happen. Remember the old adage, if something can go wrong, it will. We must work to make things happen right; that is, in a safe manner. But one person cannot do this alone. It takes the cooperation of everyone. You cannot overlook a safety problem. If you do, the results could be disastrous.

Your company has a moral, legal, and financial interest in your well being. Supervisors should be receptive to your safety concerns. Have you ever brought a problem to your supervisor only to have it dismissed? It happens. This does not mean he or she isn’t interested and you should drop the subject. You can’t afford to. You may be the one getting hurt. Let us look at ways you can use to make your supervisor share your safety concerns.

  • Don’t wait until the problem becomes critical. As soon as you see the adjustment slipping, guard loosening, or scheduling problems, speak up. This will give your supervisor the opportunity to deal with the problem in a planned manner. Planning is part of a supervisor’s job. Help him do it right.
  • Don’t be overly emotional or accusatory. Maybe you were just involved in a “near miss.” Emotion is understandable. But it is a rare supervisor who will deliberately put someone in harms way. More likely than not, the supervisor was not aware of the problem.
  • Be prepared to offer your assessment as to whether the problem is critical or not. Don’t overstate the seriousness, but don’t understate it either. If you don’t know whether the problem is critical or not, say so.
  • Offer suggestions as to what needs to be done to correct the problem. This may clarify, in your supervisor’s mind, what needs to be done and helps facilitate understanding. Again, if you don’t know, say so.
  • Finally, try to get commitment as to when the problem will be corrected. The idea is not to put anyone on the spot. But, when there is a firm commitment, people tend to pay more attention. If you don’t see any action by the completion date, follow-up or remind the supervisor of your concern.

Again, supervisor are human. They can get buried in things that may need more immediate attention and/or they could just forget. Supervisors, remember the employee who brings safety problems to your attention is just trying to do his job and help you with yours. Their concerns should never be dismissed without a review.
 

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Take 5 For Safety – Stacking Up a Pile of Trouble

 


Stacking Up a Pile of Trouble

An alarming number of employee accidents and injuries are associated with forklift operations. Many of these are a result of poorly stacked materials that topple and damage property or injure people. Stacking boxes, bagged goods, and similar items is usually thought to be an uncomplicated job. Yet, like most tasks that are considered to be easy, a lack of attention or knowledge can create safety problems.

The stability of a stack is probably the number one concern. If a stacked load is going to be moved, with a forklift or pallet jack for example, you can see that the inevitable jostling may cause items to fall. But what about stacks that are not to be moved? Stability is still important. An earthquake or an accidental bump could cause something to fall.

For a load to be stable, its base must be stable. This means you have to start building the stack on a firm, level surface. If a pallet is used, inspect it to be sure it’s in good repair. If not, don’t use it! Though it seems obvious, make sure everyone on the crew knows the difference between “good” and “bad” pallet repair.

Place larger and heavier objects at the bottom. If the packaging material is compressible, pay attention to the printed instructions on the box that advise how many units can be stacked. If you go higher, the weight could cause the lower boxes to crush, creating an unstable stack and damaging goods in the boxes. If the product is bagged, be sure the contents are evenly distributed in the bag as you lay it down. This creates a flat surface for the next tier. Interlock the units as you build the load. Your supervisor can show you how this is done.

Some stacks are going to be inherently stable. An example would be a stack of rectangular, interlocked boxes with the base of the stack wider than the height. Other stacks are inherently unstable. An example would be square boxes that cannot be interlocked. Such stacks must be tied or wrapped to increase stability.

Watch the total weight of objects or containers you stack. If the load is going to be moved by a forklift or pallet jack, the total weight must not exceed the capacity of the equipment. Also know the weight bearing capacity of floors and shelves, and do not exceed these capacities. Spread the load out so the weight is not concentrated in one area.

Do not contribute to a lift truck mishap. Pay careful attention, and take pride in having an accident free, injury free record.

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Take 5 For Safety – Watch Your Step!! Don’t Slip & Fall

 


Watch Your Step!! Don’t Slip & Fall

Slips and falls are one of the most frequent causes of accidents, both on and off the job. Each year in the United States, more than 300,000 people suffer disabling injuries from falls. Slips and falls can be fatal as well; they rank second only to automobile accidents, causing nearly 12,000 deaths a year. To avoid getting hurt from falls, avoid rushing and remember the following:

WATCH WHERE YOU WALK

Be aware of where you are walking. Look down continuously for spilled liquids, materials, equipment, changing surface levels, etc. Make sure the area is well-lit or use a flashlight if lighting is poor.

WEAR PROPER FOOTWEAR

Make sure your shoes are in good shape and correct for the job. Discard worn-out shoes with smooth soles and other defects. If conditions are wet and slippery, wear non-slip shoes or boots. Avoid footwear with leather soles which have poor floor traction–especially on smooth surfaces.

CHECK FLOOR OPENINGS

Avoid unguarded floor openings. On construction sites, when covers are placed over floor openings, avoid walking on the cover unless it is absolutely secure and will not move or collapse. Never jump over pits or other openings.

BE CAREFUL ON STAIRS

Do not run when going up or down stairs. Check to see that stair treads are in good shape, with no obstructions on the steps. Always use the hand railings that are provided. Avoid carrying large loads when going up or down stairs and ensure that stairs are well-lit.

USE LADDERS CORRECTLY

Never use broken or defective ladders. Set the angle of the ladder at the proper four-to-one ratio (height to width angle). Make sure the ladder is on solid footing and will not move when you climb upon it. Whenever possible, tie your ladder to the structure to improve stability. Anchorage at the bottom is also a good idea. Never stand on the top two steps of a step ladder.

MAKE SURE SCAFFOLDING IS SAFE TO USE

When working on scaffolding, make sure it is secure, stable and properly set-up. Do not work on scaffolding if guard rails are missing or the base is unstable. Check to see that planks are in good shape and not cracked. Tall scaffolds should be tied into a structure to increase stability.

DON’T JUMP OUT OF VEHICLES

Never jump from equipment or vehicles. Use the handrail and steps provided, remembering the “three point rule.” Avoid stepping onto loose rocks, slippery surfaces, oil spills, etc.

Watch your step and don’t trip yourself up! Remember, Gravity Always Wins!

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Take 5 For Safety – Using Portable Fire Extinguishers

 


Using Portable Fire Extinguishers

In the event of a fire, the correct use of a portable fire extinguisher could mean the difference between suffering a minor loss or a major one. Portable fire extinguishers, if used properly, can make that difference. But there are several things to consider in using fire extinguishers. For instance, you must know the class of fire involved and the correct type of fire extinguisher to use.

CLASSES OF FIRES AND FIRE EXTINGUISHERS:

Class A Involves ordinary combustibles such as paper, wood, cloth, rubber or plastics. The common extinguishing media is water or dry chemical.

Class B Flammable liquids, grease or gases are covered under this category.

Common extinguishing media are foam, carbon dioxide or dry chemical.

Class C Live electrical fires are class C fires. CO2 or dry chemical extinguishers should be used. However, the actual burning product may be class A items.

Class D Burning materials include combustible metals such as magnesium and sodium. Special extinguishing agents, approved by recognized testing laboratories, are needed when working with these metals.

RESPONDING TO FIRES:

Sound the fire alarm and call the local fire department immediately if a fire breaks out, Follow your company’s procedures on responding to fires. But attempt to fight the fire only if, (1) you know the type of combustible material burning, (2) you have been trained to use the fire extinguisher correctly, and (3) if the fire is still in the incipient (beginning) stage. If the fire gets too large or out of control, evacuate immediately.

REMEMBER P-A-S-S WHEN USING AN EXTINGUISHER:

P – Pull. Pull the locking pin before using the fire extinguisher.

A – Aim. Aim the fire extinguisher at the base of the fire. Not at the flames or smoke.

S – Squeeze. Squeeze the lever of the fire extinguisher to operate and discharge.

S – Sweep. Sweep the fire extinguisher back and forth at the base of the fire to extinguish.

(Most extinguishers will only allow about 10-seconds of extinguishing media.)

Prevention is the key when it comes to firefighting. Good housekeeping, proper storage procedures and safe work practices will go a long way toward reducing the likelihood that a fire will destroy valuable property or injure either you or a fellow employee.

Discussion Questions:

  • What is your company’s policy on sounding an alarm and contacting the fire department?
  • What kinds of flammables are most likely to create a fire danger at your jobsite?
  • What type of fire extinguisher should be used on those flammables or combustibles

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Take 5 For Safety – Trying to do the Job Alone

 


Trying to do the Job Alone

Dear Sir.

I am responding to your request for additional information regarding how my recent injury occurred. In block number 3 of your accident report form I put “trying to do the job alone” as the cause of my accident. You said in your letter that I should explain more fully. I trust that the following details will be sufficient.

I am a bricklayer by trade. On the day of the accident I was working alone on the roof of a new six story building. When I completed my work I discovered that I had about 500 pounds of bricks left over. Rather than carry the bricks down by hand, I decided to lower them in a barrel by using a pulley, which fortunately was attached to the side of the building at the 6th floor.

Securing the rope at the ground level, I went up to the roof, swung the barrel out, and loaded the bricks into it. Then I went back to the ground and untied the rope, holding it tightly to ensure a slow descent of the 500 pounds of bricks. You will note in Block number 2 of the accident report form that my weight is 135 pounds.

Due to my surprise at being jerked off the ground so suddenly I lost my presence-of-mind and didn’t let go of the rope. Needless to say, I proceeded at a rather rapid rate up the side of the building.

In the vicinity of the third floor I met the barrel coming down. This explains my fractured skull and collarbone.

Slowed only slightly, I continued my rapid ascent, not stopping until the fingers of my right hand were two knuckles deep into the pulley.

Fortunately, by this time I had regained my presence of mind and was able to hold tightly to the rope in spite of my pain.

At approximately the same time however, the barrel of bricks hit the ground and the bottom fell out of the barrel. Devoid of the weight of bricks, the barrel then weighed approximately 50 lbs.

I refer you again to the information in Block number 2. As you might imagine, I began a rapid descent down the side of the building.

In the vicinity of the third floor, I met the barrel coming up. This accounts for the two fractured ankles and the lacerations of my legs and lower body.

The encounter of the barrel slowed me enough to lessen my injuries when I fell onto the pile of bricks and fortunately, only 3 vertebrae were cracked.

I am sorry to report, however, that as I lay in pain on the bricks, unable to stand-up, and watching the empty barrel 6 stories above me, I again lost my presence of mind and let go of the rope. The empty barrel weighed more than the rope so it came down upon me and broke both of my legs.

I hope I have furnished the additional information you required as to how the accident occurred.

P.S. We hope he isn’t working on your crew!

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Take 5 For Safety – Driving Dangers

 


Driving Dangers

 

Many people are injured or killed every year around the holidays. Weather conditions may make driving dangerous and lead to accidents. Sometimes distractions occur because people are focused on family. Remember, anything that shifts mental focus from what is going on around you while driving can be dangerous. Keep the holidays a joyful time of the year, when driving, maintain focus on the task at hand.

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Take 5 For Safety – The Basics of Safety

 


The Basics of Safety

Through several years of investigating accidents and research in the field of accident reconstruction, leaders in the field of occupational accident prevention have concluded that there are specific reasons why accidents occur. They found that worker safety is dependent on worker behavior and human factors. They developed ten safety rules and, while some of you may have heard them before, they are worth repeating:

1. STAY ALERT – and stay alive. The more awake a worker is, the less likely he or she is to get hurt. If you are unsure how to operate equipment or perform a task, ask your supervisor. Don’t guess and muddle through. Make sure you know in advance the correct, safe way to do it.

2. WEAR THE RIGHT CLOTHES – work clothes should fit properly. Anything that can catch in machinery or trip you up is hazardous. Wear protective clothing and equipment as required.

3. USE THE RIGHT TOOLS – if you need a hammer, get a hammer. It may be handier to use a pair of pliers, wrench, screw driver or even your fist. But you will have only yourself to blame if you break your fingers.

4. LEARN HOW TO LIFT – Lifting takes more than muscle; it is an art. Don’t try to show how strong you are; you may end up in a hospital. Get help to handle anything that is too heavy or cumbersome for you.

5. DON’T BE A PRANKSTER – practical jokes and horseplay can be dangerous around machinery. If you feel the urge to play, resist it until after work.

6. BE TIDY – Good housekeeping reduces hazards in the workplace or your home. Always put away tools when they are not in use. Keep the floors clean, pick up scraps, wipe up spills. A slip or trip can be fatal.

7. REPORTING IS IMPORTANT – Never fail to report accidents, defective equipment, and unsafe conditions.

8. GET FIRST AID IMMEDIATELY – if you’re hurt — even if it is just a scratch. Neglect of the injury may lead to serious infection, weeks of lost time, even permanent injury.

9. BACK YOUR SAFETY PROGRAM – If you have an idea you believe will reduce accidents, tell your supervisor about it. Set an example by obeying safety rules. Cooperate with your safety committee.

10. NEVER TAKE A CHANCE – Next to sheer carelessness, the short cut is probably the biggest killer of all. To save a minute or two, you may lose a lifetime. Whatever you are doing, if you are not doing it safely, you are not doing it right!!

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